Are you searching for the best places for hiking in Indiana? Then, look no more! We bring to you a list of the best hiking trails in Indiana.
While there are a lot of hikes in and around the cities of the Midwest, one state that often gets overlooked is Indiana. It is a shame because Indiana features lots of beautiful trails for outdoor enthusiasts to explore.
The Hoosier State is mainly famous for its cornfields and farmlands but there are many scenic hikes here that will truly take your breath away. There are lots of state parks that feature miles of hiking trails in Indiana for you to uncover.
What’s more, a few of these hiking trails will end up taking you to a cliff, caves, or even waterfalls. Plus, you have lots of camping spots to enjoy on these trails.
So, if you are looking for scenic trails for hiking in Indiana, here are the 15 best hiking trails to consider. I hope you will have the time of your lives on these trails.
15 Scenic Trails for Hiking in Indiana
Dunes Ridge Trail – Indiana Dunes National Park
If you are looking for fun Indiana hiking trails, then explore the Dunes Ridge Trail in Indiana Dunes National Park. It is a 0.6-mile easy loop trail near Beverly Shores, IN that is great for hiking, walking, and nature strolls.
An ideal hiking trail in Indiana for all skill levels, Dunes Ridge Trail features gorgeous flowers and offers stunning views of the forest and wetlands of the south of this dune.
Due to the different habitats you witness on this route, this is known as one of the most biologically diverse national parks. If you want a short trail for hiking in Indiana with gorgeous views, then check out Dunes Ridge Trail.
Cowles Bog Trail – Indiana Dunes National Park
Are you looking for more Indiana Dunes trails to explore? If so, then you should check out the Cowles Bog Trail in Indiana Dunes National Park.
One of the best spots for hiking in Indiana, Cowles Bog Trail is a 4.7-mile trail that you can visit throughout the year. The best months to experience this trail would be between May and October, especially in the fall season.
On this trail, you will come across beautiful ponds, beaches, marshes, black oaks, and more.
An amazing thing about this trail is that it is a National Natural Landmark due to the plant diversity in the area. Plus, if you take the longer route, you can enjoy views of stunning Lake Michigan too.
So, if want to enjoy a scenic hike in IN, then this is a great choice.
Buffalo Trace Trails – French Lick
French Lick is home to many amazing trails and Buffalo Trace Trails is an Indiana hiking trail that you cannot miss out on. This 5.8-mile trail goes through the forest and is ideal for both bicyclists and hikers.
If you want to enjoy hiking in southern Indiana, then this is one of the most beautiful places for a weekend visit in the Midwest. This gorgeous hike is moderate in level and offers a stunning waterfall on the route too.
From hiking to mountain biking, to nature trips, this trail in French Lick is great for a lot of activities. You can stay a couple of nights closer to the park to explore the area and unwind a little in the natural surroundings.
Trust me, this is an amazing place for hiking in Indiana if you wish to take some time off from your fast-paced life.
Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve
Located next to Lake Michigan, Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve offers some of the best scenic trails for hiking in Indiana. There are three-mile loops of trails with several connections and different types of surfaces.
The route features several bridges, beautiful landscapes, wooden boardwalks, and more, making it great for photography too.
You can enjoy a quick hike, a leisure walk, or cross-country skiing in winters on the trails here. One of the best things about this Indiana trail is that you will find water fountains and restrooms on the route here.
Turkey Run State Park
For amazing hiking trails in Indiana, Turkey Run State Park is also a good choice. With over 14 miles of accessible trails, this is one of the best places for hiking in Indiana.
From easy to very rugged, you will find a hiking trail suited for all kinds of hikers here. There are 11 trails available that range between 0.5 and 3 miles long. So, visitors can go for short hikes to enjoy the scenery or long hikes for an adventurous outing here.
Here, you will come across amazing sandstone cliffs, hemlock groves, bridges, canyons, and so much more. This is one of the best state parks that you cannot miss out on in Indiana.
Brown County State Park
One of the best Indiana state parks for hiking, Brown County State Park offers over 18 miles of trails for hikers and bicyclists to explore. This is the largest state park in Indiana with 12 trails that range from easy to rugged.
The state park features lakes, an amphitheater, and diverse species of wildlife, making it fun for all kinds of visitors. However, be careful as you may encounter many harmful reptiles and bugs here on your visit.
It is one of the top places for camping in Indiana and boasts of many campgrounds, both around the lake and in the wilderness. One can also enjoy fishing in the Jimme Strahl and Ogle Lake here.
This is one of the best places for camping and hiking in Indiana and will never disappoint you.
Knobstone Hiking Trail
Another amazing trail for hiking in southern Indiana is the Knobstone Hiking Trail. It is the longest hiking trail in IN and is well-suited for experienced hikers who want a little challenge.
The complete trail is 40 miles long and includes an elevation gain of 7,352 feet. You will need four days to complete this hike but the views are worth the effort.
It is one of the most scenic trails for hiking in Indiana which offers panoramic views of the Ohio River and Southern Indiana.
If that doesn’t convince you, then I am sure the views of Jackson-Washington State Forest and Clark State Forest from this trial will. Although this is a challenging climb, there are markers placed throughout the route to make it easier for the hikers.
Once you cover this route, you can confidently tell your friends and family members that you did one of the toughest hikes in IN.
Beech Trail – Cool Creek Park
For the best hiking in Indiana experience, consider Beech Trail in Cool Creek Park. This is a great hiking trail in Indiana for relaxing and unwinding for a little while.
It is an easy trail compared to many other hikes in Indiana and is less than one mile. On this trail, you will be greeted with a beautiful river, diverse wildlife, and stunning bridges. That’s not all, this hiking trail is perfect for bird enthusiasts as you can spot a lot of birds in this area.
