Strawtown Koteewi Park

This fall, my son and I continued to explore Indiana, but my reporting of it slacked off. I’ve been correcting that recently, and today I focus on Strawtown Koteewi Park.

Strawtown Koteewi Park is just off IN-37 north of Noblesville in a oxbow of the White River. The 750 acre site has been occupied continuously for 600-1000 years, and over the last 20 years archaeologists have made significant discoveries: post-holes, fire pits, arrowheads, and pottery.

Horse riding on the crushed stone trails.

Many of the finds are displayed in the Taylor Center of Natural History, the staffed visitors’ center for the park. The center features “an archaeological laboratory, a curation room, exhibit area, and a classroom.” The center’s exhibitions are worth a look, and the staff is friendly and enjoys talking about their collections.

The trails, particularly along the river, are designed for hikers, runners, cyclists, and equestrian. Our family first visited this summer when trail-runners were the norm. On this particular trip in October, there were a half dozen horses and riders on the trails.

Initially the day was overcast, chill and blustery, and we bundled up to keep out the cold. As we hiked the trails the wind eased, the sun came out, and the temperature increased to the point that we were stripping off our jackets.

Late season butterfly.

The park isn’t the wildest park you’ll find. Much of the park is prairie reclaimed from farm fields, and the center of the oxbow is still under cultivation. I presume the fees defray the cost of the park. However, trails are first rate and accessible, the visitor’s center is excellent, and a boat launch provides access to the picturesque White River. Strawtown Koteewi is worth a look if you’re in the area, worth an extended visit if you’re a trail runner, cyclist, or equestrian, and worth a drive if natural history and pre-history are your thing.

Rudbeckias near the Taylor Center of Natural History.


The White River moves slowly around the oxbow.






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