Hot On the Trails: Indy’s Town Run Trail Park

If your ideal trail includes jump lines and wall rides, Town Run is the place to go. With nearly 7 miles of packed-dirt paths, the 127-acre northside park straddling I-465 is a haven for mountain bikers (it’s maintained by the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association in partnership with Indy Parks). Beginners are welcome: All the gnarly stuff is labeled, so you can go around obstacles if you want. The entrance off of 96th Street east of Hazel Dell Parkway is not highly visible, so keep your eyes peeled.
Length: 6.6 miles / Surface: dirt / Location: Indianapolis

Mountain bikers can damage rain-soaked trails. As keepers of Town Run, HMBA volunteers monitor trail conditions to let you know when it’s safe to ride. Visit their website for updates.

Near the end of the loop is Tetanus Hill, a steep climb up a narrow technical trail almost entirely comprised of half-buried car parts, sheet metal, and debris. You could bypass it, but why would you?

Town Run is ostensibly for mountain bikers, but trail runners love it, too. If you are on foot, though, proceed with caution: Bikers have the right of way, so step off the trail when one is coming up behind you, and always stick to the clockwise direction of traffic. If you’re on a bike and come up on a pedestrian or slower rider, call out loudly so they know you need to pass.

With just a rustic changing stall and a couple of picnic tables, Town Run’s amenities are primitive. But it’s smack dab in the middle of Castleton retail heaven. You can grab spare tubes, CO2 cartridges, and energy bars at the nearby REI.

Breakfast at nearby A2Z Café runs the gamut from hearty (Tater Tot Scramble with eggs, bacon, ham, and shredded cheese in a skillet topped with sausage gravy) to light (strawberry-banana or mixed-berry smoothie).

Redemption Alewerks is a mile-plus east of the entrance. About a mile west of the entrance, Scotty’s Brewhouse has an extensive draft beer list and a massive, crowd-pleasing menu. If you have mountain-biking young ones in tow, they’ll probably enjoy a milkshake with something off the kids’ menu.

Trek women’s advocate Kate Nolan has ridden Town Run for 20 years. “It’s very flowy. There are lots of short step-ups and -downs, and I love the drops,” she says. “It has plenty of terrain changes, from hilly and windy to dirt berms in the prairie.” In June, she leads free women’s rides at the park on Tuesdays at 6 p.m.

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