Outdoor weekend adventure in Brown County, Indiana

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Brown County has been one of my favorite autumn destinations in the state of Indiana. Compared to the rest of the state, Brown County is hilly, which makes it one of the most desirable locations for viewing autumn foliage. I typically visit Brown County from mid to late October, when the leaves tend to be at peak autumn colors. However, this year I got there at the beginning of October. It was nice to visit a bit earlier in the month to avoid the crowds that typically populate the park this time of the year. I compiled this weekend guide to show you top things to do, see, and taste in Brown County Indiana. Here are some suggestions to get your planning started.

Go hiking at Brown County State Park

Brown County State Park is the number one spot to visit in Indiana during the autumn season. The park has 10 hiking trails, 7 vista points, 2 lookout towers, and 2 lakes. The trails range in difficulty, but the easy trails are short and range from 1 to 3.8 miles.

Hesitation Point is one of the most popular vistas, especially with bikers as that part of the park leads to many bike trails. Most vista points come with picnic tables to enjoy a meal with a view. One of the most frequented trails is a hike around Ogle Lake. Strahl Lake, even though it a smaller lake, is equally pretty. Depending on recent rainfall, you might get to see a waterfall there, but it is rather rare in October.

Of the two lookout towers, West Lookout Tower is by the road while North Lookout Tower requires a bit of hiking. If you’re looking for accommodation in the park, there is the Abe Martin Lodge as well as cabins and a campground. Please note that there is a fee to enter the park for both Indiana residents and non-residents.

Sunrise at Brown County Vista Point
Ogle Lake with autumn leaves at Brown County State Park in Indiana

Visit Yellowwood State Forest

Slightly overlooked, Yellowwood State Forest is another great place to visit. It is free to enter and much more peaceful, as most Brown County visitors tend to focus on the state park. Yellowwood State Forest offers many recreational opportunities. In addition to great hiking, there is also camping, horseback riding, fishing, hunting, kayaking, and a boat ramp available so you can launch your own boat. There are 10 hiking trails that range from 0.3 to 8.6 miles. A couple of noteworthy ones are Lake Trail, which is 4.5 miles long and takes you around the lake, and King Trail, which is only 0.3 miles and takes you to a scenic viewpoint.

An autumn view of Yellowood Lake in Yellowwood State Forest in Indiana
Boat rental at Yellowwood Lake in Yellowwood State Forest in Indiana

Stop by Nashville and try some local food

Nashville is a cute, small town located northwest of Brown County State Park. When you’re done exploring the outdoors, stroll the streets of Nashville, visit local stores, and check out dining options. I enjoyed a meal at the Big Woods restaurant at Hard Truth Hills distillery, a bit away from the town. The restaurant offers outdoor seating, a two-story deck, live music, and gives you the opportunity to try craft beer and spirits. I recommend tasting a local favorite food – fried biscuits covered in cinnamon sugar and served with apple butter.

Taste wine from local wineries

There’s nothing like relaxing at a winery after a day of venturing around. Brown County Winery is an award-winning, family-owned business known for producing grape and berry wines. The wine tasting is complimentary, and you can relax on the patio while viewing the rolling hills of Nashville covered in fall leaves. Even though I am a fan of dry red wines, I also enjoyed their semi-dry dessert wines. If Brown County Winery is not enough for you, Nashville is home to three more tasting rooms with wines from neighboring areas: Cedar Creek Winery, Country Heritage Winery, and Salt Creek Winery.

Stay at a cozy cabin

When it comes to accommodation, there are different alternatives available in the area. Find yourself a cozy cabin. I stayed about 15 minutes away from Nashville in a secluded cabin I found on Airbnb and I enjoyed the privacy of the place. Sitting by the fireplace and getting in a hot jacuzzi after a day of hiking felt very relaxing.

Cozy Pine Cabin with a bonfire in Brown County Indiana


These are just some of the options to get you started exploring Brown County. I hope you found this weekend guide to Brown County in Indiana helpful. Brown County is a very charming and pretty place that is definitely worth coming back for more.

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