Brown County State Park

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For the former Kansas State Park of the same name, see Brown State Fishing Lake.
Brown County State Park
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Hesitation Point, one of several vistas in the park
Map showing the location of Brown County State Park
Map showing the location of Brown County State Park
Map of the U.S. state of Indiana showing the location of Brown County State Park
Location Brown County, Indiana, USA
Nearest city Bloomington, Indiana
Coordinates 39°06′49″N 86°15′53″W / 39.11361°N 86.26472°W / 39.11361; -86.26472Coordinates: 39°06′49″N 86°15′53″W / 39.11361°N 86.26472°W / 39.11361; -86.26472
Area 15,776 acres (6,384 ha)
Established 1929
Visitors 1,292,709 (in 2012-2013)
Governing body Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Brown County State Park is located in the United States in the center of the southern half of the state of Indiana. The park is the largest of 24 state parks in Indiana, and occupies 15,776 acres (63.84 km2)—making it one of the larger state parks in the United States. It is also Indiana's most visited state park, and has about 1.3 million visitors each year. Although Bloomington, Indiana, is the closest city, the park is closer to the small town of Nashville in Brown County. Brown County is named for General Jacob Brown, who fought in the War of 1812 and became Commanding General of the United States Army.

Brown County State Park opened to the public in 1929, and was dedicated in 1932 as a memorial to Indiana humorist Frank McKinney "Kin" Hubbard. Although Hubbard lived and worked in Indianapolis, he was a frequent visitor to Nashville and the surrounding woods. The park's Abe Martin Lodge is named after Hubbard's fictional backwoodsmen character used to convey Hubbard's humor and witticisms.

Brown County and its park are known for their scenic views of the hills of southern Indiana. Much of the park's infrastructure was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s, which adds to the rustic atmosphere. In addition to the park's lodge, cabins can be rented and campsites are available. The park has trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. It also has two lakes for fishing and a wide variety of flora and fauna. The park's beauty attracts artists and photographers worldwide.


In 1924, Brown County State Game Preserve was opened to the public. In 1929, Brown County commissioners gave just over 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of land adjacent to the Game Preserve for Brown County State Park. Later, the game preserve lands were sold to the Department of Conservation and added to the state park.[1] In 1934, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed many of the buildings, roads, shelters, ovens and trails in existence today.


Included within the park boundaries are two manmade lakes: Ogle Lake at 17 acres (0.069 km2) in size, and Strahl Lake covering 7 acres (0.028 km2). There are 70 miles (110 km) of bridle trails and 20 miles (32 km) of hiking trails. Hiking trails range from easy to rugged terrain and 0.5 to 3 miles in length. The third highest point in Indiana, Weed Patch Hill (elevation 1056 feet/322 meters), is located within the confines of the park, which is sometimes referred to as the "Little Smokies" because of frequent low lying fogs in the forested valleys of the park. The park has multiple campgrounds, RV sites, and a horseman's camp.

The peak visitation is in the fall during the leaf-changing season. A significant portion of the park's annual visitors come during this time. The park affords a number of vistas that overlook miles of wide swaths of deciduous forest that display a large array of colors in the fall.

Ogle Lake

Brown County was the site of the biking events at the 1987 Pan American Games. The Brown County area is known as one of the best mountain biking locations in the Midwest.


Animals common in the park include white-tailed deer, raccoon, eastern gray squirrel and chipmunk. Birds in the park include robin, white-breasted nuthatch, blue jay, cardinal, junco, crow and wild turkey.

Hiking trail in Brown County.


Covered Bridge at north park entrance
  • Abe Martin Lodge
  • Bridle trails and saddle barn
  • Cabins
  • Camping
  • Dumping station
  • Hiking trails
  • Indoor Water Park
  • Mountain bike trails
  • Nature Center
  • Playgrounds
  • Rental and recreation buildings
  • Shelters
  • Olympic size swimming pool
  • Tennis courts
One of the many beautiful view points in Brown County State park is the Hesitation point. This picture shows the park drenched in beautiful fall colors.


  1. ^ "DNR: DNR History". Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 

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