|An epic ride
Brown County, Indiana is simply magical. Its similar to Galena, Illinois or Baraboo, Wisconsin- not exactly tall in altitude though rugged terrain hides extensive outdoor adventure opportunities. Driving South from Indianapolis, the hills become taller and more numerous until reaching the town of Nashville, Indiana. This little town is actually quite cosmopolitan considering how far it is from any major center of population. Much of it's commerce centers around biking and autumn leaf-peepers (do they use that term outside of the Northeast?)
|Well maintained trails
Like many vetted mountain biking destinations, trails are rated like ski runs- Green circles are easy, Blue Squares are intermediate, Black Diamonds are hard, Double Black Diamonds are extremely hard. Also like ski trails, there's not a great deal of objectivity to ratings. I would say that most mountain biking destinations I've been to have trail ratings that are rated with respect to other trails in the area but not necessarily to one universal standard.
I started with North Tower Loop which is an easier, accessible trail in the northern section of the park. This rolls through dense woodland and is entirely shaded, making for a very pleasant ride. From there, Green Valley Trail was a bit more challenging though flowed nicely as well. Hesitation Point Connector starts with the fantastic view above and is quite rapid in descents- you will definitely forget you're in the Midwest. I found this trail to be the most fun of them all- its a very classic ride for the area.
Later on in my weekend, I did Aynes Loop ad Connector which are also flow-y intermediates that ran like a rollercoaster. There's a lot of elevation gain and loss on that trail - recommend that one in the early or midday, not at the end!
For the really advanced riders, Walnut Trail and Schooner Trace Trail are not to be missed. I found the Walnut Trail,a black diamond, to be a bit out of reach for a casual rider like me. It was fun but I needed a much more technical bike to overcome the numerous treefalls and rocky drops. Schooner Trace is utterly vicious, hence the double diamond rating. The elevation profile on that trail is as serrated as a woodsaw.
The covered bridge would be of interest to any enthusiast at the north end of the park. Lastly, there are several more primitive campsites in the park that are worth staying in. Nights are temperate and starry in this park.
It was a wonderful weekend. I can't wait to come back, perhaps in the fall?