With our newly acquired Indiana State Park pass, we’ve been making an effort to get out and try some new-to-us parks. At just 1 hour from our house, Mounds State Park is the perfect quick getaway for our family. The park is located right along the White River in Anderson, IN and just about 10 minutes from I-69 so it’s an easy drive.
We got there early on a Sunday morning and practically had the place to ourselves. Grabbing a map from the front gate, we parked near the visitor’s center and then wandered off to find the trail. There are several trails to choose from and most are crushed gravel which helps cut down on the mud. A boardwalk also takes you through the woods and over several small streams.
Many of the trails take you past the namesake of the park, the ceremonial mounds created by the indigenous Adena-Hopewell people around 160 b.c. There are interpretive signs near the mounds that make for a quick and educational stop on the hike. Several miles of trails offer lots of options and I appreciate that most of the trails are loops to prevent backtracking. There are some ups and downs as you navigate the riverbank but nothing my 7 and 3 year old couldn’t handle.
The Visitor’s Center is open daily from 9-4 and is a worthwhile stop for all park goers. The interactive displays were a huge hit with my kids and focused on the many things found throughout the park including animals, plants, birds and the mounds. I was impressed with all of the programing offered as well. Ranger led hikes and animal feedings were the two offerings for the day, with several more listed throughout the week. There were also scavenger hunts available and GPS units available to rent for some in-park geocaching.
We didn’t have time to check out the Bronnenberg House, a home on the National Historic Register that was built in the 1840s. Volunteers give tours from 1-4 on Saturday and Sundays and we’ll be back to check it out next time.
Mounds State Park also offers a huge pool which looked like a fun way to cool off after a morning of hiking (open seasonally and with an additional entry fee). While we couldn’t drive through the campground as day guests, both my husband and I agreed that it would be a great weekend getaway and with the pool and visitor center activities, would easily keep our crew entertained for a couple of days.
One of the closest state parks to Indianapolis, Mounds is a short drive and well worth exploring for families looking to spend time outdoors.
Leave a comment below about your favorite Indiana state park. I’d love to know where we need to go next.