Tippecanoe River State Park
Discover Tippecanoe River State Park
Tippecanoe River State Park lies just off the eastern edge of U.S. Highway 35 in northern Indiana, just outside the town of Winamac. With over 22 miles of trails, access to the Tippecanoe River, and plenty of camping; fisherman, canoers, hikers, cross country skiers, campers, horsemen, and others can enjoy the area.
Learn about the park and the surrounding area here on this page and enjoy just a few of the photos I took while I was there in late July 2009.
An Overview of Tippecanoe River State Park
The Tippecanoe River State Park consists of 2,785 acres of flat Indiana land. It includes the Sand Hill Nature Preserve, at the north end of the park, and the Tippecanoe River Nature Preserve at the eastern edge of the park. US highway 35 forms the western border of the park and the Tippecanoe River it's eastern edge.
There are over 8 miles of trails devoted exclusively to hikers and an additional 14 plus miles of trails to be shared by horsemen and hikers. It hosts a picnic area, playground, and over a 110 campsites and cabins.
The land was originally inhabited by the Potawatomi Indians in the 1600's and 1700's. French fur traders from Canada used the Tippecanoe River as a trade route with the Indians. White settlers move in during the 1800's and by the 1930's, the land that makes up the park as well as the adjacent Winamac Fish & Wildlife Area was set aside for public use and the park was established in 1943
The horse trails are located primarily in the southern half of the park. Hikers can share these routes but need to step aside when approached by horses. Like all trails within the park, hiking is easy to moderate. The terrain is flat and mostly wooded. However, it's important to note than in the Sand Hill areas, walking is a bit laborious as hikers have to trudge through deep sand which is kept loose by the horse traffic.Trail 1 which takes off near the park entrance is a good example of this. A small section of this trail is pictured to the right.
Trail 1 also takes you to the old Fire Tower. For those interested in a climb up the steps, the tower is open and provides a bird's eye view of the forest below. Trail 6, in the the same southern area of the park, takes you to a pond where you can view some of the water fowl in the area as well. A complete trail map can be found here.
While there is plenty of deciduous growth at the park, there are also areas with significant pine growth which offer a pleasant walk. Trail 3 in particular provides a good view of this and the opportunity to walk on the soft and quiet pine needle carpet. Trail 7 also takes you through an area of White Pines.
For those new to Tippecanoe River State Park, hiking without your map is not recommended. Trails are generally marked but the trails are interconnected a great deal and loop around on themsleves repeatedly in some cases.
Trail 8 is the only path which takes you through the Sand Hill Nature Preserve although there are certainly sand hills located at the southern end of the park covered by the combined horse/hiking trails described above.
Trials 4 is an easy loop trail near the campground which runs through the Tippecanoe River Nature Preserve. Trail 5 is the longest hiking-only trail in the park. It's 3.5 miles long and takes you on a north to south route that frequently borders the river. In fact, trail 5 takes you past the boat launch, cabins, and tent areas.
At the southern end, trail 5 hooks up with trails 3 and 4. The picture to the right was taken near the boat launch off of Trail 5.
Other Areas of Interest
Visitors to Tippecanoe River State Park will also find other places that may be of interest in the local area. The Winamac Fish & Wildlife Area lies adjacent to the park to the west. The area covers 4,750 acres and provides an opportunity for fishing, hunting, and trapping as well as hiking and observation of nature. You can learn more about this area at the DNR site.
The Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area is also within an easy driving distance; several miles west of the park near Medaryville. One of the more interesting aspects of this 8,000 acre area, is the ready access to viewing the Sandhill Cranes which migrate to and from the area every year. The best viewing time tends to be from August through November/December although smaller populations can sometimes be seen in February and March as well.