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Calling all hikers!! Oh do we have a treat for you! The best hiking near Indianapolis, there are SO MANY places to choose from. Whether you want something with rocky terrain, or maybe a wooded area with some water, we’ve got a list to please it all. So check it out below to find the best hiking near Indianapolis!
Arranged distance from Indianapolis
Eagle Creek Park is the largest park in Indianapolis and probably one of our most favorite! It covers almost 5,000 acres of land and water! Eagle Creek Park is the perfect places to fish, boat, hike, and even canoe! It is so big that every time you visit, you could always take a new trail!
The top trail to take in Eagle Creek Park is the South Overlook Waterfowl Sanctuary Trail. It’s only about 2 1/2 miles long and takes about an hour or so but the views are spectacular! And best yet, you can bring your pups! Just don’t forget to clean up after them 🙂 Dog friendly parks= Best Hiking Near Indianapolis !!!
On our most recent trip to Eagle Creek we got to experience Go Ape Treetop Adventures! Go Ape is a series of ziplining and rope courses that take you through the tree tops! I don’t think Bryt and I have had this much fun in a while! We already cannot wait to go back and adventure again!
Town Run Trail Park is very well known for their population of bikers(not motorized). This park ranges to about 127-acres, and has about 9 miles worth of trails. Town Run Trail Park is a great spot for the avid mountain biker who lives in the not so mountainous state of Indiana. The trails are made of dirt and doesn’t mix well with inclement , so be sure to check the trails before hand!
Fun fact: The main trail in Town Run Trail Park leads up to terrain called Tetanus Hill, and for a solid reason. This hill is essentially made up of buried junk. Therefore if you are planning to visit, be sure your tetanus vaccinations are up to date! Or just bypass this hill, lol!
Holliday Park, small but mighty… has around 3.5 miles of trails and is wooded with some waterways. Not only does this park have beautiful waterways and plenty of trees, keep an eye out for some wildflowers and the various birds. Fun fact: Over 200 species of birds have been spotted in the park, as well as deer, fox, beaver, rabbits, squirrels and many other species that reside in this natural oasis. Even though the park isn’t too big, Holliday Park has so much character and lots of opportunities for the activities held in the park!
For the newbies or people who just wanna take it easy, Marott Park is the place for you. Marott park is an easy/intermediate hike, and is enjoyable for all! Another small but mighty park, stands at about eighty-seven acres. With the greetings of a luscious grassy meadow, to Williams Creek flowing through the park… kinda sounds like doggy heaven on earth! The nice cool down from hiking the trails and working up a sweat!
Lawrence Creek Nature Preserve is a loop type of trail, and a 4.5 mile hike. While it is a pretty moderate trail, reviews have shown that it can become pretty muddy. I guess the definition of a “good time” is subjective in the case of mud:)
The Lawrence Creek Nature Preserve is located in the Fort Harrison State Park. With that being said, there are some connecting trails– one of them being Schoen Creek Trail. Even though this isn’t the biggest hiking extravaganza on the list, make more of it! Plan a scavenger hunt for wild life or see how many different birds you come across! Make your own fun from it!
Fort Harrison State Park is a pretty versatile park, as it fun filled in all of Indiana’s crazy seasons!! In the winter, it is great for sledding because of their well known sledding hills. Then spring brings beautiful wildflowers and summer brings water sports like canoeing down Fall Creek! You can’t pass up the changing colors of the autumn leave in the fall either. Seriously, check this place out ASAP!
With the beautiful landscapes and exciting wildlife features comes an ample amount of history behind the creation of the park. Before the state park, these 1,700 acres were known as the military grounds for Camp Glenn. So while enjoying yourtime hiking, fishing, canoeing, or what may have you, check out the small museum of the 20th century warfare that is FILLED with so much history!
Vandalia Rail Trail truly lives up to its name, as it revolves around a railway named Vandalia. It spans more that 150 miles. Something nice about this trail is the multiple covered shelters the more you travel down the trail. This trail tends to not be super super busy all the time, and is great for hikers, little ones, and bikers. While on the trail, you may come across some pretty wildlife, as well as a tree lined path and typical Indiana birthmarks (corn fields). I think you could see why this is on our “Best Hiking Near Indianapolis” list!
