Best Hikes in Indiana


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    Do you enjoy basking outdoors? Do outdoor activities bring out the adrenaline in you?

    If so, hikes in Indiana have the best available options with breathtaking climbs and spectacular views.

    Indiana is known for its expansive farmlands and cornfields. The scenic places, beautiful waterfalls, and natural wonders make hiking trails in Indiana the best in the USA.

    Does Indiana have good hiking?

    Yes, of course. Indiana is home to some scenic trails surrounded by natural attractions. From high cliffs to streams of canyons, Indiana has varied landscapes to offer. There are multiple choices of treks available, from one day to multi-day trips.

    The southern region of Indiana is known to host beautiful and scenic hikes. One can plan treks based on preferences, choice of trails, difficulty levels, and available days.

    One must take adequate precautions and steps while planning hikes and treks in this region due to covid guidelines. To know more about the activities in Indiana and its adjacent areas, read the article on things to do in Lafayette, Indiana, this weekend

    What is the longest hiking trail in Indiana?

    Knobstone Trail is one of the longest hiking trails in Indiana. The track is about 58 miles long and qualifies for a great camping trip. The trail is scenic and full of challenges, and it is indeed a feat to accomplish the trek. The trail starts from Dream Lake Recreation Area and terminates near Delaney Creek Park.

    The trail encompasses areas of Clark, Scott, and Washington counties. Knobstone Trail is also known as ‘KT’ or ‘The Little Appalachian Trek’.

    If you are looking to explore the midwestern region of Indiana, KT is the place for you.

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    10 Beautiful Hiking Trails in Indiana

    Indiana is a region with innumerable natural landscapes of cliffs, waterfalls, canyons, and hills. Choosing the most beautiful hiking trails is in itself a strenuous task, as the best hiking in Indiana can be done on these trails and hikes. Listed below are the top 10 beautiful hiking trails in Indiana.

    The reasons to move to Indiana and the cost of living in Indiana will help give brief insights into the quality of life and natural offerings in the region.

    1. The Adventure Hiking Trail

    This trail runs along the Ohio River and is a 25-mile circular track with temporary tents and camping shelters available on a first-come-first-serve basis. It generally takes 2-3 days to complete the trail.

    best hikes in indiana
    Shot of a couple going for a hike up the mountain

    The trail is marked with green and white colors on trees and posts to guide hikers. Cell phone coverage may appear weak inside the park.

    The Adventure Hiking Trail is famous for its splendid views of the Ohio River and naturally formed landscapes like caves, sinks, ravines, and homesteads.

    The location of this trail is in O’Bannon Woods State Park and Harrison Crawford State Market.

    Hiking tours are organized regularly. The trails offer views of the Ohio River, Indian Creek, and the Blue River. Indian Creek Shelter, Lloyd’s Shelter, primitive sites, and Chimney shelter are available for overnight stays.

    How long is the Adventure Hiking Trail Indiana?

    The adventure hiking trail is a 25-mile route marked with green and white blazes on trees or posts for guidance. It takes about 2-3 days for people to complete the hike of this trail.

    2. The Knobstone Trail

    The Knobstone Trail is Indiana’s longest natural trekking trail, known as ‘KT’ or ‘The Little Appalachian Trail’. The forest is a mixed forest with dogwood, maple, hickory, and beech. The trail is named after “Knobstone” shales and is about 48 miles.

    the knobs one trail

    The trail offers views of the Ohio River and Louisville. The trail has an elevation height of 20,000 feet and would take 3-4 days to complete the trek. It is counted as one of the most arduous treks in Indiana. It is famous for its spectacular views and challenging trails.

    The southern point of the trail is 24 km north of Louisville, Kentucky, in the Deam Lake State Recreation Area, and ends in Salem, Indiana.

    How long does the Knobstone trail take?

    The Knobstone Trail is 48 miles and is the longest trail in Indiana. It would take 3-4 days to complete this trail.

    How difficult is the Knobstone trail?

    The Knobstone trail trek is quite arduous and is not recommended for beginners.

    Can you camp on the Knobstone Trail?

    One can camp along the Trail Primitive of the Knobstone Trail. Backpacking camping is permitted on public lands with proper distances between two consecutive camping sites.

    3. Hemlock Cliffs in Hoosier National Forest

    The shady valley is known for its viewing points of cliffs, sandstone caves, and waterfalls. The trail is a circular loop of 1.25 miles and drops into an enormous canyon encompassed by oak and hemlock forests. The caves have not been open to the public since 2016.

    Hemlock Cliffs in Hoosier National Forest

    These cliffs are famous for their winter hikes with snow, ice, and frozen waterfalls. The Hemlock Cliffs are known for their rock formations, cool climate, and seasonal waterfalls.

