Hot On The Trails: Plainfield’s White Lick Creek Trail

At the center of Hendricks County’s versatile, interconnected greenway system, White Lick Creek Trail can accommodate runners seeking variety in length and routes. A number of parks and landmarks provide pleasant resting places, and joggers might be tempted to slow their pace in order to absorb the small-town attractions—and carb-rich treats—along the way.
White Lick Creek Trail


Length: 3.5 miles / Surface: paved / Location: Plainfield / Connects to: Vandalia Trail, Clark’s Creek Trail, Hummel Park Loops, Sugar Grove Trail, Recreation Center Loop Trail / Total trail system length: 15.5 miles

The trail is accessible by ample free parking areas, so put some thought into choosing where to station your wheels. The Friendship Gardens at South Center Street and Stafford Road, for example, are a great picnic spot.

From June 6 to August 9, a Summer Fun Run race series hosts free, noncompetitive jaunts at a different Hendricks County park every Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m. Runners can time themselves on designated 1-mile or 5-kilometer courses. Two dates correspond with White Lick Creek Trail landmarks: Hummel Park (June 28) and the Al & Jan Barker Sports Complex (July 5). Complete eight of the 10 runs and receive a commemorative T-shirt.

Beware overzealous squirrels darting across the path in heavily wooded Hummel Park: Runners have reported being followed and even getting nipped on the ankle(!).

You’ll find some of the system’s most shaded portions just west of the recreation center on the Vandalia Trail, or just south of there on a curvy section of the White Lick Creek Trail protected by canopy. The leg of the trail that parallels Center Street, on the other hand, offers minimal coverage, so load up on SPF and wear a hat.

An $11 day pass gives you access to the Richard A. Carlucci Recreation and Aquatic Center’s lap pool, as well as its weight-lifting equipment, indoor basketball courts, and 0.1-mile indoor track. The facility also offers Zumba, yoga, and martial-arts classes. A separate admission fee gets you into Splash Island outdoor water park and its lazy river and six-lane lap pool.

All Plainfield trails are canine-friendly, and there is a registration-required Bark Park at Swinford Park. On September 9 and 10, Splash Island throws a Puppy Pool Party ($10), allowing dogs to swim restraint-free. You can check the website for designated times based on your pet’s weight, and make sure their meds are up to date.

The Plainfield–Guilford Township public library has placed several Little Free Library boxes around the town’s trail system. Users can donate unwanted books or pick up a title to peruse while resting trail-weary feet.

In Plainfield’s idyllic town center, historic Oasis Diner retained its old-school aesthetic after a 4-mile move from the east side of town in 2010. Trail users can pop over to the postcard-perfect greasy spoon for “Kansas City–Loaded” biscuits and gravy, or handcrafted soda.

Runners looking forward to a post-workout reward tuck a few dollars in their waistbands for a stop at cash-only Al’s Donuts near the trailhead. And they know to get there early—way early: It’s open from 2:30 to 9 a.m., and usually runs out of product well before closing time.

Of course, runners looking for a more grown-up reward might instead hit Brew Link Brewing for a pint in the sunny tasting room.

Mini-Marathoner Vince Rightley, 51, lives in Brownsburg but drives to Plainfield for distance runs. “When you’re doing a longer run, it gets boring running the same loop over and over,” says Rightley, who uses the trail a few times a week. “There is no traffic. You can get away from everything except the trees. I can get 10 miles in without worrying about cars.”

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