Some other features about Vandalia Rail Trail is the creek that the trail crosses over. The creek is called Crittenden Creek. Another great part about this hiking trail is that there is a small section paved, which works well for wheelchairs, rollerblading, skateboards, scooters, and more! And to top it off, this trail goes right past the Splash Island Family Waterpark. I don’t know about you, but this trail seems to have it all… and we are allllll about it:)
Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve is home to a whopping 9 trails, adding up to about 127 acres. This Nature Preserve is very well known for the wildlife aspect and some birdwatching. This Preserve gives you the chance to get a glimpse of the Cheeney Creek, which is known as the creek trail. Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve is apart of the city of Fishers events and programs. *Ahem*National S’mores Day*Ahem*….
The city of Fishers and The Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve are huge advocates for preserving what they have built up. They have taken an oath to maintain the natural landscapes, and they have sure surpassed expectations and made a name for themselves!
Heritage Park at White River is a BEAUTIFUL park that presents so many opportunities for the people with cameras;) No really, Heritage Park is a place that has beautiful landscaping and trails through wooded lands. It also has the magnificent historical Ambassador House with the Heritage Gardens. The trails is used for hiking and biking. It is an extremely kid friendly hike, people of all ages enjoy Heritage Park! In the winter, it can get pretty epic with their big sledding hill and tons of room for snow angels and snowmen building. Don’t miss out!
Southeastway Park has about 2.5 miles of paved trails perfect for strolling through the peaceful forest. The trail has a few big turns and then becomes a big loop. Throughout the park are picnic sites and shelters. There are also building rentals available for people who are hosting larger occasions.
Follow the attached link to learn more about the all of the festivities the park holds. Some consist of maple syrup season(yummmmmmmm) or the beautiful fall hayrides. Take your pick!:)
Flat Fork Creek Park is actually the newest park in fishers and has SO MUCH to offer. The trails wind around ponds and the creek and all of through the wooded areas. While you can walk on the trails at your leisure, these trails tend to favor the bikers. With the ramps, turns, and technical features, the bikers should be allllllll over this bad boy.
A couple cool features about this park is that they have a huge sledding hill for all of the avid sledders who are ready to shred the gnar! The other cool feature is is thath this park has a few different tree houses throughout the wooded areas for people to explore and kids to use their imaginations with. Okay but honestly, is that not a childhood dream?!?
NEWWWWWW YORKKKKKK CIIII- wait…. CARMELLLLLLLLLL INDIANAAAAAAA!! You heard us right! Central Park! This Central Park may not be in the same Big Apple, but let us tell ya… that place is BOPPIN’! This place has so many fun activities you, your kiddos, and your doggos will have a blast with. From the splash pad, to the playground, to the paved trails, to the water park, and even a dog park! Central Park has it all! As for hiking, the trails in East Woods offer connecting trails to the Monon Greenway, making more than 3 miles of viable hiking grounds for all!
Cool Creek Nature Preserve offers a lot of opportunity for the athletes. While there is a nature trail, they also house basketball courts, soccer fields, bike trails, and play grounds. The park includes 4 miles of wooded trails, and part of those 4 miles is paved to favor the bikers and roller bladers. Check out this park while adventuring on all of the great trails Cool Creek Nature Preserve has to offer.
Geist Park is a pretty calm environment with typical park things todo. The Geist Reservoir runs through the park. Although you aren’t allowed to swim in the river, many people take the opportunity to kayak and canoe. This park has a beautiful nature trail that winds along the back of the park. There are many different habitats within this park. For example, there are wetlands, grassy meadows, greenspace, woodland areas, and a reservoir. Make sure when packing, to bring a trusty set of binoculars so you can spot all of the wildlife this park has to offer!
Macgregor Park is a 96-acre dog-friendly quiet nature park. The park has two shelters, wildflower prairies, native tree prairies, a rain garden, streams pollinator gardens, open fields, and wetlands that will soon be added, providing great habitat for birds, amphibians, deer, and other wildlife. Over 3 miles of aggregate paths for hiking and jogging are available throughout the park.
