Indiana has 3 National Park units within the state. One of those, Indiana Sand Dunes is one of the 63 National Parks. The other two are a national memorial and national historic park. Beyond these 3 National park Units there is one National Trail that crosses the state as well.
So read on to learn about the 3 National Parks in Indiana.
National Parks in Indiana
There is one National Park (of the 63) in Indiana. These National Parks are among the most important, protected, and prestigious of the National Park Service units.
Indiana Sand Dunes
Formerly a National Lakeshore, Indiana Sand Dunes was redesignated in 2019 to become the 61st National Park. The site protects a large non-contiguous group of sand dunes along Lake Michigan.
The dunes are actually quite impressive, rising high along the shores. you can even see areas where the dunes have covered trees which give it such a surreal experience. The area also protects and incredibly diverse section of flora and fauna as well. One of the rangers in Theodore Roosevelt NP explained to me it has some of the most diversity of any National Park.
The park layout is strange with quite a few disconnected sections along with state parks and even some industrial construction. There’s a steel plant that seems to take up a large section between areas. Additionally, a ghost town or two exists within the park boundaries as well. Surreal.
Overall the park seems more like a National Seashore than a National Park. But it is worth visiting and exploring on any trip through Indiana.
Other Indiana National Park Units
Beyond the National Park site (listed above), the following are the other two National Park units within Indiana. Explore below to learn about their history and how to visit.
George Rogers Clark National Historic Park
Located on the banks of the Wabash River, George Rogers Clark NHP protects the site of Fort Sackville. While the exact location of the fort is lost, it is believed to be within the park boundaries. The fort, captured by George Clark (big brother of William Clark) was one of the most famous feats during the revolutionary war.
Following the French-Indian War, the British funded Indian war parties against settlers west of the Appalachian Mountains. Clark led a force to take Fort Sackville and captured it in 1778. The British retook the fort again from the forces left in Sackville.
However, Clark led another campaign in 1779 across freezing waters and harsh winter conditions to once again take the fort in February of 1799. Clark with some smart thinking was able to convince the British troops his army was larger than in actuality.
Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
Lincoln Boyhood Home in Indian protects one of the sites of his formative years during his childhood. Lincoln lived at the site of the cabin here at the memorial from ages 7 – 21. Many things happened to Abraham during this time including the death of his mother when he was age 9.
These were considered some of his most important years of his youth and turned him into the man who would become state senator, representative, and president.
I find it so fascinating that several Lincoln sites are among the National Park service sites. Others include his birthplace in Kentucky, and his home in Springfield Illinois.
National Trails are historic, scientific, and nature trails across the United States. These trails often cross several states and can even be thousands of miles long.
Most National Trails are not fully administered by the National Park Service and often have multiple agencies and private organizations managing all or part of the trail.
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
Following the journey the famous explorers Lewis and Clark. The National Historical Trail runs about 4,900 miles from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania to Astoria Oregon. Along the trail you can visit quite a few National and State Park sites that comprised the journey of the Corps of Discovery. It follows the historical trail of the Corps as well as the preparatory sections between Pennsylvania and Illinois.
Within Indiana the trails passes through Falls of the Ohio (where Lewis and Clark met to combine journey), George Rogers Clark Home Site, Oak Hill Cemetery and Arboretum, Angel Mounds, among others. [ IA ID IL IN KS KY MO MT NE ND OH PA SD WA WV ]
Check out Nearby States National Park Sites