Did you know there is a secret, little wildlife reserve right in the heart of Fishers? Cheeney Creek Natural Area is a 25 acre park with plenty of fresh air, a pond, the creek, a multitude of wildlife, and some of Fishers’ tallest and oldest trees.
Enter 11030 Fishers Pointe Blvd into your GPS and you will arrive at a small gravel parking lot. Here you will find a park map, picnic tables and trash cans; as well as bags for our four legged friend’s waste. Note that Cheeney Creek does not have restrooms or water fountains. You will want to come prepared.
Hiking, Creek Stomping, and More
Once you are ready to hike, Cheeney Creek has two paths to take.
Dirt Path – Rugged but Walkable
The dirt path is definitely more rugged than the paved path but is still an easy hike for your little ones legs. Follow the dirt path south and you will find a nicely stocked fishing pond. The 3-acre pond is home to bass, bluegill, and catfish. Remember to bring your fishing license. You will also find large turtles and bullfrogs along the shoreline.
While hiking along the dirt trail you will arrive at the fishing dock first. If you desire, keep trekking along the dirt path to one of the few pond access points surrounding the water. The dirt trail is an easy hike, suitable for young and old and possibly a stroller built for such an activity. Take note, the trees you see are said to be the biggest in Fishers! You may come upon deer, squirrels and definitely plenty of birds. Early morning is a great time to bring the binoculars and spot some feathered friends. Stay on the dirt path around the pond and you will end up back near the picnic tables and parking lot.
Paved Trail Option
The second trail option is a wide paved trail that sets just east of the wooded area. The paved trail is going to be part of the Nickel Plate Trail that will eventually run from Noblesville to Indianapolis. Phase one started in May 2020 but watch for more on this new public space as it develops.
While hiking the paved trail at Cheeney Creek you will follow alongside the shallow creek. It is a bit of a challenge to access the creek, you will have to get down a grassy embankment but the reward of the cool water on your feet is worth the challenge.
The paved trail has almost no shade. The other side of the creek is mostly tree lined so depending on what time of day you are visiting you may have a little shade to cover you. You will definitely want sunscreen and hats to help protect you from the rays.
Follow the creek south and you will come to a bridge which is the paved trail going over the water. If you are in the creek near this overpass use caution, the water gets a little deep and may be up to your youngster’s waist. Of course the amount of rainfall the area has received will impact how deep the entire creek is.
Just on the other side of the paved trail overpass you will find an old tunnel which held up the now removed Nickel Plate train tracks. Accessing the creek here may be easier than the previous areas, just watch for the rebar. Once in the water the tunnel offers some new experiences, unlike any other creek stomping spot in the area. You can catch crayfish and minnow, find mussel shells, and watch dragonflies dance along the water. All while covered within the beautiful, well preserved structure of the past.
Once through the tunnel the creek widens and deepens. This is a great place to dip your nets and buckets in the water to catch the crayfish. Be mindful of the neighborhood due west and don’t get too carried away. When exiting, you may find the rebar handy when hoisting yourself out of the creek. Head back north and follow the same paved path that brought you here or follow the grassy path back up past the pond.
There is a connection to the dirt trail just at the northwest side of the pond. That’ll take you back to the parking lot. If you stay on the grassy path you will find yourself face to face with a power grid. You will then be on a gravely drive that backs up to a neighborhood and will eventually take you back to the parking lot. Be advised that this is not part of the park and therefore not as accessible or as well cared for.
Once back to your starting point enjoy your packed snack or lunch in the shade at one of the picnic tables. Watch the runners and bikers zoom past on the paved trail. Soak in all the glorious fresh air and enjoy your time spent in the good ol’ outdoors.
Heritage Meadows Park
If your kids are not ready to call it a day Heritage Meadows Park is a five minute walk north from the Cheeney Creek main entrance. Here you will find plenty of green space to toss a ball around, a “Little Free Library,” and “Big Wheel Playground.” The playground was designed for children under eight years old. They have an interactive QR code to scan and bring stories to life while playing. You can also hear popular stories using the QR code and your phone.
The playground is nicely shaded and offers a few benches. Bring the skates and scooters and race around the “Big Wheel” paved circle surrounding the park. Street parking is available. No restrooms or drinking fountains.
Where to Find Cheeney Creek
Cheeney Creek is wonderful to cool off in during the hot summer days but do not limit your experience to summer months. The trails will provide beautiful foliage in the fall and in the spring enjoy all the new beginnings that nature provides.
Cheeney Creek is located at 11030 Fishers Pointe Boulevard, Fishers 46038.
11030 Fishers Pointe Boulevard