A sign made from stone and wood that says "Mounds State Park"

Mounds State Park (Indiana)- Great for Easy Hikes and History

Located within a few miles of Indianapolis, visitors to Mounds State Park in Anderson, Indiana can escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a few hours of simplicity. The park has 6 miles of relatively easy hiking trails as well as some amazing history.

Where is Mounds State Park?

Mounds State Park is in Anderson, IN, just a few miles northeast of Indianapolis, IN.

List of All Indiana State Parks

What is the History of Mounds State Park?

Mounds State Park is actually home to an incredible geological site! The park was named after the mounds created by Native Americans thousands of years ago. The 10 mounds were built by the Adena and Hopewell cultures in 160 B.C. Researchers believe the mounds were used to calculate and celebrate the solstices and other astronomical events. In other words, the mounds were used to identify the seasons and identify positions of the moon and other stars in the sky.

A photo of a walking path with trees and grass around it. The land dips down and then back up in a round shape
Hard to see, but this is the perspective from standing just inside The Great Mound.
A photo of a replica of the positions on the mounds and how they would have been used to study astronomial events
This diagram helps explain how the mounds were used many years ago to understand astrological events.

Additionally, Mounds State Park holds the home of Frederick Bronnenberg. Mr. Bronnenberg’s family immigrated from Germany in the early 1800s and owned hundreds of acres in the area. In the 1840s, Frederick Bronnenberg’s house was built. He saw it as his duty to care for the mounds. The house still stands on the state park property today and can be toured at scheduled times.

A historic house at Mounds State Park in Indiana

Looking for another Indiana state park with history? Check out our post on Spring Mill State Park– Best for History! Spring Mill State Park contains a pioneer village, a memorial to one of NASA’s first astronauts, Gus Grissom, and so much more!

Or looking for another park around Indy? White River State Park is in downtown Indy!

Or Turkey Run State Park east of Indianapolis was voted one of the best in Indiana for hiking trails!

Mounds State Park Hiking Trails

Mounds State Park is just a short drive from our house. My husband, our two dogs, and I come to this park regularly to enjoy the hiking trails. We love that the trails are wide, making it easier to hike with dogs (though the same would be true with children).

We also love that the trails cross over and/or run along bodies of water. There are several places to go creek stomping, let the dogs stop and get a drink, and enjoy the peaceful water. Trail 5 runs along the White River, a prominent river in the Indianapolis area. Visitors may even see canoers or kayakers enjoying the water as well.

Mounds State Park Trails at the Back of the Park

A very straight and flat walking path with trees and plants growing on both sides.

The trails in the back of the park (and closest to the campground), such as trail #4 and some of #5, are pretty flat. You’ll still find places to go creek stomping, but the altitude change is minimal. These would be great options for families with young children. And an all terrain stroller may be able to handle the trails.

Mounds State Park Hiking Trails at the Front of the Park

A walking path on the left with water on the right and treesleaning over the water in the middle.
A straight and flat walking trail with trees on both sides.
Trail 5 close to the water
Two black dogs looking out over a trail down a stairwell into the woods.
Trail 2

The trails at Mounds State Park by the mounds and White River are a little more rigorous. One even involves stairs.

Trail #5 wraps around the park and therefore can be accessed in the front or back of the park. In the front, it runs along the water with great views of White River. Trail #1, high up on a ledge, has a good lookout point for viewing the water as well.

Most notably, visitors can take a short break from the trails to enjoy the mounds. In fact, there is even a paved path, a section of trail #5, that visitors can take to some of the mounds if they would rather not hike the trails. Just park at the visitor’s center or Bronnenberg House and the paved trail will lead you straight to several of the mounds!

Mounds State Park Visitors Center

Mounds State Park visitor's center with tables for kids and posters on the wall. A big fake tree is in the background

Mounds State Park’s Visitors Center provides a great overview of the history of the park.

The visitors center provides information researchers have gathered from studying the mounds, the history of the park (including its use as an amusement park in the 1920’s!), and animals one may find in the area. Snakes, fish and some taxidermied animals are on display in the visitors center.

Camping at Mounds State Park

My parents love to take my niece on short camping trips to this state park. While the campground is small (only 76 campsites), it is also less crowded and pretty flat for parking a camper. I have found the same to be true when I’ve visited and stayed in a tent. Sites 7-20 and sites 69-76 are pretty well shaded and great for tent camping. Most of the sites in the middle of the campground are sunny and great for campers.

The playground at the campground can easily be viewed from sites 19, 20, 28, and 30. I would recommend those campsites to anyone camping with children.

Common Questions:

Does Mounds State Park have a Playground for Kids (Other than in the Campground)?

Yes! The playground is located just off the main road through the park next to Locust Grove Shelter. The biggest challenge, however, is that large groups often use the field where the playground is located for family reunions and more. If you are there when the field is not being used, the playground should be easily accessed. However, when a group is there, you may feel a bit like you are imposing on their party.

Any Suggestions for Kids’ Activities Around Mounds State Park?

Yes! Mounds used to have a pool, but it was shut down with Covid and never reopened. However, there is an amazing splash pad only 10 minutes from Mounds State Park in Daleville, IN. At the time of writing this post, it is free! It is currently the largest splash pad in Central Indiana, so I’m crossing my fingers and hoping it remains free! The link to the Daleville splash pad is here!

Any Suggestions for those (Like Me!) who are Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free?

The campground at Mounds State Park does have a campstore, but it is pretty small. They provide necessities for camping, but you’re not likely going to find healthy snacks and meals, especially if your diet is as restrictive as mine. Plan to bring your own food.

Scatterfield Road in Anderson also has several restaurant options, including a Panera Bread.

If you are specifically looking for gluten-free and dairy-free restaurant options, you may check out C.R. Heroes, Thai Sushi House, HC Tavern, Bibibop, or Chipotle all in Fishers, IN.

Mounds State Park is a Great Place for a Quick Adventure!

Mounds State Park is a short drive from Indianapolis, IN. Those looking for a quick weekend adventure with history and easy hiking will love this Indiana State Park. Hike on one of its 6 trails, check out the informative visitor’s center, and let the kids play on the playground. Mounds State Park is the perfect getaway for a few hours or a weekend camping trip!

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1 year ago

Looks like a nice state park! Indiana is on my bucket list too!

1 year ago

I love that there are great, easy hikes! How cool that is has a story behind it and a thousand years of history!

Lisa, Casey, Barrett Dog
Lisa, Casey, Barrett Dog
1 year ago

We are always seeking out new state parks! Of the Indiana State Parks, we have only visited Brown County. Thank you for sharing Mounds State Park. It will go on our list.

Cindy Moore
Cindy Moore
1 year ago

This looks like a fun park to explore and play in. I’m fascinated by the mounds!

Julie Gaz
1 year ago

Mounds State Park sound interesting to me. Thanks for sharing.

1 year ago

Wow! Sounds like an amazing time for sure! I love nature!

1 year ago

This looks like a great place for an adventure. Mounds State Park will have to be added to the list!

1 year ago

Looks like an amazing state park. I’d love to visit!