McCloud Park Trail
Just west of Indianapolis , in Hendricks County which is the next county over, there is a chance to wander past native prairie grasses, wooded areas, along crystal-clean creeks and through glacial ravines, on trails of gravel, dirt, or grass surfaces in McCloud Nature Park . The park is situated in the Big Walnut Creek vicinity, a tributary of the southern Eel River .
Trails here are well-marked and maintained and are comprised of six short pathways that total about six miles. All the trails are for hikers only, and they are rated easy to moderate.
McCloud Park is 232 acres. It boasts more than 90 species of birds, making it a popular spot for viewing them, along with other native wildlife that includes white-tailed deer, many amphibians and mammals. Great blue herons and kingfishers can be spotted at the frog pond or on Big Walnut Creek which some of the trails pass by. This area is a good butterfly-watching place, too.
The park has a 1913 Warren through truss bridge, originally used across Big Monon Ditch in Pulaski County , Indiana . For paddlers, a canoe launch is located on the creek. To further your enjoyment there are park benches, picnic tables, barbecue pits, shelters, and gazebo, as well as plenty of parking.
A centerpiece of McCLoud Park is the large nature facility, offering activities year around for all ages. There are informative exhibits, interactive programs about native animal species and a bird viewing room. The nature center also features interactive computer exhibits and special learning stations for kids to make nature study easy and fun. Field trips are available, too. Activity and learning sessions offered include Orienteering, Aquatic Ecology, Insects, Birds, among other subjects.
Another convenient service from this park is the availability of equipment for fishing, for example, or even a bird-watching kit, that may be checked out for public use.
McCloud Nature Park is just south of North Salem , on North Hughes Road , with hours from dawn to dusk. A couple of notes regarding trails: the B & O corridor is about a mile south of the park, and the Vandalia Trail corridor, part of the National Road Heritage Trail project, is also not far south. Or, if you visit the park on Labor Day weekend, remember that the North Salem community hosts Old Fashion Days at that time. This park is maintained and administered by Hendricks County Parks and Recreation.