The Midwest is full of surprises. In addition to some of the busiest cities, farms, and industrial areas in the country, there are also large sections which seem practically untouched and natural. Harmonie State Park is definitely one of those surprises.
Just south of the early 1800s Utopian village of New Harmony, the State Park is 3,465 acres of stunning old growth forest along the banks of the Wabash River. The Park has 200 powered campsites with abundant room for big RV's and family groups.
In addition to the abundant natural beauty and recreation around the park, a full-blown Olympic-Sized swimming pool with a water slide and lifeguards is often the main attraction to many visiting families. The pool is just a short walk from your campsite.
There are over ten miles of paved park roads with bike lanes for cyclists. And an entire network of singletrack mountain biking trails available year-round for all skill levels of riders.
The rest of the park's trails are open for hiking, and provide abundant opportunities to see and experience up close the variety of plant and animal life found in the park. For fishing, there are two stocked ponds, Rush Creek, and the huge Wabash River with boat access in the park.
The Park Rangers arrange guided hikes, talks, and educational lectures through the summer season. Many species of edible mushrooms also grow underfoot, and if you happen to visit in the Spring or Fall, you may be able to join a mushroom identification walk.
Many of the sites are not level, so be sure to bring extra blocking. Power boxes are often out of reach of a typical shore cord. Bring an extension to avoid frustration. The local towns don't have much for groceries, so you should stock up at Evansville before heading to the park.
There are 200 camp sites and all of them have power. The park is setup for large RVs and many sites are 65 foot pull-thru. There are full restrooms, hot showers, a dump station and drinking water. Each site has a picnic table and a fire ring with a cooking grill. The setting is very open and grassy, and perhaps a little crowded if you're used to having the place to yourself.
This area was originally settled in the 1800s by two groups of Christian settlers fleeing persecution and looking to build a Utopian society. Many of these original 200 year old buildings are still standing and on display in the town of New Harmonie minutes north of the State Park. It's a fascinating part of American history, well preserved for education, and some great ideas to discuss over those late night campfires.
A full loop of the park is a nice ten mile road cycle with a mix of gradual hills and level open stretches. The area is very scenic with wide road shoulder and good visibility for cars. There are marked bike lanes throughout the park and the drivers in the area are used to yielding to cycles.
The old growth forest at Harmonie State Park is a thriving natural ecosystem. Spring and Fall at Harmonie see a tremendous variety of edible and medicinal mushrooms springing up. The main interest is Morel mushrooms in the Spring, but there are also Oyster, Turkey Tail, Chicken of the Woods, Chanterelles, Black Trumpets, Lion’s Mane, and Maitake as well. Call the State Park to find out when mushroom education is happening next.
The two ponds near the campgrounds are stocked with catfish, bluegill, and bass. The whole park borders the Wabash River and Rush Creek with a variety of bank fishing, wading, and boat launch options to catch a great variety sportfish. Stripped bass, white bass, blue catfish, crapie, and bluegill are all found in these waters. Check with Illinois DNR for regulations.
One of the most popular mountain biking areas in the region. Harmonie SP contains fifteen miles of exciting forest singletrack. There are trails for all experience levels and enough terrain variety to keep riders coming back over and over. The park is open year round, and mountain bikers are still found cutting through turns when the temps are in the single digits.
The Olympic-sized swimming pool with large water slide, toddler area, snack bar, and numerous covered picnic tables, will soon become your families' favorite summer destination. Lifeguards are always on duty when the pool is open, and the entry fee is a mere $3 each. The pool is located right in the middle of the campground.