One of the best ways to explore your city is to take a stroll on the paths and trails that intersect throughout town. You’ll love riding your bike down orange and red leaf-covered paths and viewing the beautiful foliage as they change colors in the fall. In the spring you’ll get the first glimpse of budding flowers and returning plants. Luckily, there are several serene Carmel bike trails to explore.
The trail system in Carmel is perfect for all ages and can be used for biking or hiking. So grab the backpack, fill the water bottles, and toss in some snacks for a quick trek. Pack a picnic and a change of clothes if you intend on staying all day and taking advantage of the many water access points that provide ample areas to creek stomp. The trails and parks in Carmel are beautiful in every season. No matter which route or when you choose to go, get outside and breathe in the fresh air. Let us follow along on your journey and use #PLAYIndy in your posts.
Carmel Bike Trails
Grab the bikes and safety gear and hit the pavement for a family bike ride on Carmel bike trails. The Carmel Access Bikeways, which includes eight cross-city bike routes and five bike loops, is intended for casual riders. The routes can be long but are fairly easy. Riders will pass by various areas of Carmel, with each route providing access to Carmel’s wonderful amenities. Check this website for route and map info.
Cool Creek Loop
13.9 miles with the trailhead at Carey Grove Park. The longest Carmel bike trail will take you through neighborhoods and along city streets.
12.5 miles with the trailhead at 146th and Monon Trailhead. A long winding route that explores both shopping and residential areas in and around West Clay.
9.7 miles with the trailhead is at Creekside Middle School. An flat, easy ride that passes through neighborhoods and schools.
White River Loop
7.2 miles with the trailhead at River Heritage Park. This beautiful and scenic trail wanders along the White River and through several east-side parks.
City Center Loop
6.8 miles with the trailhead at Carmel City Hall. A short but exciting loop that follows the Monon Trail through the heart of Carmel and offers access to all of the city’s central features.
Hike and Bike Trails
In addition to Carmel bike trails, there are numerous hiking trails and serene paths throughout Carmel. If you are looking for paved trails for hiking, strolling, or biking in Carmel, I have you covered. There are short options and long-distance options that connect more than one trail. Visitors young and old will enjoy the breathtaking views along creeks and rivers and acres upon acres of natural greenspace.
1430 E 96th Street or 1201 Rohrer Road, Carmel
Grab the kids and the pups because everyone will enjoy this 5-mile trail. Carmel’s section of the Monon Trail, the Monon Greenway, runs from 146th Street to 96th Street. Bring binoculars to check out the wildlife in the wooded areas and see how many different critters you can spot in the trees. If the little legs get tired there are several rest stops along the greenway with water fountains and restrooms.
365 Monon Trail Carmel (address is for Midtown Plaza Carmel)
This is the urban trail portion of the Monon Greenway between 126th and Main Street in Carmel. Kids of all ages will have fun checking out the interactive experiences. We love the spray park in the summer. Discussing the public artwork, and playing ping-pong, bocce ball, and corn hole are just some of the family-friendly activities along this trail. Grab something to eat in Midtown Plaza Carmel at a variety of eateries.
Central Park East Woods
1235 Central Park East Drive, Carmel
Central Park East Woods boasts over 3 miles of natural beauty. Explore the foliage as the trails snake between prairies, wetlands, and woodlands. The trails in East Woods offer connecting trails to the Monon Greenway.
Central Park West Trails
1195 Central Park Drive West, Carmel
A great nature area any time of year. Some of the trails are wooded while some are paved making it easier on strollers and wheelchairs. Make sure to hit the playground and go birdwatching at the large pond. This area connects to the Monon Trail as well.
Flowing Well Park
5100 E 116th Street, Carmel
This 15-acre park is a favorite of kids of every age. There is a mile-long trail that wraps through the woods and provides numerous educational spots. Cool Creek winds throughout the park and is a great area to fish or take the kids creek stomping. Bring your empty water jugs to fill up at the “Old Faithful” artesian well.
Prairie Meadow Park
5282 Ivy Hill Drive, Carmel
A quarter-mile paved trail wraps around this park, but you might just want to let kids run wild through the mowed paths throughout the prairies. It’s a fantastic place to see all different types of creatures including praying mantises, hummingbirds, butterflies, and flowers.
