By Gabby Davis
Indiana has dozens of beautiful state parks to visit, but the one that should be on the top of your list is Potato Creek State Park in northern North Liberty, Indiana. Just 12 miles southwest of South Bend, the park has a wide variety of activities and facilities that let visitors enjoy it year-round. Here’s how to make the most out of your time at Potato Creek State Park.
Situated in north-central Indiana, this park covers 3,840 acres of land. Potato Creek has a 327-acre lake known as Worster Lake, mature woodlands, restored prairies, and diverse wetlands which offer exceptional opportunities for plant and wildlife observations. In the park, visitors will find mountain biking trails, hiking trails, a nature center, picnicking areas, a camp store, and even cultural arts programs. Potato Creek is made up of a diverse ecosystem, and much of Earth’s natural processes are responsible for how the park looks. The park’s landscape was created by glacier erosion. Because of the different soil found within the state park, it has a variety of flowering plants. It is made up of a prairie ecosystem, including wetlands, grasslands, and savanna. Visitors will also find a variety of swamps, marshes, bogs, and lakes.
This beautiful park has some of the best hiking trails in northern Indiana. Trail 3 is recommended because it travels along a ridge which overlooks the gorgeous Worster Lake before traveling through the Beech Maple Forest. In the fall, this is the best hiking trail to see the changing of the leaves. After Beech Maple Forest, the trail leads down to the lake’s observation deck, where visitors can relax and enjoy the view of the water. In the spring, this trail is abundant with colorful spring wildflowers.
Potato Creek State Park has an abundance of campsites to choose from. Whether you prefer traditional camping or sleeping in a cabin, there is a campsite for everyone. The best camping spot is on the back side of the campground, which gives visitors the optimal view of the lake. Any site in the 100s is where you will want to be for the view of the sparkling 327-acre Worster Lake. There is also a camping store near the front entrance of the park to pick up last minute supplies and snacks!
There are two restaurants that one must see when visiting Potato Creek State Park. First up: Doodle Grub, a delicious burger joint off Highway 4 in downtown North Liberty. It’s a family-friendly establishment with a small-town feel. Highly recommended is the macaroni and cheese with bacon, as well as the ice cream. Another great restaurant to check out is the Over the Top Bakery Café, serving up some of the most delicious baked goods. Each treat is handmade and scrumptious. Highly recommended is the freshly-baked apple dumplings!
The best historical attraction close to Potato Creek State Park is the University of Notre Dame. The university was founded on November 26, 1842. It’s an independent, national Catholic university. It’s most notable structure is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. With its neo-gothic style, it has the 44 stained glass windows and murals, and the tower is 218 feet-tall. It’s the tallest university chapel in the U.S. Because of its historical significance, it is also on the National Register of Historical Places. The rest of the buildings and structures were designed with Greek and Roman influences.