Trail 3, Saddle Barn Loop, Brown County State Park

Trail 3 is a popular and easy 1.25 mile loop through the northern section of Brown County State Park that holds a couple of interesting surprises. When paired with the 2-mile-long Trail 2, this hiking trail makes for a perfect day hike through the enchanting forest of south central Indiana.

RELATED: The Best Hiking Trails in Brown County State Park, with Maps and Rankings

 

Trail 3 (Saddle Barn Loop) Interactive Hiking Map

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Trail 3 (Saddle Barn Loop) map GPX file

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 Directions


Trail 3 (Saddle Barn Loop) trailhead. From the north entrance of the park, head south on Brown County State Park Road for 1.4 miles. Turn left at the sign for Abe Martin Lodge and follow the drive .8 miles. The trailhead is behind the lodge, but to get to it you must pass through the parking lot on the right and loop around on the one-way drive to the back. There is less parking behind the lodge but the spaces are usually not full.


 Difficulty


Easy

 Hiking Time


1 hour

 Total Distance


1.25 miles

 Route type


Loop

 Cost


$7/vehicle (in-state), $9/vehicle (out-of-state)

 GPS Location


39.187628, -86.214662

 Dogs


Allowed on 6-foot leash

 Sun exposure


Dense tree canopy

 Bathrooms


Yes

 Flora/fauna


Copperheads, timber rattlers, ticks

 Accessible?


No

 Kid friendly


Yes


 Hiking Trail 3 (Saddle Barn Loop)


Being this close to the usually busy Abe Martin Lodge, we were surprised to have Trail 3 all to ourselves on a late summer weekend. Taking the trail in a counterclockwise loop, we started out from the southern trailhead which is also the primary access point for Trail 2.

We passed small cabins dotting the perimeter of the lodge as we descended 100 feet into a ravine and crossed a popular horse trail.

Following the trail along a dry creek bed and moving deeper into the forest, we felt the temperature drop – a welcome respite from the hot August sun.

After half a mile we changed direction from southeast to the north and climbed back out of the ravine before plunging down into another.

At one mile into the trail, we found ourselves at the Saddle Barn – a depression-era structure constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. – and overheard a guide on horseback telling a well-rehearsed story to a group of riders behind him.

Approaching the Saddle Barn, the trail became unclear. After wandering for just a couple minutes, we decided to follow a sign for Trail 2. This was actually where Trail 3 continued back to Abe Martin Lodge, but we would not realize that until later (Trail 2 had been redirected due to storm damage).

Woman hiker explores the amphitheater on the Trail 3 Saddle Barn Loop hiking trail, Brown County State Park, Indiana.

Before reaching the lodge, we were surprised to find an amphitheater constructed of stone that has likely been the setting for numerous outdoor weddings and other festive gatherings. The lodge and parking lot are only about a tenth of a mile farther from this point.

Although short, Trail 3 has some lovely scenery and interesting waypoints, and with Trail 2 right there as well, you can soon be off on your next hike.

 

 Use map for real-time navigation


Load this web page on your phone before heading to the trail. Once there, be sure to put your device in airplane mode in order to save battery life.

Simply tap the map marker icon on the map to show your current location and follow along.

Tap the layers icon to switch between topographic, satellite and other helpful map layers. Be sure to check out the Heatmap overlay to see where others have gone before you!

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