Hot On The Trails: Indy’s Fall Creek Trail

Two tires might be better than four if you live on the northeast side, work downtown, and face a frustrating commute. The Fall Creek Trail meanders alongside its namesake waterway from Geist Reservoir, across the Monon near 33rd Street, and on to downtown. Savvy cyclists beat State Fair traffic in August and peep the changing leaves at Fort Harrison State Park in the fall. Hard stops rarely interrupt the wide, paved path, popular with serious riders doing time trials, families out for joyrides, and pedestrians, too.
Big-4 Rail Trail
Length: 6.9 miles / Surfaces: paved, crushed stone / Location: Indianapolis / Connects to: Monon Trail

Ease a stressful commute from the far-northeastern suburbs by pulling into the parking lot off of Fall Creek Road, just west of the I-465 overpass, and biking in from there. Or you can try the lot along Fall Creek Parkway less than a mile south, but spots are limited, so don’t hit snooze if you want to ride.

Portions of the trail from 56th to 38th streets flood, but maybe not for long: The stretch is under design to reduce the risk. And bike commuters crossing 38th Street should watch out for drivers making illegal left turns.

South of Fall Creek Parkway, the siren smell of King Ribs Bar-B-Q tempts commuters off the trail on the evening commute. 4130 N. Keystone Ave.

Indy hired George Kessler in 1908 to create a system of regional and neighborhood parks connected by parkways or recreational corridors—paving the way for the inner-city portion of the Fall Creek Trail.

FEEL THE CALORIE BURN Lincoln Square Pancake House’s Pancake Platter: two flapjacks topped with cinnamon-whipped butter, two strips of bacon, two sausage links, and two eggs any style.

An hour and a half of cycling = one Pancake Platter (995 calories) at Lincoln Square Pancake House.

Skiles Test Nature Park and a parking lot off of Allisonville Road have canoe and kayak launches on Fall Creek.

Just opened at 46th and Keystone, Black Circle Brewing Co. is partnering with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful on a garden and green space by the brewery.

“I wish I could show my friends how cool this ride is,” says downtown attorney and bike commuter Jay Church. “The entire length is in the city, but offers a quiet, natural experience. Traffic moves fast on Fall Creek Parkway, but otherwise you wouldn’t know you’re in a dense urban environment.”

This article is part of “Hot on the Trails,” IM’s road-free guide to exploring Central Indiana. Additional reporting by Claire Brumback