Indiana’s highs and lows

How many people can say they’ve stood on top of Indiana?

Indiana is stereotypically known as a flat, boring state with no scenic views to offer.  Despite that, our overall terrain is really quite unique.  Though the central and northern parts of the state are indeed flat, thanks to seemingly endless corn and soybean fields, southern Indiana is vastly different in terms of terrain and elevation.

Most people don’t know that the highest point of elevation in Indiana is actually located in the middle of a cornfield in what is considered to be one of the flatter parts of the state.

Hoosier Hill is the highest point of elevation in Indiana at 1,257 feet. It is located 11 miles north of Richmond, which is a straight shot east of Indianapolis and close to the Ohio border.

Hoosier Hill is located within a small wooded section of a cornfield, and is entirely unassuming to anyone who does not know it is there.  It had no official marker or designation until 2005, when an Eagle Scout teamed up with the property owner to build a small trail, signage marker, and picnic area.  Unfortunately, upon officially marking the location, signs touting “the Highest point of elevation in Indiana” were repeatedly stolen.  This was rectified in 2016 with the placement of a medium-sized boulder that was engraved with the designation.

Though being the official “high point” of Indiana, Hoosier Hill sits only 30 feet higher than the immediate surrounding area.  Because of its location, that entire portion of the state sits anywhere from 1,000 to 1,200 feet above sea level, though that does not feel or look to be the case given that the area is flat cornfields.  This is due to the entire area being the result of glacial debris from hundreds of thousands of years ago that carved out the terrain of the entire Midwest.

Brown County is often assumed to feature the highest points of elevation in the state due to multiple peaks and valleys, with some elevations reaching as high as 1,000 feet. Yet no matter the height of any hill/lookout located within Brown County, none are as high as Hoosier Hill due to the geographical slope Indiana takes as you travel west and south across the state.

This slope is what brings us to the lowest point of elevation in Indiana: the banks of the Ohio River in the far southwestern tip of the state.  The specific location is nothing more than a GPS location, where the states of Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois all meet.  At that precise point, the Ohio River and the Wabash River join.

Though I have not set foot on Indiana’s lowest point of elevation, I have visited Hoosier Hill and staked my claim at standing on top of Indiana.

From Richmond, I headed north on Indiana State Road 22.  After driving through the small towns of Middleboro, Whitewater, and Bethel, I turned left (west) onto county road 1100, then left again (south) on Elliot Road. Hoosier Hill is located to the right of the road.  There is a small gravel driveway with an equally small parking lot.

I got out of the car, walked the little trail into the woods, and there was the boulder marking the spot.  There were a few others doing the same thing, and I patiently waited my turn to stand on the exact spot, then took a picture of the boulder as proof that I had been there.

One of these days, I’ll venture to the farthest southwestern part of the state so that I can say I’ve also stood at the Indiana’s lowest point of elevation.  But who knows when that will be.

But back to Hoosier Hill. It’s an odd feeling standing in what is a cornfield and being able to say you are at a point above all others in the state. It’s also pretty cool.  It’s just another example of how unique Indiana is thanks to the glacial mapping that formed our entire terrain so many years ago.