Editor’s Note: Jordan Carr and co-author and photographer Leilani Bruntz are currently traveling the country spreading the gospel of mountain biking as the Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew. Along the way they get to explore some of the country’s best riding locales, and then share them with you in this reoccurring Mtbr Trail Report series. Follow Carr and Bruntz’s adventures on Facebook and Instagram, and let us know in the comments section below if you have additional beta about these great riding destinations. And be sure to check out their write-ups on Salida, Colorado, Oakridge, Oregon, Phoenix, Arizona, Marquette, Michigan, and Cable, Wisconsin.
The Scooner Trail takes advantage of the rocky landscape and integrates as much of the rock as possible to challenge riders (click to enlarge).
Situated just over an hour south of Indianapolis, Brown County State Park is covered in densely forested hillsides. Despite Indiana’s reputation as a flat state, the southern portion is surprisingly lumpy after glacial meltwater carved through what is now nicknamed the “Little Smokies.” As the biggest state park in Indiana, Brown County boasts 28 miles of purpose built singletrack (with more in the works).
The result of years of volunteer efforts by local IMBA Chapter, Hoosier Mountain Bike Association, the Brown County trail system has recently been designated an IMBA Silver Level Ride Center and is a prime example of how volunteer organizations are helping creating local community assets through strategic planning. Not only did the HMBA devote hundreds of hours to the effort, but they continue to be a vital player in the upkeep of the growing trail system.
In an effort to increase parks visitation, Indiana State Parks is developing high quality mountain bike’centric trail systems in partnership with local non-profit IMBA chapters. Brown County is one of the Hoosier state’s better-known MTB destinations, melding machine cut, roller coaster singletrack with the rock-laden hills. The diverse trail network offers a trail experience for riders of all ability levels, while the park’s modern amenities make it a great place to spend a few days.
Whether you’re seeking buff, wide-open trails or slow, technically challenging rock features, Brown County keeps riders of all abilities smiling between gasps of humid Midwestern air. Trails can be accessed from either the north or west entrances of the park, though beginning at the north entrance seems to be the most popular way to ride the system, as it ends with a descent back down to the car. Many loop options are available at Brown County, allowing for rides various lengths.
Riders who prefer smooth flowy trails with optional lines will enjoy Green Valley, while the Schooner trail features the most technically challenging riding in the park.