If you or your family are looking for ways to get fit, get active, get moving or just get outside then check out some of the great walking and biking trails in Hancock County, Indiana. I have two active kids so I’m always looking for ways to burn off some of that extra energy they have. (Plus, I figure trails are a great way for me to get in a workout as well.) Whenever we are out in nature, I use it as a great time of learning as well. As a family we identify weeds, birds, insects, trees, flowers, rocks and really just about anything else we come across.
Recently, the City of Greenfield, Indiana just put in bike lanes on US highway 40, for those who live and work near there. It’s a great way to get somewhere or utilize when biking longer distances. There’s also a locally owned bike shop downtown Greenfield, which can help get your old bicycle up and running smooth so you can keep up with your kids. With a couple of different bike trails in the area your kids are sure to have fun and stay in shape.
Running parallel to US 40 and Main Street in Greenfield, the Pennsy Trail is a paved 5.6 miles. Perfect for running, bikes, roller blades and pets. When my kids were little I loved pushing them in the stroller along this trail. It’s straight and it’s flat so it’s perfect for those on wheels. The trail starts at county road 400 East and continues through 150 West. There are various parking lots along the trail for you to use, one of which is right downtown. There is some lighting on the trails for night time, but the trail does cross busy streets so you do need to stop and proceed with caution at those sites. If you need something to look at, there are a couple historical markers and some art sculptures along the trail. And the last weekend in July every year, the Pennsy Trail Art & Music Fair is held with various booths set up near the trail.
Set in native prairie grasses with wetlands, ponds and boardwalks, this is our families favorite park. There is a .95 mile paved trail with a 1.5 acre pond, fishing pier and observation deck. There are some grass trails if you prefer that route instead of paved trails. The trails make various sized loops so you can pick how much walking/running you do. My kids love that there is signage posted throughout the trail identifying trees and wildlife. I love when the prairie is in bloom with various wildflowers. (Pssst… it’s a great place for family photo shoots.) There is a covered picnic shelter and nice restrooms. Parking is conveniently located in the center of the park with lots of spaces, and there is a 2 acre dog park “Rovers Run Bark Park” for your 4 legged friend to get some exercise as well. (Please note the dog park does require membership.) The park’s address is 2770 North Franklin Street, Greenfield and is located at the intersection of County Road 300 North and Franklin Street.
Thornwood Nature Preserve
So if your kids like creek stomping this is the place for them. The Thornwood Nature Preserve is 40 acres of woodland kept in its natural state. There are 5 trails that range in various difficulty levels. Benches are located along the trail as well as some tree identification signs. There is a small picnic area at the entrance near the gravel parking lot and some picnic tables further back in the woods. There is a port-a-potty near the entrance for use. There are two small creeks that wind their way through the preserve so bring along some mud boots for the kids to explore the area. The Preserve is located south of Greenfield at 1597 South, Morristown Pike, Greenfield, Ind.
Jacob Schramm Nature Preserve
Located at 1570 S. 600 W. New Palestine, Indiana. A small parking lot and sign right off a well traveled road will help you locate the entrance. A well marked path makes a loop through this small wooded area. There are some boards to walk on in muddy areas, otherwise it is a natural trail. Pets are welcomed.
Mary Moore Park
Located close to Greenfield Central High School. This 8 acre park has mulched trails running through a wooded setting. Markers are posted throughout identifying bird and plant points of interest. Use the high school parking lot, and please note there are no restrooms available.
Henry B. Wilson Park
Located behind the Kohl’s store in Greenfield, and the Southeast portion of the Brandywine Village Neighborhood. (Just follow the street straight back and you will see a small sign for the entrance to this park located near the intersection of Collins and Fern St.) This 14 acre park along Brandywine Creek has multi-use trails ideal for mountain biking, hiking and running. Currently there is a .932 mile trail. Fishing is allowed at this location. There are picnic tables but no restrooms. Parking is available at the Kohl’s store. The city has many plans for this park in the future including a bridge across the creek and Mountain Bike course features.
Just Outside Hancock County
And right across the Hancock County Line are two great walking trails that you have easy access to; Flat Fork Creek in Hamilton County yet still near Fortville. And Southeast Parkway in Marion County but again very close to New Palestine, Indiana.
No matter the season, trails offer a great opportunity to get in nature and get active. We bundle up in the winter and make tracks with our boots in the snow. In the fall we enjoy the changing leaves. In the summertime, trails are a great incentive to visit an ice cream shop when your done to cool off. The spring time is the perfect time to see new flowers, insects and birds.