Southeast Indiana Birding Opportunities - Brown County State Park

Indiana’s largest state park, Brown County State Park is known for its vast, rugged hills, beautiful ridgetops, and cloud blanketed ravines. Breathtaking vistas give visitors a view of the forest canopy unlike any other in the state.

Brown County State Park on Indiana Birding Trail

These vistas are great places to view vultures and raptors such as Broad-winged Hawks as they ride thermals pushed up by Brown County’s iconic ridges.

From the North end of the park, near the historic two-lane covered bridge, a brushy streambank accompanied by a floodplain and open field areas give birders a chance to see Killdeer, Belted Kingfishers, Barred Owls, and Eastern Bluebirds. This area also boasts the best opportunity to see Bald Eagles, as they glide along Salt Creek looking for a meal.

Trails 1-5, as well as 8 and 9 provide perfect examples of upland mesic forest. These areas are great places to find an array of warbler species like: Cerulean, Prothonotary, and Black-throated Green Warblers. These lush wooded areas provide great habitat for Red-headed Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and Pileated Woodpeckers.

The year round nature center, with its quaint bird observation room, is a great place to view many different species of birds. Finches, woodpeckers, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, and sparrows are often seen. In the winter Dark-eyed Juncos frequent the feeder area in winter.

A nighttime hike will excite even the expert birder as the interior woodland habitat provides opportunity for Whip-poor-wills or the occasional Chuck-will’s-widow. Screech, Barred and Great-Horned owls are also a great night-time treat.

eBird Hotspot Link:

Total Birding Time:
2-4 hours

Best Times to Bird: 
The best times to bird in Brown County State Park are during the spring and fall migration, as well as summer breeding times.


1405 State Road 46 West
Nashville, IN 47448
Brown County State Park has two main entrances. Both are off of State Road 46. The North Gate is located just east of the town of Nashville and is the site of the two-lane covered bridge. The West Gate is located west of town of Nashville and should be used by anyone pulling a camper or with a larger vehicle that exceeds the maximum weight or height limits. (9’ clearance 3 ton weight limit)

Hours: Regular park hours are 7am-11pm.
Ownership: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of State Parks
Admission: $7/ vehicle with Indiana State license plate, $9/vehicle out-of-state. Free admission with annual entrance permit.
Restrictions: Please obey all rules and regulations. A summary of property rules can be found at
Parking: Ample parking is available at trailheads, the nature center, picnic areas, and at the Abe Martin Lodge.
Nearby Amenities: The Abe Martin Lodge serves food in the Little Gem Restaurant and is a great place to stay to maximize your time birding. The nature center has modern restrooms as well as a bird observation room. Modern restrooms are also available at the park office, the Abe Martin Lodge, and seasonally at the Upper Shelter, Lower Shelter, and Strahl Lake. Vault toilets are located throughout the park as well. The town of Nashville provides many dining and lodging options and is a great place to look around at local shops and artisans.
Accessibility: The Friends Trail, located next to the Park Office, is a paved trail. Facilities are ADA accessible.
Phone Number: Office (812)988-6406 Nature Center (812)988-5240 Abe Martin Lodge (812)988-4418

Written by: Patrick Haulter
Photo by: April Raver