Top 5 Indianapolis Hikes

Indianapolis Hikes

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We’ve been awaiting the sunshine, and the time has come to get out and enjoy it! Indianapolis isn’t known for being a hotspot for hikers, but some great hidden gems around town provide some great views of nature and the city. Hiking (or adventuring, as I like to call it) is a great way to explore the city and get some movement into your day!

Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve

As one of the two nature preserves in Hamilton County (just a hair north of Indy), this is an excellent way to spend a day off! Admission is free, and you can enjoy nine trails that meander around the 127 acres of the park. The preserve is open from dawn to dusk for hiking, running, watching birds, or just spending time outdoors. Ritchey Woods offers trails ranging from 0.10 miles to 0.55 miles in length for those looking for shorter hikes.

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Fort Harrison State Park

On the northeast side of Indianapolis, you’ll find 1,700 acres of land that makes up the Fort Harrison State Park. This unique park gives you the chance to combine a little history with your time outdoors. The former Citizen’s Military Training Camp is also preserved on-site. The park’s Museum of 20th Century Warfare is also open to learn more about the soldiers who frequented old Fort Harrison. Depending on the season, visitors can also canoe, fish, and picnic onsite at the park. You’ll also find a dog park, a sit-down restaurant, and bike trails.

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The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres

This is one of the most unique parks to visit in Indianapolis! The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset, and the parking is free. The Fairbanks Art & Nature Park is one of the nation’s largest art museum parks, and it is constantly commissioning new artwork to accent the park and its paths. In their latest additions to the park, you’ll find bird feeding stations, a nesting platform to attract birds of prey, and a wild grass labyrinth. After exploring the park, you can always head indoors at Newfields to see the latest art installations – entrance fee required. 

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Eagle Creek Park

Inside the 3,900 acres of forest inside this park, there are trails for all kinds of hikers – new and seasoned! Plus, it’s only 15 minutes from the heart of downtown. Hikes inside the park take you around some of the park’s other amenities, such as the Rowing Center, Go Ape Treetop Adventure, a Bark Park, and the Peace Learning Center. Plus, you can take a walk on the bridge over Lilly Lake. You could even get lucky and see some bald eagles flying overhead during your visit.

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Crown Hill Cemetery

DO NOT let this freak you out! It’s not morbid. It’s not scary! It’s the nation’s 3rd largest cemetery AND the largest green space inside of I-465. It’s a national treasure right here in our city. You can walk through 555 acres of rolling hills, see some deer and over 110 species of trees. If you like a paved path versus the rugged trail terrain, this is an excellent option for you. Plus, you can bring the dog along! For one of the best views of the Downtown Indianapolis skyline, visit the gravesite of the famous Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley. Standing at his gravesite puts you at the highest hill in Indianapolis and all of Marion County at 842.2 feet above sea level.

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Marian University EcoLab

Now, hear me out – this is a true hidden gem in the city limits! The Nina Mason Pulliam-EcoLab at Marian University is a 75-acre natural area that’s open to the public. It features various rare habitats and animal species that are threatened or endangered within a couple of miles of downtown Indianapolis. Even kids can enjoy a fun and easy hike here. The path to the pond is mostly rock, and the steep stairs may prove challenging for younger explorers. The trails at the EcoLab may be a little difficult to navigate on your first visit. If you rely on Google Maps, the path may lead you to the building instead of the actual trailhead. You can use these coordinates: 39.816129, -86.203081 to find the trailhead!

Marott Park

Marott Park is a hidden gem that’s located near Park Tudor School. It has wide-open spaces that are ideal for picnics, outdoor parties, and Frisbees. But the hills are what you’ll encounter once you get to the woods. There are also plenty of crannies and nooks to explore. Williams Creek will eventually be laid out once you’ve walked down the valley. Follow the creek and look for water creatures. This is an excellent place for families with dogs and kids to enjoy a fun day out.

When the Indy weather finally decides what it will be, get out and enjoy the sunshine and the views! Indianapolis has some beautiful pathways for you to explore!


TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS: Where are you spending time outdoors when it warms up a bit?

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