Bonneyville Mill is a public nature reserve that offers a number of fun family activities. Hiking and fishing are the main attractions, along with sledding in the winter. There are also several picnic areas. The park straddles the picturesque Little Elkhart River.
The most unique feature of Bonneyville Mill County Park is the oldest continuously-operating grist mill in the state of Indiana. Located almost exactly in the center of the park, the mill was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
If you’re going to see the mill, the best thing to do is to check the park’s website for a guided tour. It’s a working mill, so the inside of the building is typically closed to the public when there’s no tour going on. But there are plenty of other activities to keep you occupied. There’s a total of 5 miles of hiking trails, which are essentially three loops with a longer trail connecting them from north to south. In the middle, a series of bridges provide ample space for fishing. Just beware of the river and the pond in the summer time; the mosquitos can get pretty heavy.
The park is free to visit. However, the picnic shelters can be rented for a fee. Most days, this won’t be an issue, but it’s best to call ahead to check for availability. Otherwise, you might find yourself getting booted to make room for a paying group. There are five shelters in total, so even if one or two are rented out, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have somewhere to sit down.
In addition to hiking and fishing, Bonneyville Mill County Park also has a pair of sledding hills that are open to the public. Obviously, this depends on the weather. In summer, these shallow hills are great for throwing a Frisbee, flying a kite, or just enjoying some time out in the sun.
Whether you enjoy fishing, hiking, bird watching, or just a quiet family picnic, Bonneyville Mill County Park has a little something to offer everybody. It’s particularly beautiful in the fall and spring, when seasonal flowers are in bloom. That said, there’s always something to do, no matter what the time of year.
Where Is It?
From the Indiana Toll Road, take State Route 15 South to the town of Bristol. From there, take a left on State Route 120/E Vistula Street, and follow that road for about 2 ½ miles, then take a right on County Route 131; that route will take you through the park, where there are several parking areas.
Bonneyville Mill County Park
Co Rd 131, Bristol, IN 46507, United States
(Plus Code: P69M+PX Bristol, Indiana, United States)