    Hemlock Cliffs are located in Hoosier National Forest between Highway 237 and Highway 37, 2 miles north of Interstate 64.

    The trail is moderately difficult and is not recommended for beginners.

    Waterfalls in northern Indiana are famous for their natural landscapes and scenic flow.

    Where do you park for Hemlock Falls?

    One can park at Moccasin Creek State Park and walk or drive towards the trail as per one’s choice. The roads are bumpy and not maintained.

    Are dogs allowed at Hemlock Cliffs?

    Dogs are allowed but are to be kept on a leash on the trails of Hemlock Cliffs. These cliffs are known for hikes and nature trips.

    4. McCormick’s Creek State Park

    McCormick’s Creek State Park hosts a range of activities and services amidst natural landscapes. Popular attractions like Wolf Cave, Twin Bridges, and McCormick Falls. The hiking trail is around 10 miles. Saddle Barn offers horseback riding and guided tours of ponies.

    McCormick’s Creek State Park

    McCormick’s Creek State Park is famous for its Olympic-sized swimming pool and Recreation Centre. It is also known for its scenic landscapes, waterfalls, and trails.

    The Park is located 14 miles to the west of Bloomington in Owen County.

    There are reserved shelter homes along the trail. The Park is a perfect blend of nature and history, having around 10 trails in this Park.

    How much does it cost to get into McCormick’s Creek State Park?

    The entrance fees to get into McCormick’s Creek State Park are $7 for Indiana residents and $9 for visitors. Extra parking charges are levied on the vehicles too.

    Can you swim at McCormick’s Creek?

    Yes, one can swim at McCormick’s Creek. There is an Olympic size swimming pool and a wading public pool. Pool hours may change because of the weather and the availability of lifeguards.

    What town is McCormick’s Creek in?

    McCormick’s Creek is located in the town of Bloomington in Owen County.

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    5. Clifty Falls State Park

    Facing the Ohio river in southern Indiana, Clifty Falls State Park features waterfalls, hiking trails, and the famous Clifty Inn. It is considered one of the iconic gems of southern Indiana.

    Clifty Falls State Park

    The park is best known for the 300 feet deep canyon carved out by the Clifty Creeks for million years. Oak Grove tunnel is a prominent attraction of this park.

    Clifty Falls State is situated in Madison having entrances on State Road 56 and 62. The park is right across the Indiana-Kentucky border.

    The best seasons to visit are winter and spring.

    Which trail is best at Clifty Falls?

    Trail 7 or Clifty Falls trail is the best trail at these falls, and the trail is best accessible from the northern entrance of the park.

    How long are the trails at Clifty Falls State Park?

    There are around 12 trails in the State Park with varied lengths encompassing an area of 573 hectares.

    6. Turkey Run State Park

    Turkey Run State Park is also known as the ‘Grand Canyon of the Midwest’ and is ideal for afternoon hikes. With over 14 miles of rugged routes, the trails are picturesque and are open from morning to evening. However, no trek is allowed after dusk.

    Turkey Run State Park

    There is a suspension bridge over Sugar Creek in this park that is very dangerous and difficult to cross. The Turkey Run State Park is a must-visit place in Indiana.

    Use Trail 1 and Trail 2 for interesting trail routes. Trail 2 is known to host riparian to upland forest areas.

    The state park is best known for Turkey Inn. Turkey Inn is a beautiful and scenic place offering views of the State-Run Park, and the Inn works entirely on reservations.

    The park is known for camping activities and is Indiana’s second state park. Overnight camping is allowed in this park.

    The Turkey Run State Park is situated along State Road 47 in the west-central part of the state in Marshall, Indiana.

    What trails are at Turkey Run State Park?

    There are around 11 trails in Turkey Run State Park covering an area of 14 miles with different levels of difficulty.

    How long is the Turkey Run Park trail?

    The Turkey Run Park trail is a circular loop of 0.5 miles. The route goes around Leiber Cabin, Sunset point, Turkey Run Hollow, Overlook Cabin, and Inn Cabins.

    Which trail at Turkey Run has the waterfall?

    Trail 3 has the waterfall at Turkey Run, and it is a 2.1-mile loop ending at Marshall in Indiana.

    7. Charles Deam Wilderness-Peninsula Trail

    This trail offers 36 miles of a hike for varied activities like backpacking, hiking, camping, and horse-riding. The trail offers spectacular views of Monroe Lake, encompassing 12,953 acres in Hoosier National Forest.

    Charles Deam Wilderness-Peninsula Trail

    Charles Deam is famous for its wilderness and horse shelters or camps. Horse traffic is an inseparable part of the Deam experience. Above all, it is a popular sunset camping site.

    Charles Deam Wilderness-Peninsula Trail is near Bloomington, Indiana. Brooks Cabin and HistoryRidge Lookout Tower are the prime attractions in the Charles Deam wilderness area.

