Column: Brown County is a perfect fall getaway

Brown County is the place to be when the leaves are changing colors.

The region offers visitors so many opportunities to get out and enjoy nature, and there is no better time to be there than October. The beautiful hardwoods panorama is a major draw, but don’t overlook the hiking and biking trails, horseback riding, fishing and camping.

Both Brown County State Park and Yellowwood State Forest offer scenic camping sites for both tents and recreational vehicles. If you’re not interested in camping, Abe Martin Lodge in the state park has plenty of attractive rooms. There are also cabins for rent within the state park, which gives visitors a nice middle ground between camping and staying in a hotel. Many privately-owned hotels and cabins are also available in the area.

Brown County State Park opened in 1929. At 15,815 acres, Brown County is the largest state park in Indiana. Because of its beauty and all of its many amenities, the park has achieved a national status as a travel destination. Tourists from across the country make it a point to explore the park during the breathtakingly beautiful display of colorful leaves each fall. Hoosiers are fortunate to have such a magnificent park close to home.

Brown County State Park is home to a couple of small lakes that are a fall fisherman’s dream. Impoundments resting in the bottom of flooded hollows, Ogle Lake and Strahl Lake are beautiful little waters surrounded by a thick hardwood forest that radiates remarkable beauty during the changing of the leaves and they both happen to hold some nice fish.

Yellowwood State Forest is located between Nashville and Bloomington, just off Highway 46. The forest consists of 23,326 acres of public land that is popular with campers, hikers, hunters, fisherman, and horseback riders.

In the summer, the dense forest is cool and inviting of exploration. In the fall, the canopy of foliage covering this rolling Brown County land is breathtaking.

All of the campsites at Yellowwood are primitive. This means there is no electricity or shower houses. There is drinking water available and vault toilets. Being a primitive campground not only keeps the number of campers and fishermen down, it limits campers to tents and small trailers. So, if you’re a tent camper, it doesn’t feel like your staked out in a fancy subdivision.

Camping at Yellowwood is enjoyable for many reasons, but one of the aspects I enjoy the most is the ability to camp right on the shore of the 133-acre Yellowwood Lake. There are two playgrounds for kids and nice paved roads for bike riding in certain areas of the campground.

Yellowwood Lake is a popular fishing impoundment located within the forest. Surrounded by beautiful hardwoods. The scenery of this 133-acre lake adds to the incredible fishing it offers. Yellowwood Lake and Jackson Creek provide anglers with the opportunity to fish for bass, catfish, crappie, bluegill and even stocked trout.

While all of these species are capable of being caught in fair numbers, it’s the bluegill in Yellowwood that draws anglers from near and far. Bluegill can be caught about anywhere on the lake, as well as in Jackson Creek below the dam. Remember to respect the resource of these muscular panfish. Only keep enough for a fish fry or two. It’s not hard to over fish a lake the size of Yellowwood.

Combining adventures in the outdoors with time in Nashville to peruse the shops and enjoy the restaurants is a great way to spend a weekend in Brown County. Enjoy some biscuits with apple butter and soak in all the glory of autumn in Indiana.

See you down the trail…

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