931 Rangeline Road, Carmel
This small, 0.6-mile trail connects to the Hagan-Burke Trail and heads north to Carmel High School. You can‘t miss the historic bridge from the 1920s that was brought back to life on this trail. It’s a perfect trail to ride bikes, skate, or push a stroller on.
Lenape Trace Trail
9602 Westfield Boulevard, Carmel
From the Monon Greenway, connect to this short and sweet 0.75-mile trail. Near the Lenape Trace Trail’s midpoint is the 5-acre Lenape Trace Park. The park offers a gazebo perfect for picnics and plenty of green space for kicking around a soccer ball. Or head straight to the park and hit the trail from there.
Suggested parking for the Lenape Trace Trail and Park can be found off Windcastle Trail, the neighborhood road on the western side of Lenape Trace Park.
Vera J. Hinshaw Preserve
1430 E 96th Street, Indianapolis
This is almost ten acres of undeveloped land located east of the Monon Greenway, just north of the Monon South Trailhead. Follow the paved pathway and observe the beauty of Mother Nature. The preserve has various mature trees; see how many varieties the kids can identify (oak, hickory, walnut, and more). To access the preserve, park at the Monon Greenway South Trailhead and head north.
230 Smokey Row Road, Carmel
This paved 1.4-mile trail is perfect for bikers, walkers, and runners. It provides valuable connections to three other trails in Carmel: the Monon Trail, the 146th Street Trail, and the Greyhound Trail. This trail also winds through wooded areas along Cool Creek which is a favorite for creek stomping.
146th Street Trail
2510 E. 146th Street, Carmel
At just under 2.5 miles, this is a paved trail that is great for older, experienced riders and runners. The trail crosses busy intersections and runs along a fairly busy road so make sure little ones are contained if you ride this trail. Access to Carey Grove Park and Clay Terrace are hot destinations for users along this trail.
450 Meadow Lane, Carmel
This 1.2-mile trail winds around a picturesque pond that is annually stocked with catfish, sunfish, and trout. The park which surrounds this trail has plenty of green space, sports courts, and a playground.
1475-1635 E 116th Street, Carmel
This 1.4-mile out-and-back trail is considered an easy trail. This paved trail offers lots of shade on a hot summer day and is a great pick if creek stomping is your thing. Make sure to bring your camera because there are intricate chainsaw carvings that will fascinate kids of all ages. Nature info boards are scattered along the trail as well for your reading pleasure.
106th Street path
106th Street and Pennsylvania Street, Carmel
This 5.7-mile trail provides a smooth asphalt path to link the communities of Zionsville and Carmel. You’ll pass by neighborhoods, churches, and businesses but the coolest thing is the small bike-ped bridge over Williams Creek. Stop over the creek and try to spot some wildlife. Parking can be found at the north end of the lot area near the 106th and Illinois Street roundabout.
12575 River Road, Carmel
The 62-acre Prather Park, formerly River Road Park, has paved trails along the river, prairies, and wetlands. The park also offers open fields for sports and lots of green space to explore! Don’t miss the playground, it’s definitely unique.
White River Greenway
13410 River Road, Carmel
This mile-long asphalt trail runs along the White River, perfect for spotting waterfowl. Enjoy wooded areas and, on the south end, Prather Park will entertain the littles. Head north and eventually connect with the 146th Street Trail.
11677 Towne Road, Carmel
This 125-acre park features paved paths and bike trails winding through prairies, along fishing ponds, and plenty of greenspace. Pack a picnic and a kite or frisbee. This Insta-worthy park is gorgeous! Allow enough time to visit the Children’s Garden and let the kid’s imaginations run wild.
There are so many Carmel bike trails to explore! Depending on the ages of your kids, stick to short, paved trails or venture out to trails with a mix of paved and dirt paths. In the summer, schedule in creek stomping as a pit stop during the bike ride or hike. Enjoy biking through serene paths littered with burnt orange, yellow, and red leaves in autumn. And bring binoculars to check out the wildlife in wooded areas and see how many different critters your kids can spot in the trees.
Looking to expand your exploration radius? Check out Hiking and Biking trails in Westfield, Hiking and Biking trails in Fishers, or Indy With Kids’ list of 20 breathtaking places to go hiking near Indianapolis with kids. Plan a visit to one of our favorite trails today!