    Parking is prohibited near Tower Ridge Road and is only allowed in parking lots. The use of vehicles is restricted on these routes. Best areas for camping include Nebo Ridge Trail, Fork Ridge Trail, and Hickory Ridge Trail.

    Can you hunt Charles Deam Wilderness?

    Hunting is permitted in Charles Deam Wilderness. Target shooting and vehicles, bicycles, or wagons are prohibited.

    8. Shades State Park

    If you are in search of peace and tranquility, Shades State Park is the place for you. One can view stunning canyons like Shawnee Canyon in this western Indiana state park.

    Shades State Park

    This park is famous for its serene views, peaceful park, and strenuous hikes. Shades State Park is located about 17 miles southwest of Crawfordsville, Indiana.

    The trail begins from Hickory Parking Lot. The route from the parking lot to trail 7 and then to trail 8 is spectacular. Trail 1 hosts prime attractions like Devil’s Punch Bowl, Silver Cascade Falls, and Prospect Point.

    Shades State Park is open during the day from November to March. Camping during the day is allowed in this park.

    What is the best trail at Shades State Park?

    Pine Hills Nature Preserve Trail is the best trail at Shades State Park. There are around 13 trails in Shades State Park, and the trails are of varying lengths and difficulties.

    Can you hunt Shades State Park?

    Yes, one can hunt in Shades State Park along the banks of Monroe Lake.

    How much does it cost to get into Shades State Park?

    Entrance fees of $7 for registered vehicles of Indiana and $12 for non-residents of Indiana.

    9. Charlestown State Park

    This park is more like an outdoor museum and is one of the recently established state parks. Trail 3 gives access to Rose Island Loop and an abandoned amusement park from the 1920s.

    Charlestown State Park

    The route is rugged and offers views of Fourteen Mile Creek valley and the Ohio River with elevation changes of over 200 feet. Thus, the park is famous for its deep ravines and views of rugged hills.

    Charlestown State Town is situated in Clark County along the Ohio River in Indiana. With an area of  5100 acres, Charlestown State Park is the third largest State Park, and it is easily accessible via different routes.

    How long is Trail 7 at Charlestown State Park?

    Trail 7 at Charlestown State Park is about 3.38 km, and it takes about 57 minutes to complete this trail. Trail 7 is popular for fishing, hiking, and camping.

    What is there to do at Charlestown State Park, Indiana?

    Activities like hiking, camping, trail running, bird watching, and fishing can be done in this park in Indiana. Nature trips are organized throughout the year.

    How long is Trail 3 at Charlestown State Park?

    Trail 3 is a 2.2-mile loop trail located in Charlestown State Park. The trail is of moderate difficulty.

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    10. Spring Mill State Park

    Spring Mill State Park offers the best blend of cultural and natural worlds. There is a lot to do and explore in Spring Mill.

    Activities like cave tours, biking, hiking, nature activities, and swimming are carried out on the park’s premises. Spring Mill State Park is famous for its recreational tours and activities.

    Spring Mill State Park

    The park is located to the south of Bloomington and 3 miles to the east of Mitchell city. The park is open throughout the year from 7 am to 11 pm, and some features operate seasonally.

    Prime attractions of this park include Pioneer Village, Nature Centre, Nature Nook, and Grissom Memorial.

    How much does it cost to get to Spring Mill Park?

    It costs about $7 for in-state residents and $9 for out-state residents to enter Spring Mill Park. Pool admission fees are around $3 per person.

    Is Spring Mill Village open?

    Yes, Spring Mill Village is open daily from May through mid-October from 9 am to 5 pm.

    Does Spring Mill State Park have a beach?

    No, swimming is allowed in the pools and not near the falls.

    Best Hikes in Indiana FAQS

    What is the scariest hike in the world?

    Huayna Picchu Trail in Peru is considered one of the scariest hikes in the world. The trail is located on the famous Huayna Picchu mountain in Peru and has temples on the top. This hike is also known as the “Hike of death”, consisting of granite and slippery stones.

    What is the hardest hike in the world?

    Mount HuaShan in China is the hardest hike in the world. Hua Shan is considered one of China’s sacred mountains, consisting of wooden platforms hanging thousands of feet in the air and is extremely difficult to traverse. Known for breathtaking views and spectacular sunrises.


    Indiana is home to natural landscapes like waterfalls, cliffs, and canyons. There are incredible state parks with stunning trails in Indiana. Knobstone Trail and Charlestown State Park are popular spots in the Indiana region.

    Now that you have learned about these parks in general in the article, would you hike these places for fun?

    Make the most of this experience by researching in advance the places to be covered, charges levied, and the list of places to be traversed. There are some unique hiking trails in Indiana that you can not skip.

    So, when are you planning your visit?

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