Some Of The Best Walking Trails To Hit This Spring

Three greenways offer the most pleasing springtime nature jaunts to boost your health.
Photography by Tony Valainis

SPENDING WEEKS cooped up inside in the bleak winter months can take a toll, both mentally and physically. As spring ramps up, walking is a great way to restore health and relieve stress. According to Laura Graefnitz, owner of Lifetime Wellness in Zionsville, walking reduces risk of heart attack and stroke, improves high blood pressure and high cholesterol, strengthens muscles and bones, and reduces overall body fat. Walking also increases dopamine levels, which can alleviate depression and anxiety symptoms, and improves sleep patterns, mood, brainpower, and alertness.

Getting outdoors with family and friends offers health perks, agrees Zionsville-based health coach Dawn Parker. “Walking in nature brings the benefits of using all of your senses to experience life. The smell of the trees and clean air, the sound of birds and rustling leaves, and the beauty of the flowers and greenery,” she says.

Photo courtesy Camille Graves

Looking for local trails to ease into spring at your own leisurely pace? Running roughly 11 miles from Riverside to the Fort Ben border, the Fall Creek Trail is notable for its picturesque views of both nature and historic man-made structures. Redbuds and wildlife, including blue herons, can be spotted in spring against the backdrop of attractive old homes and bridges.

The Vandalia Trail, composed of two separate segments spanning Hendricks and Putnam counties from Plainfield to Greencastle, goes through idyllic woods, farmland, and suburban neighborhoods. Overhanging trees and spring wildflowers hug the trail in many sections, making it perfect for birding and spotting butterflies.

In spring, it’s hard to beat downtown’s White River Promenade, a quiet passage tucked between the river and the zoo, flanked by stacked limestone blocks and bookended by wrought iron gates. Magnolia, redbud, and cherry blossom trees burst into full bloom along the path, the latter of which also blanket the slopes of the riverbank to the immediate south.