Length: 9.8 miles / Surface: paved / Locations: Indianapolis (Irvington), Cumberland, Greenfield / Part of: National Road Heritage Trail / Total proposed system length: 150 miles
An updated railroad bridge over Buck Creek in Cumberland highlights the trail’s historic role as a transportation corridor and the natural beauty of the surrounding wetlands.
SPACE TO ROAM
A Solar System Model installation along Cumberland’s section has signs representing the sun and eight planets, situated in order relative to the bodies’ distances apart in space. The signs are easier to spot traveling from east to west.
Solitude seekers should try the more lightly used sections in Cumberland and east and west of Greenfield’s city center.
Trail users in both Greenfield and Indy can enjoy the The Mug’s refined take on classic drive-in grub without leaving their hometowns, thanks to the eatery’s recent opening of a second location in Irvington.
2.5 miles of rollerblading = one pork tenderloin sandwich and root beer float (1,500 calories) from The Mug
A few blocks from the trail in downtown Greenfield, underrated Wooden Bear Brewing Company pours refreshing Raspberry Maize Runner fruited cream ale. In Irvington, Black Acre Brewing Company ranks among Indy’s best craft beer makers.
MIND THE GAPS
Land acquisition is currently underway to connect the Irvington and Cumberland sections; asphalt could start hitting the ground as early as next year. For cyclists, the roughly 5-mile ride from Cumberland to the Greenfield trailhead is not terribly difficult, but requires safe navigation. Less-perilous routes on county roads 100 S and 200 S parallel U.S. 40 to the south.
Crossed by the Greenfield section, Brandywine Creek is thought to have been the inspiration for the James Whitcomb Riley poem “The Old Swimmin’ Hole.”
“Once the connection is made to the east, bike commuting to downtown Indianapolis from Greenfield and Cumberland will increase,” says Scott Irons, owner of Indy Cycle Specialist. “It’ll also be a boon to Irvington, as riders explore our shops, restaurants, breweries, and the beautiful neighborhood.”
This article is part of “Hot on the Trails,” IM’s road-free guide to exploring Central Indiana.