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Indiana's Whitewater Memorial State Park

Updated on December 31, 2015
Part of the Memorial at Whitewater Memorial State Park
Part of the Memorial at Whitewater Memorial State Park | Source

Whitewater Memorial State Park became an Indiana State Park in 1949, the sixteenth park in the system.. The Whitewater part of its name comes from the nearby Whitewater River. It isn't truly whitewater, but it is swift, with an average drop of six feet every mile. The memorial portion of the name comes from the fact that the counties of Franklin, Union and Fayette acquired the land to establish the park as a memorial to its veterans who served during World War II. It is located in southeastern Indiana, about 60 miles northwest of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Postcard of Whitewater Memorial State Park Beach in 1965
Postcard of Whitewater Memorial State Park Beach in 1965 | Source

Facilities & Activities

The main attraction at Whitewater Memorial is the water. There is the 200 acre Whitewater Lake located totally within the park. Along the southwestern edge of the property, there is a boat ramp that provides access to the 5,000 acre Brookeville Lake, Fishing is allowed in both lakes, but only electric trolling motors are allowed on Whitewater Lake. Whitewater Lake has a beach with a bathhouse, a couple fishing piers, and a boat ramp. Boats can be rented during the summer.

There are five hiking trails in the park, ranging from 1 to 2.7 miles in length. All are listed as moderate difficulty. I recommend the Lakeshore Trail, which goes along the west shore of Whitewater Lake. It also passes through the Hornbeam Nature Preserve, Another good trail is the Veterans Vista Trail, which offers views of Brookeville Lake.

For horseback riders, there are 9 miles of bridle trails, which completely circle Whitewater Lake. The property also has a saddle barn and a primitive horsemen's campground. There are also over 200 electric campsites, rental cabins and a camp store.

Hornbeam Nature Preserve

The Hornbeam Nature Preserve occupies 83 acres within Whitewater Memorial State Park. The larger trees are predominately beech and maple. The American hornbeam (also called ironwood, blue beech or musclewood) is a smaller tree that occupies the understory. The height of a mature hornbeam is usually 30 - 50 feet. This preserve has a lot of hornbeams, which leads to the name of the preserve.

Hornbeam Nature Preserve
Hornbeam Nature Preserve | Source

Alternative Campgrounds

Whitewater Memorial State Park is quite popular and often the campgrounds fill up during the summer, especially on holiday weekends. Fortunately there are a couple of alternatives if this happens to you. Just south of the park, but on the other side of Brookeville Lake is Quakertown State Recreation Area. Farther south on State Road 101 is Mounds State Recreation Area.

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