Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Indiana’s Stonehenge

Browning Mountain, which rises majestically over the ghost town of Elkinsville, Indiana, holds one of the biggest mysteries in the forests of Southern Indiana. Atop Browning Mountain (it’s actually Browning Hill, but the locals call it mountain so I will as well) are a group of giant box-shaped rocks, some as big as a car. Most of the giant slabs of stone are strewn somewhat randomly, but others are arranged in a circle leading to speculation that this was an ancient sacred meeting place for Native Americans.

There are so many legends about what some people call Indiana’s Stonehenge that it’s become a popular hiking destination in spite of being in a remote and somewhat hard to reach area of the southern Brown County.

Here are some of the legends of Browning Mountain’s giant stones:

n   These are limestone slabs not native to the area and somehow these huge slabs of rock, which  must weigh many tons, were brought up by ancient peoples from where the limestone is found nearly 90 miles away.
n   The stones are an ancient outdoor temple built atop the mountain.
n   Early settlers attempted to quarry the stone, but the quarrying was plagued by accidents, workers were killed and equipment broke down leading to belief by settlers that the mountain and the stones were protected by an Indian spirit watcher and further attempts to quarry the stone were abandoned.
n   Certain stones are laid out to line up perfectly to earth’s equinox.
n   Native American groups to this day meet on Browning Mountain for ceremonial services.
n   A group of scientist from South America came to the site to try to understand how the stones got to the top of the mountain and went away with more questions than answers.

Adding to the mystery are a few small ponds near the site of the giant stones.

If you’d like to visit Browning Mountain and Indiana’s Stonehenge bring your hiking boots, and some water and perhaps energy bars. It’s a steep and fairly long hike to the top of the mountain, which stands at 920 feet.

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Stones arranged in a circle to form an outdoor ceremonial area.

Some of the giant slabs of rocks that make up Indiana’s Stonehenge
atop the legendary Browning Mountain.


  1. Hi Larry, I work at Indianapolis Monthly, and was wondering if we could use some of your Indiana's Stonehenge pictures that you used in here for our issue that highlights spots in brown county. Hope to hear from you soon!

  2. Today I called the owner of Browning Mountain which is the Hoosier National Forest. I learned that nearby Indiana University had sent archaeologists to Browning Hill and determined that the stone is from this area and that it is not a native American site. I was also told that there are a dozen historic sites in the area, but Browning Hill is not one of them.

    If you would like a quiet, scenic, rugged hike to an abandoned stone quarry in a beautiful part of the state then the Browning Mountain trail is ideal.

    1. Do you think these stones moved here on there own?