Posted on February 23, 2017 by Indiana's Cool North
No one writes poems about taking the road more traveled. Some of the best moments of discovery happen off the beaten path—and there is so much to discover along Northern Indiana’s extensive bike trails. So ditch driving, and explore the natural beauty, Amish ambiance, and diverse landscapes of Indiana’s Cool North on two wheels along these awesome trails.
Where: Shipshewana and Goshen
Length: 13 Miles
Named for its series of turns and curves, the Pumpkinvine Trail covers 13 miles, with just 1.5 miles of it on paved road. This trail connects Shipshewana to Goshen and will take bikers over rivers as it winds through the beautiful Amish countryside. You’ll cycle past horse-drawn buggies, farms, country schools and flower gardens for an authentic Amish country experience. This trail is a favorite for families and suitable for all ages. If you’ve still got some gas in the tank by the time you reach Goshen, keep on trucking along…
Where: Goshen and Elkhart
Length: 4.8 Miles
Where one trail ends, another begins. At the end of the Pumkinvine Trail in Goshen, bikers can travel through the heart of Goshen to the south side of Elkhart along Mapleheart Trail. The trail is nearly 5 miles long and cuts through beautiful Oxbow Park. It’s a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the area’s abundant plant life and wildlife habitats. Take a break from pedaling and enjoy a game of horseshoes or disk golf, take a shot at the archery range, or let the kids burn off a little more energy at the playground. If you’re in the area during autumn, it’s the perfect way to take in some vibrant fall foliage.
Where: Hobart and Chesterton
Length: 10.4 Miles
The Prairie Duneland Trail is considered the “crown jewel” of Indiana bike trails. This easy-to-navigate concrete path stretches over 10 miles through one of the most beautiful natural and unique ecosystems in Indiana. You won’t just find the wide open spaces of the prairies here—the trail also passes through quiet suburbs and a dense hardwood forest. It’s also popular among inline skaters, walking groups, and cross country skiers in the winter. The trail is wheelchair accessible so everyone can enjoy the great outdoors in Indiana’s Cool North.
Where: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Length: 9.1 Miles
Get lost in nature on this dirt and crushed limestone path, which winds through forests, marshes, dunes, and beaches. Plus, it’s easily accessed from Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park. Some of the coolest things to see along the trail are the Cowles Bog—an 8,000-year-old marshland—and Mount Baldy, a 123-foot tall sand dune. Looking for a little flower power? In the late summer, Calumet Bike Trail is strewn with gorgeous wildflowers like blazing stars, asters, and great blue lobelia.
Where: North Liberty
Length: 6.7 Miles
Looking to break in to mountain biking? The bike trail in Potato Creek State Park is the place to go! This beginner-level trail—a mix of paved paths, grassy fields and dirt lanes—weaves through the thick woods and wetlands that surround the park. With its smooth flow and a couple of challenges thrown in, the trail is a great introduction to this exhilarating outdoor sport. The park also has great hiking trails and boat rentals if you’re looking to shift gears.
Where: South Bend
Length: 6 Miles
Volunteers from the Indiana Mountain Bike Association came together to create the Rum Village Pathway. Whatever your experience level, this single track playground will challenge bikers of all levels of experience. Full of winding turns through mostly flat wooden areas, it’s a fun track to fit in a good workout.
Where: Winona Lake
Length: Single Track
This wooded trail sets the standard for mountain biking sites in Indiana. Climbing hills and rolling through some flatter areas, intermediate cyclists will find this trail well-suited to their ability. For those searching for an easier ride, new paths have been created recently around Winona Lake and it’s now a popular spot for bikers of all levels.
Now that you’ve got plenty of trails to keep your wheels spinning, it’s time to plan the rest of your adventure in Indiana’s Cool North! Check out all of the eclectic things we’ve got to see and do.