Lawrence, Pendleton, Anderson, oh my!  We had the opportunity to visit Fort Harrison State Park, which is located on the northeast side of Marion County, Mounds State Park in Madison County, and Falls Park in Pendleton.

Fort Harrison State Park is part of the former Fort Benjamin Harrison, a former US Army Post.  There are four nature preserves within the park.  It is truly hard to believe that you are hiking around in an urban area.  Fall Creek traverses the north side of the park and has several trails that parallel it.  We really enjoyed getting off the beaten path and hiking the Fall Creek Trail which is not too heavily traveled.  The Harrison Trace Trail is pretty easy, paved and is highly used.  We stayed at the Fort Harrison Inn, which is located just outside of the park entrance.   The Inn is an old hospital that has been rehabilitated into beautiful large rooms, meeting spaces and a dining area.  It was a very pleasant surprise and was not expected how nice the accommodations were.  It is also nice that the Inn is located within walking distance of several restaurants.  Interesting fact:  Fort Harrison is one of only two State Parks that do not have camping.  That seems really odd given its location to a huge population base.  Do you know the other State Park that does not have camping?  Keep reading!

Of all the many visits to Mounds State Park, I had never hiked past the actual namesake of the park.  There are several mounds located south of the visitor’s center that are a short easy hike.  The history of the area and how the mounds were created and why they were created is quite fascinating.  The history of the park tied into the beauty makes this a special place.  We enjoyed our hike along White River as well.  What a peaceful jaunt along this great river.  Be warned, hiking this trail probably means a good hike down a hill and that only means a good hike up a hill as well.  My summer plans, if they come to fruition, is to take a canoe trip on the White River.  This will likely be part of the route and there is a nice landing for boats on the north side of the park.  One additional interesting fact was the existence of the old interurban that followed along the east side of the park.  Look for the evidence of the old rail and station.   Who says you can’t enjoy history and the outdoors at the same time?

Pendleton is between Lawrence and Anderson (on Pendleton Pike).  While traveling along SR67, we drove through historic downtown and just had to eat at The Bank.  Great atmosphere, great food and one of those places you must visit.  The tenderloin was my favorite this trip but there are many other menu items I will try on my next visits.   While in town, check out Falls Park.  Waterfalls are just fascinating to me and the falls in the park are quite the site.   As with the two State Parks above, this park has great beauty as well as history.  Take in both while visiting.

Falls of the Ohio State Park – the other State Park without camping.  Been there?  You are missing quite an interesting place.

Where should we go?  Send us your thoughts.  Happy Wandering!

~ Jeff Banning