Brown County State Park
P.O. Box 608
1405 State Road 46 West
Nashville, Indiana 47448
IMPORTANT: Campers should use the WEST entrance of the park
Pros: Lots of hiking, wooded sites, ten handicapped sites (paved), secluded tent sites, beautiful views, 2:00 check-out (5:00 p.m. on Sundays) quaint town of Nashville.
Cons: No water sites or full hookup, no dog park, cold showers.
Brown County State Park is located in southern Indiana and is part of the Hoosier National Forest. It is Indiana’s largest state park at almost 16,000 acres. This area is known as the “Little Smokies” because of its resemblance to the Smoky Mountains. Though there are no mountains in this area, Brown County does consist of rolling hills, scenic pull-offs, and nature trails. The changing of the colors during the fall attracts many tourist to this area.
There are various campsites throughout Brown County State Park. The main campground consists of 401 electric sites and 28 non-electric. This part of the campground includes shower houses and flush toilets while pit toilets are scattered throughout for additional use. The Rally campground is a group camp area with around 60 sites. Located off 135 South, the horsemen’s camp provides 118 electric sites and 86 non-electric. Finally, Brown County offers a youth tent area. We stayed at campsite 92 in the Buffalo Ridge section of the campground.
The park requires a visiting pass. It is $7 for Indiana residents and $9 for out-of-state. Electric sites are $23 per night whereas non-electric sites are $16.
There is a camp store that sells a host of camping supplies, souvenirs, and food. Ice was $2/small bag, and $5/large bag. Firewood was $5.99/bundle.
In addition to the campground(s), Brown County has family cabins and a lodge. The cabins are two bedrooms with a living room, a kitchen, and bathroom. Linens and dishware are provided. For more information on the cabins and lodge, call 1-866-622-6746.
Brown County State Park campground is a typical state park. It was manicured, yet not extensive in flowerbeds and decorations as you might see in a private campground. To get to the campground, one must drive 4-5 miles through dense forest. If you are a nature person, you will like Brown County. The roads are paved. Some campsites are paved while others are gravel. Some sites were full sun whereas others were full shade.
Rating: (One to five lanterns, with five being the highest)
Family and Pet Friendly
There are many things to do at Brown County State Park. There are over 18 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy to rugged. Our favorite trails were #7 and #9. There is a 90’ fire tower one could climb to get breathtaking views of the park. The nature center has a variety of exhibits, including the endangered Timber Rattlesnake. There are 27 miles of mountain biking trails that range from easy to extremely difficult. Though we don’t mountain bike ourselves, we heard that Brown County was known for its biking trails. The park has two lakes for fishing. Ogle Lake (17 acres) allows rowboats. On Friday and Saturday nights there are hayrides at $3/person. Campers can bring their own horses or pay to horseback ride. Trail rides costs $16 for 35 minutes or $26 for an hour. Picnic areas are scattered throughout the park, some with beautiful, scenic overlooks. An Olympic-size pool is available from Memorial Day to Labor Day. A couple average playgrounds are located in the park. There is a tennis court but unfortunately it is overrun with grass and weeds. Another disappointing aspect of this state park is the lack of a fenced-in dog area. There is plenty of open space in the park to create this, so we are not sure why the state did not make the investment.
Nashville (not Tennessee, lol) is a quaint little town with restaurants, art galleries, antique stores, and souvenir shops. After a long day, we enjoyed a craft brew at Big Woods Brewery. We would highly recommend this place. It was good beer and friendly service. If you enjoy golfing, there is an 18-hole course at Salt Creek Golf Resort. Rawhide Ranch and Paintball Valley offer exciting adventures including paintball and ziplines for young people. For the lovers of Bluegrass music, the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Park offers nationally known stars during the bluegrass music festival season. Indiana University is located in the nearby town of Bloomington.
The restrooms were that of any other state park, clean yet nothing fancy. The major disappointment were the showers. The water pressure felt like a needle and the water was nowhere near hot. Thankfully, we have a shower in our camper. It was nice to have pit toilets placed in various spots within the campground so campers do not have to walk all the way to the shower houses.