One of the best things to do is to complete this hike and then visit downtown Carmel Indiana to check out the local art scene.
So, if you are looking for short weekend trips in IN, then this hike along with a trip to downtown Carmel is ideal for you.
Hemlock Cliffs – Hoosier National Forest
Looking for an adventurous hiking trail in Indiana? If yes, then Hemlock Cliffs trail is the best choice for you. If you stay on the park pathways, it is safe but if you want a bit more danger, then you can explore on your own here.
This is a two-mile trail that will take you from the bottom of the box canyon to the top of the limestone cliffs. On the way, you will come across beautiful waterfalls and several campgrounds where you can camp for the night.
Although there are many rules associated with this hike, you will enjoy the views and the sights on the way. Also, if you are lucky, you might encounter a couple of caves too.
Trust me, this is a great place for hiking in Southern Indiana and offers stunning views to the hikers.
There Is No Better Hiking In Indiana Than At Spring Mill State Park
One of the best things to do in Indiana is enjoying a day out at Spring Mill State Park. It is one of the best Indiana state parks for hiking for families or adventure enthusiasts.
There are seven different hiking trails spread across an area of 1,300 acres accessible for the hikers. You will find all easy to rugged hikes here of various durations. On the route, you will cover a pioneer village, a river mill, caves, and much more, depending on the trail you choose.
If you want options for hiking in Indiana, then Spring Mill State Park is the place to go.
McCormick’s Creek State Park Offers Some Of The Best Hiking In Indiana
McCormick’s Creek State Park offers lots of fun activities to visitors such as camping, hiking, horse riding, and more. This state park features several hiking trails in Indiana that will take you through the natural setting here.
From Wolf Cave to Twin Bridges, to the Falls on McCormick’s Creek, there are a lot of attractions to cover here. There are 10 marked hiking trails available ranging from easy to rugged that you can choose from.
You can also cover all the trails and explore the hiking routes of this state park on a weekend visit and camp on an official camping site inside this park. This is why it is one of the best places for hiking in Indiana for families or a group of friends.
Yellow Birch Ravine Double Falls Trail
One of the top hiking trails in Indiana, Yellow Birch Ravine Double Falls Trail is a short and easy hike that is great for all experience levels.
This 0.6-mile trail is an out-and-back trail located near Taswell, IN. It features several stunning waterfalls including the famous Double Falls, streams, trees, and more. The trail is rugged and surrounded by nature so, it is a great escape from city life.
Also, it is an easy hike for the most part except for a few stream crossings. Just make sure that you wear sturdy hiking shoes as you will find slippery rocks, streams, and waterfalls on the way.
West Beach & Dunes Succession Trail – Indiana Dunes National Park
Love spending time on beaches? Then, this is one of the best Indiana Dunes trails to cover in Indiana Dunes National Park. This 1-mile-long trail makes way through different habitats and offers stunning views of Lake Michigan.
Hikers climb over 250 steps to enjoy the gorgeous views of Long Lake and the Chicago skyline from the top. One of the best things about this hike is that you can see dune development in the area as the name suggests.
Overall, this is a short, easy, and unique Indiana hike that will take you through the gorgeous dunes area. Later, you can spend some time on the beach relaxing and sunbathing beside the lake.
Charles Deam Wilderness – Peninsula Trail
One of the easiest hiking trails in Indiana, Peninsula Trail in Charles Deam Wilderness is a good choice for a short and relaxing outing.
This out-and-back trail starts from Tower Ridge Road and is quite easy to follow with lots of signs. It follows a gentle ridge and leads to the hillside that offers you stunning views of Lake Monroe.
The trail is 10.2-miles long and leads to the shore of Lake Monroe where you can camp and spend some time.
This is one of the best places for hiking in Indiana where you can picnic or enjoy a swim or spend a night camping beside the lake.
North Trail – Portland Arch Nature Preserve Has Some Of The Best Hiking In Indiana
North Trail is a popular Indiana hiking trail in Portland Arch Nature Preserve and is one of the best things to do in the Midwest.
It is a 1-mile trail loop that will take you under the Portland Arch and offers a stunning view of the valleys, ravines, and sandstone cliffs. The trail leads you to Bear Creek where you can spend some time enjoying the valley views.
Apart from the natural arch and cliffs, you will also encounter diverse wildlife and fauna here. Honestly, this is a short but scenic trail for hiking in Indiana that you should explore.
Packing List For Hiking In Indiana
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring along when hiking in Indiana. It is always important to protect your personal information. Identity thieves are everywhere.
This unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind.
If you have a pouch already that does not come with the RFID protection, as I do, these RFID sleeves are the perfect solution.
This configuration comes with enough credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected. They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your pouch or wallet.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery. This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips.
It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have. And wow is it fast!
I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about, and if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek selfie stick and tripod setup for my birthday. I absolutely love it! It is made of lightweight aluminum and is so easy to use.
It has Bluetooth connectivity and is a breeze to use for taking selfies when visiting Michigan islands!.
Hydration is so important when traveling. You want to remain hydrated throughout your travels to support your immune system which in turn will be stronger to fight off any germs you will encounter during your travels.
You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for hiking and it fits nicely in the pocket of a backpack.
When filled with water, it is not too heavy to carry. And the charcoal filter ensures fresh clean water whenever you fill the Bobble.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium in your suitcase, or in your car.
Then this set of collapsible silicone foldable water bottles would work well for you. Would not take up much space at all.
You will want a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. then this foldable water-resistant backpack would be great.
Here I have presented 15 of the best hikes in Indiana. I know you will find just the perfect Indiana hiking trail that fits your requirements! Have fun.