Looking to enjoy nature while keeping your social distance? Hit the wilderness trails in Indiana’s state forests

Here’s a look at five trails where you can avoid the crowds and find beautiful spring wildflowers!

INDIANAPOLIS (April 15, 2020)–With most Hoosiers cooped up in their homes to avoid the coronavirus, the search is on to find ways to get outside and enjoy nature without running into hordes of other humans.

The often-crowded Monon Trail, with its packs of runners and cyclists in Indianapolis, makes it difficult to keep your social distance. Indiana’s state parks also are seeing more than their fair share of traffic. Hiking trails in Indiana’s state forests, however, offer plenty of wide open spaces. SpringEphemeral.

“Hiking on these wilderness trails this time of year offers endless possibilities to see all kinds of beautiful wildflowers, towering trees, and wonderful vistas, from the Three Falls Trail in the north to the Adventure Trail in the deep south,” said Jeff Stant, executive director of the Indiana Forest Alliance. “You’ll find waterfalls, rocky bluffs, and natural wonders that many Hoosiers don’t even know exist.”

These five state forest hiking trails will allow you to enjoy Indiana’s great outdoors while staying a safe distance away from other Hoosiers.

Northern Indiana

Three Falls Trail, Salamonie River State Forest: As the name suggests, this 1.75 mile-trail about 40 miles southwest of Fort Wayne takes you to three waterfalls amid hanging rock. At one point, you can look out over the two side-by-side waterfalls that head a box canyon, which is lined on both sides with large-flower trillium, hepatica, and columbine. You can also take the trail from the canyon mouth to the Salamonie River where you can watch for eagles, great blue heron, and river otters.

More information: www.upperwabash.net/.

Southern Indiana

Poplar Top Trail, Owen-Putnam State Forest: Sixty miles southwest of Indianapolis, this 1.5-mile loop trail offers views of three ponds and a seasonal waterfall in what are some of the best hardwood forests in the nation. Enter the trail at 2153 Fish Creek Road in Spencer.

More information: www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/files/fo-owenputnammap.pdf

Adventure Trail, Harrison-Crawford State Forest:  The full 23-mile loop trail near Corydon is intended for serious outdoor enthusiasts, but well-marked day hikes on portions of the trail are suited for more casual hikers willing to traverse one to three miles of drops and climbs. Portions of the trail offer tromping along the Blue River, the crossing of the Old Iron Bridge, and stunning views overlooking the Ohio River.
More information: www.hikingproject.com/trail/7038685/the-adventure-hiking-trail-loop

Knobstone Trail, Clark State Forest and Jackson-Washington State Forest: This 60-mile trail is for serious backpackers and is considered by some to be rugged and difficult due to its many steep climbs and descents. The trail runs from Deam Lake, just north of State Road 60 in Clark County, to Delaney Park, just east of State Road 135 in Washington County. It runs along high ridges, offering great views of wooded valleys, farmlands, and occasional flashes of downtown Louisville and the Ohio River 20 miles away.

More information: www.hoosierhikerscouncil.org/knobstone-trail/

Tecumseh Trail, Yellowwood and Morgan-Monroe State Forests: A gentler brother of the Knobstone Trail, this 42-mile trek also is for serious outdoor enthusiasts. Five trailheads offer entry, but many hikers start at the Morgan-Monroe State Forest office about five miles south of Martinsville. The trail crosses many streams and hollows, offers great views of Yellowwood Lake, and provides close encounters with a variety of spring ephemeral wildflowers.

More information: www.hoosierhikerscouncil.org/tecumseh-trail/