If you've spent much time in the Midwest, chances are you've driven through Indiana. Coined "The Crossroads of America," the state is known for its warm summer nights, row crops as far as the eye can see and iconic sunsets you won't soon forget.
Indiana may be known to some as a top corn-producing state, but Hoosiers remind us there's more than corn in Indiana. In the northwest, Indiana touches Lake Michigan for only 45 miles, but it does so in dramatic fashion. Indiana Dunes National Park has dunes reaching almost 200 feet showcasing fantastic views. Northern Indiana is home to beautiful, sprawling, rich farmland near famous Shipshewana.
Heading toward the state's center, rivers and lakes such as the Salamonie River State Forest and Salamonie Lake offer great recreation and hunting. Swampy lowlands and thick, hardwood ridges create ideal habitat for a thriving whitetail population estimated at almost 700,000. The clean, fresh water of the rivers and lakes provides some of the best large and smallmouth bass fishing in the Midwest, along with plenty of panfish.
The Knobstone Trail in Southern Indiana runs through the Clark State Forest along the Knobstone Escarpment. Backpackers use this trail to train for hiking the Appalachian Trail because of its frequent elevation changes. While the trail never surpasses an altitude over 2,000 feet over its 80 miles, it has 20,000 feet of elevation changes. Starting near Salem, the trail ends in Deam Lake State Recreation Area, just 20 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky.
While there's plenty to enjoy in every season, each autumn Indiana's river valleys and hills are a canvas of colors. Oaks and hickories with their golden bronze leaves and bright yellows from birch and poplar create a rusty palette. Crisp fall air joins peaceful campfires with oranges and reds that match the forest canopy.
As Indiana reaches its border with Kentucky and descends into the mighty Ohio River, Indiana Caverns displays the longest cave system in the state and ranks seventh in the nation. This, another of Indiana's hidden natural attractions, is 42 miles of caves to explore by foot or by boat.
Southern Indiana becomes complete with trails, camping, backpacking and hunting opportunities in the Hoosier National Forest. There are more than 200,000 acres of woods right in the middle of all those fields.
For the outdoor lover, there's plenty of room to cultivate the land and wander through backwoods adventures in Indiana.