Hawthorn Park has long been my favorite park in Terre Haute. I’ve ran laps around the lake preparing for the Indy Mini Marathon. I’ve backpacked the trails practicing for longer trips. The wife and I have enjoyed kayaking the smaller lake. There are a couple different playgrounds for kids (and they love them). The labyrinth is a relaxing meditative change from hiking the hills.
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Residing on Terre Haute’s east side north of Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, Hawthorn Park sits on nearly 257 acres. That includes 68 acres of water to fish, kayak, or watch geese. There’s so many geese, in fact, that Hawthorn Park is home to the annual Goose Poop 5k race.
Hawthorn Park was purchased in 1980 with additional property added in 1985. A levee was constructed in 1984 to form a lake in the JI Case Wetland Wildlife Refuge portion of the park. While the lake was formed for migratory birds, its also an excellent fishing spot that’s stocked annually.
If bird watching is more your thing, an observation shelter overlooks the lake just a short walk from a parking lot. We spotted a couple dozen turtles sunbathing on logs.