On my way to Shawnee National Forest for Memorial Day Weekend, I passed the tourist sign for Harmonie State Park. With it being a last minute trip, I had not realized that I would be passing so close to the state park. I decided I’d take advantage of being so close and stop on my way home Monday to do a short hike, thereby being one step closer to my goal of visiting all of Indiana’s State Parks.
Now I may have set myself up for failure by choosing to hike at this state park immediately following two days of gorgeous hiking at Shawnee National Forest, or I could have unknowingly picked the only sub par trail at Harmonie State Park, but my experience there was a huge let down.
For one thing, the state park does not sell patches or postcards (strike number one in my book).
The trail-heads at Harmonie State Park are marked with a brown, waist-high poles with the number painted on it, located about 5 feet in on the trail – meaning I had to refer to the un-detailed park map to try and figure out where the trail-heads were (strike number two). I was going to start with Trail 3, but gave up on finding the trail-head – after finding the trail-head for Trail 5 I realized I’d seen the Trail 3 trail-head.
After giving up on Trail 3, I drove to the campground entrance where according to the map there was a parking lot and the trail-head for Trail 5. The trail-head was actually back up the road from the parking lot, so I had to walk along the road around a curve to get to it. The trail was semi mowed grass with limited views of anything. I had chose Trail 5, even though it was only .75 miles, because the park map showed it passing Big and Little Harmonie Ponds and I thought there would be views of them most of the way. It turned out that all you could see was the trees and the undergrowth. I did not get a good view till the end of Big Harmonie Pond. The trail is supposed to be a loop, but what I assume was a bridge at the end of Big Harmonie Pond looked to have been washed out a long time ago so I just turned around and went back the way I came (strike 3).
If I am ever passing through the area again, I will stop at Harmonie Sate Park and give it another shot. Until then…