Autumn is unpredictable to say the least. It may rain for two weeks straight. It may be 90 degrees one day and 55 degrees the next. That is why it is important get out and enjoy the amazing Hancock County parks on those few, rare perfect days before you are cooped up for the seemingly endless winter days that are just around the corner. These are my favorite five to visit in the fall and the reasons why I love them.
1. Riverside Park
While I may be partial to Riverside Park because of its proximity to my home, this is a great park to visit if you don’t have much time to drive out of the city limits. Two of my favorite features of this park are the paths that take you down to the banks of the reservoir and the StoryWalk courtesy of the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library. While these books are geared toward children, it’s nice to take a walk accompanied with a story.
2. Emory Adams Park
Also located within city limits, Emory Adams is my favorite for longer walk (and it’s usually a little less buggy). With several loops, it’s easy to get in a two-mile walk next to the scenic Eagle Creek. This is perfect for those crisp days while listening to music or an audiobook.
3. Riverbend Recreation Area
Riverbend has the most diversity in terms of scenery. There’s the river, great walking trails that follow the frisbee golf course, the dog park, shelter houses, and my favorite – the trails that go into the woods. There is one spot in particular that I think looks like a scene from Sleepy Hollow and I fully expect a headless horseman to come charging at me – you’ll just have to check for it yourself. This time of year, there are usually tractor hayrides so watch out for those if you are walking. If you have a dog, you can usually count on playmate or two for your pet at the dog park and it’s divided by dog-size so you don’t have to worry about a risky Great Dane/Pomeranian interaction.
4. Van Buren State Park
Van Buren State Park is great for a fall hike. And by hike, I mean my version of hiking where you’re in the woods and there’s sometimes a slight incline. None of that mountain stuff. I’m not trying sweat. BUT the lake is gorgeous and there are enough paths that it almost feels like you never go the same way twice. I’ve seen a number people enjoy running in this park, but again, not for me.
5. Oakwoods Nature Preserve
Oakwoods is a great park to visit based on size. You’ll get just enough outdoors, autumn walk to make you happy but not tired. It’s just long enough to finish your pumpkin spice latte (please recycle). There are two lakes on site and a butterfly meadow. However, the butterfly meadow might be more useful in the spring and summer months.
Those are my favorites but there are so many out great places to enjoy this intoxicating time of year so start exploring!