Indiana Trails: Adena Trace’s Hideaway Cove
As the hills rise toward Ohio, this loop of trails at Brookville Lake proves its secluded treasures are worth the hunt.
Rhonda, a kindly Brookville Lake clerk in DNR khakis, assured me any span along the Adena Trace Loop—a 25-mile ring of trails around the reservoir, just west of the Ohio border—would be gorgeous come October, when the leaves would ignite with crimson and ochre. But—she tapped the map where the offshoot Midway Trail bisected the untamed Wolf Creek Trail at a series of tiny finger coves—this was her favorite spot. So I drove around the dam to Brookville’s western shore, through a residential neighborhood with tidy lawns that belied the wild I was about to enter at the road’s dead end.
A narrow lane no wider than a smile wound through the forest, a route originally cut by Rhonda’s husband, in fact; she had helped him paint white diamonds on the trees to mark the way. The trail proved more of a ramble than a hike, past thickets of wildflowers, along ridges that sloped into shallow ravines, under mature oaks and maples reaching for the sky. Little broke up the serenity until, around a bend, a tawny doe loomed on the path; startled, I yelped, and she bounded away in a blink.
Thirty minutes in, I reached a clearing, and the overlook Rhonda promised delivered: A gorgeous panorama of the eastern shore opened before me, which I drank in from a wide bench Rhonda’s husband had hauled here for resting—“Alvey’s Point,” bearing their last name, wood-burned into its side.
Just a few minutes south along Wolf Creek—at 16.5 miles, Adena’s longest, most rugged stretch—I reached the first hideaway cove, a lovely, hushed crook in the lake skirted by a clearing, perfect for a picnic. A stone pit with a teepee of firewood awaited, only needing a struck match. Camping isn’t technically legal on this side of the lake, but the thought of falling asleep to the water lapping against the rocks tempts anyway.
» Getting There Take I-74 E to S.R. 244 E, right on U.S. 52 E, left on Main St. in Brookville, a quick left on Reservoir Rd., and then right on Keeler Rd. until it dead-ends. in.gov/dnr/parklake/2961.htm