Three Lakes Trail isn’t just some made up name. It comes from the fact that the trail once went through 3 different lakes, starting with Cherry Lake, then Beanblossom Lake, and lastly Bryant Creek Lake. This trail is a long 10 mile stretch full of beautiful nature and plenty of opportunity to see some wildlife. It is known that in the spring, the flowers and trees that bloom which are typically few and far between to come by. Who would wanna miss that?! If you thought the other parks and trails above were big, wait till you hear this… Three Lakes Trail is a whole 24,000-acre property in the Morgan-Monroe State Forest. You may wanna pick up your jaw that you just dropped…
Beanblossom Bottoms has alot in common with Spongebob Squarepant’s Bikini Bottom… both underwater. This preserve is a wetland with many raised platforms to walk across while enjoying a peaceful hike. The park calls it their board walk! While the trail is only 2.5 miles long, the boardwalk is an option during the entire trail. This also means that the level of ruggedness is pretty easy because its mostly flat. Although, watch out for is the closed trails due to overflooding, or the slippery boardwalk due to the wetlands.
We LOVE Brown County State Park. It is the epitome of the best hiking near Indianapolis. While Brown County State Park ranges about 16,000 acres, the park is more than just the rolling hills, rugged terrain, and an extensive amount of history. The first thing we love about Brown County is the fact that there is family camping grounds available. With the campground comes a couple jungle gyms and playsets for the littles to play on. There is also the Abe Martin Lodge in the park that houses dining and conference facilities. And we have quite the secret for you. The Brown County Pancakes, absolutely ~immaculate~. You heard it here first:)
While there are many rigorous trails to experience, there are so many more things todo in Brown County rather than to just hike. The trails made for horseback riding… let me tell you it is TOTALLY worth it!!! From a photographers standpoint, we drool over the potential magic and beautiful pictures. 70 miles of horseback riding trails say whaaaaaaa?? The activities Brown County State Park offers are on their website , check it out for all the scoop! Also, if you need some inspiration on big life decisions, check our link too!
Over 200,000 acres, Hoosier National Forest takes our breath away EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. The trails do not disappoint. They are meant for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. The trail system is about 266 miles long with all the different types of terrain. Hoosier National Forest’s Longest trail seems to be 48.7 miles… Not sure what you are thinking but we are thinking this could take a couple times to conquer it allllll.
There are other recreational opportunities while visiting Hoosier National Forest. From camping and biking, to fishing and climbing, sight seeing and exploring through the wild flowers, and lastly just having a great time, Hoosier National Forest is a great place to seek opportunities for tons of fun!
Versailles State Park, Indiana’s second-largest state park is something you do NOT wanna miss! Rent a rowboat, kayak, or canoe to relax while fishing on the 230-acre lake. Take a walk on the hiking paths or a ride on the mountain bike routes to get a good exercise while admiring the park’s splendor. Bring your horses for a day of horseback riding on the more than 20 miles of trails. The dam’s steps to a beautiful overlook are a great place to see herons and other water animals. Enjoy the autumn season. And while you are enjoying your time at Versailles State Park, don’t forget about your daily history lesson near the statues and at the nature center!
Clifty Falls is well known to the native corn people(aka people from Indiana). This is on our list for the best hiking near Indianapolis because it is a moody state park, as the waterfalls throughout change with the weather and seasons. Sometimes they are roaring, other times they are just delicate. Either way, Clifty Falls has 10 different trails ranging from “easy” to “very rugged”. Some trails will flood or close due to the effect of waterfalls.
On the other hand, there are campsites and lodging at clifty falls for the hard core people:) Clifty Falls also offers a swimming pool, tennis courts, and some other activities.
The Indiana Dunes National Park is located at the very southern tip of Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes! The dunes make their way up to the eastern part of the coast, listing West Beach, Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk Beach, Porter Beach, Kemil Beach, Dunbar Beach, Lake View Beach, Central Avenue Beach, and Mount Baldy Beach. At all of these beaches, there are trails to hike which are mainly sand from the dunes. The iconic Dune at this National Park is located at main Indiana Dunes location. That dune will have you rolling with a mouth full of sand– trust me, tried and true:)
Some hiking trails consist of the Great Marsh, Cowles Bog, Dune Ridge, Tolleston Dunes, and many others. Then there are separate trails that offer horseback riding and mountain biking. Check out the link attached above to learn all about the Indiana Dunes National Park!
We hope you found the perfect spot to lace up your hiking boots and test your love for nature on our list of the Best Hiking Near Indianapolis!! If you want to document your love for hiking with your lover, reach out to us today! We’d love to capture your memories!