On July 4th, I checked another Indiana state park off my bucket list, Lincoln State Park! What better state park to check off on a day that celebrates our country’s independence than one named after one of our presidents? Fun Fact: President Abraham Lincoln lived in southern Indiana from the age of 7 to 21.
I planned on hiking trails 3, 1, and 5, however, Trail 3 was covered in HUGE spider webs that I was not about to walk through, so I skipped it for Trail 1. In it’s entirety, Trail 1 follows the banks of Lake Lincoln. I only hiked the section of Trail 1 that leads from the Nature Center to the fire tower trail. Trail 1 itself is easy / level. The fire tower trail on the other hand has decent elevation gain up to where the fire tower sits.
The fire tower trail is a looped spur off of Trail 1. The west section of the fire tower loop is a steep climb while the east section of the trail has stairs to aid with the elevation change. I recommend keeping this in mind if you chose to do this hike as there’s very little difference in scenery between the two so which route you take really just comes down to your preference of stairs vs no stairs. I hiked it as a loop.
Fire towers are known for their rickety, tinny stairs and the large, flying, stinging bugs that love to call them home. My love of sweeping views outweighs my hatred of rickety, tiny stairs, and the large flying stinging bugs that like to live in fire towers, so I braved the swaying staircase.
It was definitely worth it. The view was fantastic – lush green woods for as far as your eye can see.
Trail 5 is more of a historical walk in the woods than a hike. It passes the Little Pigeon Primitive Baptist Church where President Lincoln’s sister Sarah, her infant child, and her husband are buried.
It also passes Gorden Mill Site and Gorden Home Site. While grinding his grain at the Gorden Mill at age 10, Abraham Lincoln was knocked unconscious when his horse kicked him in the head. Noah Gorden’s well is the only thing that remains of the home site and mill.
Besides the view of the fire tower, my other favorite place at Lincoln State Park is the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Plaza.
To get the most out of visiting the plaza, you have to read what is etched into the monument.
There are fourteen panels making up a large wall. Each of the panels is the approximate height Abraham Lincoln was that year while living in Indiana. I figured out that I am currently, at a month shy of 25 years of age, the same height President Lincoln was in 1820 at age 10…
The plaza also has markers pointing the direction toward the other places that Lincoln called home during his life: LaRue County, Kentucky, where he was born; Macon County, Illinois, where he moved with his dad and step-mother at age 21; and Washington D.C. where he served as the 16th President of the United States.
There is also a bust of President Lincoln and the words of The Gettysburg Address.
Lincoln State Park also offers campgrounds, 3 other hiking trails, and a beach with a swimming area.
If you visit Lincoln State Park, I’d highly recommend driving across the street and exploring Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial as well! You can read about my adventure there, by clicking here.