Evansville, IN: Harmonie State Park

Towering trees and hanging vines lend a primordial feel to this 3.6-mile lollipop above the banks of the mighty Wabash River.
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Towering trees and hanging vines lend a primordial feel to this 3.6-mile lollipop above the banks of the mighty Wabash River.

From the flat plains of the Wabash River, this 3.6 mile lollipop loop combines Trails 1 and 4 over steep hills, across wandering creeks and into deep ravines near the south end of Harmonie State Park. Begin on the flat floodplains of the Wabash River—the picnic area makes a great post-hike pit stop—and pass an old barn before turning south along an old country road. Under outsized specimens of oak and maple, the trail roller-coasters over hills into deep ravines, passing a group picnic area and descending stairs into a 200-foot gorge at mile after 1.8. Towering trees, lush greenery and hanging vines evoke a primeval atmosphere. The last mile of the trail tracks along a slightly downhill slope, with only a few short hills to interrupt a leisurely stroll back to the trailhead.
This short hike isn’t an all-day affair, but with several interpretive trails loops scattered throughout the park and an Olympic-sized pool (with a 110-foot waterslide!) as the park’s main attraction, there are plenty of ways to wile away a day.
-Mapped by Ted Villaire

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 5.9

Waypoints

HAR001

Location: 38.0614815, -87.9658051

The trail begins on the south side of the main park road just south of the Wabash River Picnic Area campground. A bluff rises immediately on the right signaling your departure from the flood plain.

HAR002

Location: 38.0600791, -87.9633343

The bluff on the right steepens and the oaks multiply. Look for white trilliums in the lush understory and take note of the old barn, remnant of the areas farming history.

HAR003

Location: 38.0597454, -87.962181

Continue straight at the 3-way junction, passing the turnoff to Trail 2.

HAR004

Location: 38.0589133, -87.959311

Turn right @ the T-junction to begin a counterclockwise loop on Trail 4. You'll be following a small creek, the banks of which are laden with horsetail grass.

HAR005

Location: 38.0550864, -87.9593754

The bluffs grow and ravines deepen on this 0.65-mile stretch along an old country road. Huge maples and oaks rise above the rugged landscape. The occasional dogwood trees and ferns are sprinkled throughout. When foliage is sparse, you may see the bottom of the 100-foot deep ravine on the trail's west side.

HAR006

Location: 38.0494766, -87.9593506

After crossing the park road, the trail turns east and rises gradually to a picnic area, the parking lot there is another place to access the trail.

HAR007

Location: 38.0488768, -87.9506421

Cherry Hill picnic area is on your left, but to follow this mapped route, turn right at the 4-way junction to follow Trail 1 down wooden stairs into a deep ravine.

HAR008

Location: 38.0494682, -87.9463613

Follow the park road for 75 yards through a group camping area. After passing the pit toilets and water faucet-and filling up your bottles-turn left to continue on Trail 1.

HAR009

Location: 38.0519028, -87.9500351

Turn right at this 3-way junction to rejoin Trail 4. As you cross the park road, seemingly bottomless ravines may lure you in for a closer look.

HAR010

Location: 38.0583135, -87.9592842

A short climb from the ravine bottom brings you to the end of the trail loop. Turn right at this T-junction to begin retracing our steps to the parking area.

HAR011

Location: 38.0589302, -87.9592627

Turn left at the T-junction and continue alongside the creek to the parking area.

Creek

Location: 38.0606788, -87.9641283

Road Brook's sandy-bottom meanders alongside the first section of the trail. © Ted Villaire

Bridge

Location: 38.0583051, -87.9592252

Cross this bridge and continue straight as Trail 4 begins a roller coaster ride among the bluffs. © Ted Villaire

Stairs

Location: 38.0486909, -87.948904

A steep staircase descent leads to the bottom of a deep ravine and a bridged crossing of Goad Brook. © Ted Villaire