Martin State Forest Trails
Hikers are advised to wear hunter orange or other bright clothing while on trails during hunting season.
Woodland Education Trail:
The trail is approximately 1-1/4 miles long, or about one hour of easy walking. This is a self guided trail that will return you to your original starting point. Located on the trail are informational signs, which point out some interesting facts about the woodland environment. Hiking this trail will allow hikers an opportunity to better understand the philosophy of multiple-use management of Indiana’s state forests.
Besides the abundant natural beauty of the forest, you will see the interactions between people and the forest. Some examples include the picnic areas, an old demonstration timber harvest, a campground, and Martin lake. Also easily accessible from the trail via short spur trails are the Willow Valley Fire Tower and the Tower Hill Shelterhouse, structures that were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s.
We hope this trail will “whet your appetite” to explore and enjoy the entire forest. Further information is available at the forest office.
Tank Spring Trail:
Tank Spring Trail is a moderately rugged hiking trail situated in the hills of eastern Martin County. The trailhead is located along a county road approximately three miles from the Martin State Forest office. It can be reached by going straight south out of the forest entrance on State Road 650 and following the signs to the trailhead.
Tank Spring, which is the focal point of the trail, has an interesting history. It is thought that the spring, originally known as Green Spring, became known as Tank Spring because water from the spring was used to fill a tank along the old Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. At that time, train locomotives used the water in their steam engines. The tank was near the spot where the old town of Willow Valley once stood. Willow Valley was a regular railroad stop, but like many other similar towns, it has disappeared with the passing of the steam locomotive from the railroad system. Now only the name Tank Spring remains as a reminder.
The hiking trail was initially established in 1979 and led directly to Tank Spring. In 1980-81, a second section of trail was constructed which began at the Spring and followed a different route back, thus completing a loop and bringing the total trail length to three miles. Several Young Adult Conservation Corps (YACC) crews supplied the labor to build the trail.
Although the area is undeveloped except for the trail, it is not a backcountry area, and no camping or fires are allowed.
Sixty acres surrounding Tank Spring were dedicated as a Nature Preserve in 1997. This area contains a high quality example of mesic (moderately moist) upland forest community, sand stone cliffs and a permanent fresh water spring.
For more information, please contact the DNR Division of Nature Preserves at (317) 232-4052.
EASY, (.25 mile) – A short loop that’s adjacent to the office. It also connects to the Martin Lake Trail and has a .1 mile wheelchair accessible loop.
Martin Lake Trail
EASY, (.25 mile) – An easy walk around Martin Lake.
Hardwood Lake Trail
EASY, (.35 mile) – An easy hike around Hardwood Lake.
MODERATE, (.9/.5 MILES) – Starts behind the Cookshack Shelter and heads east; then drops downhill and follows the contour around to the north before dropping downhill almost to the creek; (a spur trail takes off to the east at this point, crossing firelane 6 and ending at firelane 19); the Cookshack Trail continues on to the north and then west until it intersects with the Woodland Education Trail. This portion of the trail is .9 miles long. To return to the Cookshack, turn south (left) on the Woodland Education Trail and follow it .5 miles to the spur trail that leads back to the Tower Hill Shelter and Cookshack Shelter area.
Mountain bike trails
Martin State Forest offers 7 miles of mountain bike trails. Mountain bikes are only permitted on those designated trails. For further details and a trail map, click the loop you are interested in riding.