There are many websites and resources in Bloomington's Wells Library and Government Information, Maps and Microform Services (ET2) that provide map guides and other information about hiking opportunities near IU campus. This page lists some of these within an hour's drive from Bloomington. For an updated copy of the display found at ET2 Spring 2009 showing the hiking locations on a map, download http://bl-libg-doghill.ads.iu.edu/gm-web/localtrails2013.pdf
Note: While you are doing your own online searching, if a link to an in.gov page is missing, do a search within the site. The pages get moved around and are usually still there but with a different address.
General Books and Resources
- Roadside Geology of Indiana. by Mark J. Camp. Missoula, Mt.: Mountain Press, 1999.
Hiking Indiana by Sally McKinney
Also available as an electronic resource with a valid log-in through IUCAT.
Nature walks in southern Indiana by Alan McPherson.
Indiana Hiking Guide by Indiana's Department of Natural Resources
Discovering a Sense of Place: The Special Stories and Features of Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs for teachers, students and families. Indiana DNR Interpretive Services.
This PDF is a very helpful guide with brief histories and other interesting facts about Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs are provided by the park interpreters, who are available to give guided tours.
Local Hikes: Bloomington, IN.
This site mentions a few trails and areas, many which are located further out of town than those included here, but there are some invaluable tips given by those who have hiked or maintained the trails.
- Brochures with maps including trails in many of the areas listed below can be found in under the call number G4092 in ET2 Indiana Collection.
Groups and events
Hoosier Hikers Council
This council builds and repairs trails throughout the state. They welcome volunteers for their monthly trail work days. Their website contains information about the trails they maintain (including Knobstone and Tecumseh Trails) and events such as trail running competitions. One page lists hiking groups.
This is an open group that meets every Saturday for a day hike. The website provides information about where the next hike will be and where to meet.
Indianapolis Hiking Club
This is a very active group with members of all ages over 18. Their calendar lists many hikes everyday, mostly in Indianapolis area but frequently in other parts of the state.
The Indiana Outfitters has a great website that should not be overlooked, containing information about some places.
The Bloomington Geocachers meet once a month to go geocaching and on hikes. Everyone is invited to participate in this group-based GPS scavenger hunt in the woods. Fun for the whole family.
Geochaching Club at IU
The Geocaching Club at IU holds monthly outings for IU students to geocache in the area. Sometimes on campus, but often hiking in the woods, this is a fun activity that student hiking enthusiasts will enjoy.
IU Outdoor Adventures
"IUOA is an outdoor recreation program that serves the Bloomington campus and surrounding community."
In or close to Bloomington
Clear Creek and Bloomington RailTrails
These two trails intersect with one another; the Clear Creek Trail is 2.4 miles and paved, and the Rail Trail is 3 miles and gravel.
Leonard Springs Nature Park
Two short trails (1.1 miles and 0.3 miles) are found at this park.
Cedar Bluff Nature Preserve
One one-mile trail.
Griffy Woods Preserve (Indiana University)
5 trails with 4 miles
Griffy Lake Nature Preserve
4 trails with total of 2.8 miles
Historic Walking Tours
While these are not strictly hiking trails, they are a great opportunity to explore the city's historical architecture. The web page provides maps and brochures for the 10 walking tours (a total of just over 10 miles), from as short as a quarter of a mile to 2.1 miles.
Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum
Mild hiking trails of more than a mile in a sculpture garden near Solsberry.
Note about city parks
There are many parks right in the city but most are small and do not contain hiking trails. Some do have walking/running tracks or paved areas. There was a great pdf which locates the small trails in Bloomington (along with information about some of the areas close by listed on this page). It is archived here.
Hoosier National Forest
There are roughly 266 miles of trails found in the Hoosier National Forest areas (a total of 200,000 acres), including the Hickory Ridge Trail (46.7 miles long). Within the large amounts of land, there are other areas, which are listed below. There is a chart listing many, if not all, the trails. Both Recreation Areas require an entrance fee but it is possible to park at the office just off of SR 446 without paying a fee and hike the trails in the adjacent Hoosier NF land.
Paynetown State Recreation Area
3 trails with total of 2.75 miles
Map of Paynetown State Recreation Park at Monroe Lake
Hardin Ridge Recreation Area
2 trails with total of 3.4 miles
Charles C. Deam Wilderness
37.3 miles of trails - 4 loops and 3 side trails
Other places within an hour's drive from Bloomington
Morgan-Monroe State Forest
7 trails with total of 28 miles
Located between Bloomington and Martinsville and contains 24,000 acres. Two of the trails are 10 miles long and many trails are loops. The Tecumseh Trail starts at the state forest office.
Brown County State Park
8 trails with total of 13 miles
This park, the largest state park in Indiana, is about 30-minutes drive from Bloomington and is located near Nashville.
Spring Mill State Park
5 trails with total of 6.5 miles
Located near Mitchell, IN. It is known for containing many unique cave features called "karsts" and are only found in southern Indiana. If you are interested in studying more about the caves, IU libraries has an extensive bibliography. There is also a reenacted pioneer village for tourists. It is not backcountry and the trails frequently cross roads, but the karst features can make the trip more interesting.
McCormick's Creek State Park
McCormick's contains over 10 miles of trails.
15 miles west of Bloomington on SR 46 and just east of Spencer. Also contains karst features.
Lieber State Recreational Area (Cagles Mill Lake)
There are three very short trails here.
Martin State Forest
3 trails with a total of 4.5 miles. It is an hour's drive from Bloomington, south on 37 until Mitchell and then about 15 west on SR 50.
This trail is over 50 miles long and there are plans to make it connect and become the northern part of the Knobstone Trail.
The northern terminus is next to the Morgan-Monroe State Forest Office and the southern one is west of Brown County State Park and south of route 46 on Crooked Creek Road (about half an hour's drive from Bloomington).
Overview of the trail and its sections, along with links to information on how to purchase the maps and download a short data book.
The Knobstone is the longest hiking trail in Indiana (58 miles long). It takes under 2 hours to drive from Bloomington to either terminus. The north one is near Deam Lake and the south one is at Delaney Creek.
Hickory Ridge Trail
Southeast of Lake Monroe, this trail is 46.7 miles long and is used by hikers as well as mountain bikers and horse riders. There are many loops which allow you to enjoy parts of the trail if you cannot hike its entirety.
See other Indiana Guides.