Stretch Your Legs on These Pretty Indy Trails

Before you hit a longer trek, get warmed up where the sidewalk ends.

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Southwestway Park
This southwestside park overlooking White River features several miles of mountain-biking trails, including a tight, white-knuckle downhill. The curved, banked turns and jumps on Big Fire also thrill. 8400 S. Mann Rd., 317-888-0070

Town Run Trail Park
The granddaddy of Indy trails, Town Run features nearly seven miles of twisty singletrack near The Fashion Mall. Most consider this wide-open trail, with its mostly gentle grades, to be an easier path—a great way to build skills for more technical Hoosier trails. Keep an eye out for the frequent (but very well-marked) jumps and drops. The middle third of the trail takes you through a flat meadow, allowing you time to recover. 5325 E. 96th St., 317-964-9184

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HIKING

Starkey Nature Park
Nestled within a Zionsville neighborhood, quiet and serene Starkey Nature Park practically defines “hidden gem.” Steep, packed-earth trails lead you to the flowing waters of Eagle Creek, and grassy paths traverse hip-high wildflowers. A set of wooden ramps connects hikers to the three-and-a-half mile Zionsville Rail Trail. 667 Sugarbush Dr., Zionsville, 317-733-2273

Eagle Creek Park
Deer sightings are almost a given at Indy’s largest city park. The northwestside enclave’s miles of color-coded trails wind through woods and meadows (follow the signs of your chosen color to avoid any confusion). Or detour down the Edesess Trail near the Ornithology Center for picturesque water and bird views high above the reservoir. $5 per car for Marion County residents; $6 for out-of-county visitors. 7840 W. 56th St., 317-327-7110

Southeastway Park
Stick to the winding, paved walking trail that leads you beside woods and a pond, and you’ll have logged more than two miles in this peaceful retreat. Veer off into the forest to enjoy a maze of connected trails, a portion of which parallels Buck Creek. 5624 S. Carroll Rd., New Palestine, 317-327-4834

 

Fort Harrison State Park (Photo courtesy IDNR/Outdoor Indiana magazine
Fort Harrison State Park (Photo courtesy IDNR/Outdoor Indiana magazine

FORT BEN TWO WAYS
Fort Harrison State Park proves fun for those on foot or wheel. $5. 6000 N. Post Rd., 317-591-0904

Biking
The affectionately nicknamed Fort Ben features a beginner trail and two pieces of more-advanced singletrack. Schoen Creek Trail travels along a wetland before heading upward, hugging the hillside and giving riders a precipitous view of the dogwood-filled ravine below. Morning rides are ideal for catching a glimpse of deer or the occasional owl.

Hiking
With 1,700 acres, there’s a lot of ground to cover here. We recommend Fall Creek Trail, a path that snakes alongside its namesake waterway and uphill to an observation deck, or the paved—but not flat!—Harrison Trace Trail, a 2.75-mile route lined with woods, wildflowers, and scenic views of Delaware Lake.

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