Sunday, August 18, 2013

5 family-friendly hikes around Indianapolis

Lately we've been blessed with a few more weekend days with my husband, so we've been hitting the road to find some of the best hiking areas within a drive of Indianapolis.

1) Eagle Creek Park: Located on the northwest side of Indianapolis, Eagle Creek is not lacking for things to do: from hiking trails to fishing and boating to naturalist activities. The only downside it seems is that everyone in town has discovered it. There is an entrance fee, and be prepared to pay more if you don't live in Marian County.

2) Mounds State Park: A short trek up I-69 into Anderson, Mounds State Park is packed with history, a great kid-friendly interpretive center, camping, and hours of trails. I will say even the "rigorous" ones were good for my five-year-old; it's more about the incline of the steps than anything.  It's home to earthworks by the Adena-Hopewell people dating to 160 B.C. We were charged a $5 entrance fee for the car.

3) Morgan-Monroe State Forest: Tucked off of State Road 37 in Martinsville, Morgan-Monroe State Forest is on our repeat list for a day of picnicing and hiking and perhaps camping. The kids loved the more challenging switchback trails and rivers interrupted by bursts of sunshine. There is no entrance fee.

4) Southeastway Park: Just past I-74 in southeast Indianapolis, Southeastway Park is a great stop for southsiders who feel the need to hike but can't commit to a long hike or drive time. We discovered this park when looking for native wetlands for a patch our Brownie troop was looking on. No entrance fee; and there are wonderful programs throughout the year, including the annual BugFest coming up on Aug. 25.

5) Holiday Park: In North Indianapolis off of Spring Mill Road, Holiday Park has been an easy excursion for us since we discovered it a few years ago with a day care field trip. They have a fabulous nature center, trails and programs for young children. No entrance fee.

Have you found other areas to hike in and around Indianapolis? Share your favorites.

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