By Gabby Davis
No matter the time of year, Indiana is a gorgeous place to hike. For the more advanced or intermediate hiker, these energizing hikes will put you to the test. And before you hike, remember to pack the essentials: water, food, bug spray, cameras, and extra layers just in case!
One of the best trails of the Hoosier National Forest is the Two Lakes Trail. The trail is over 15.5 miles-long and offers amazing views of the Indian and Celina Lakes. It also forms a figure eight around both lakes. The trail features hardwood forests and there are many steep slopes. Visitors will encounter all walks of wildlife along the trail. Visitors can opt to hike the trail two ways: taking the full outer loop of the trail which is the full 15.5 miles, or they can hike the eight-mile loop around either lake.
The Harrison-Crawford State forest is among the most beautiful places to trek during the fall. The changing leaves of this 24,000-acre rugged hardwood forest makes for an excellent backdrop for a hike. For something a bit more challenging, opt to navigate the Rocky Ridge Trail. This hike starts at the fire tower and moves west for an incredible two-mile adventure.
Falls Canyon Trail inside McCormick’s Creek State Park (Trail 3 on the park’s official website) is a challenging but beloved trail for Hoosiers. The terrain is filled with hills and as you pass through, there are many creek crossings. Be sure to check the weather before crossing as sometimes the water levels rise enough to make this part impassable. Visitors will also see something a bit unusual and not widely found across Indiana: a beautiful waterfall. Visitors will also see the amazing amount of limestone Indiana has throughout its southern parts. The more limestone you see, that’s usually a good indication of more hills and slopes to come! This trail is just under a mile and is considered rugged, so come prepared.
Considered to be a moderately difficult trail, Bloodroot Trail is part of Salamonie Lake near Andrew, Indiana. The trail is 13 miles long and starts at the Salamonie Interpretive Center. From there, visitors can hike through fields and woods to the Mount Etna State Recreation Area and hike the bluffs that overlook the gorgeous lake. The trail has steep hills and valleys, and visitors should take care to stay on the marked trails to avoid getting lost.
Located in southern Indiana is the Morgan-Monroe State Forest. The park is more than 24,000 acres encompassing Morgan and Monroe counties, and has many steep ridges, valleys, and some of the finest trees around Indiana. For the more experienced hikers, Three Lakes Trail and the Low Gap Trail are the most popular here. Both trails are about 10 miles long, and have long, large hills with switchbacks in between. As visitors walk, they will also see some of the most beautiful views the forest has to offer, especially in the fall.