The forested ridges of Indiana’s Brown County are justifiably popular, but few visitors explore the park’s isolated southern section. Thanks to the challenging new Taylor Ridge Trail, completed in 2007, you can be one of the first to walk it. On this difficult 13.2-mile lollipop loop, you’ll hike through wooded bottomlands alive with pawpaws, hornbeams, fragrant witch hazel, and spicebush, and traverse high ridges studded with chestnut oaks. Begin on Trail 8 and hike south to 17-acre Ogle Lake. Continue to the southern end of the lake and turn left to join the Taylor Ridge Trail (9). From there, you’ll climb up and down the region’s “Hoosier Hills,” skirting cliff-like dropoffs and descending sharply into valleys. Travel the 3-mile loop at the trail’s end and swing back to the lake; keep heading east on Trail 7 to Trail 4 for a peek at the big cherry, oak, and tulip poplar trees (saved by one of the area’s original settlers) on a 0.75-mile trip through the Ogle Hollow Nature Preserve. Take Trails 4 and 7 back to Trail 8 and head back north to the West Lookout Tower and your car.
Info: (812) 988-6406; dnr.in.gov
Hike provided by Hoosier Hikers Council
Location: 39.1721305847168, -86.2549896240234