South Bend Trail System
South Bend-St. Joseph County Trails
A new trail connecting South Bend’s Northside Riverwalk to Mishawaka’s Riverwalk along the newly re-built Northside Boulevard was dedicated on Friday, Nov, 2nd., 2012. The dedication was hosted by Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend and Mayor Dave Wood of Mishawaka. The new section is an extension of the Northside Riverwalk near 20th Street along the St. Joseph River. It crosses N. Ironwood Drive and runs eastward along Pleasant Street for a few blocks. At 26th Street the new trail turns south toward the riverbank. Historic stonewalls built by the Works Progress Administration in the mid-1930s line the riverbank between 26th and 27th Streets. The trail continues along Northside Boulevard until it meets with the Mishawaka Riverwalk at Logan Street. Old style post lighting has been installed along the trail, as well as, new trees, curbing and art by a local artist who lives near the trail. Pedestrian signals were also installed at the intersection of Logan Street and Wilson Boulevard connecting the two pathways.
With this new section of trail now complete, one can travel by foot or bicycle from Roseland, through South Bend to Mishawaka on connecting asphalt trails. A small break (less than one mile) in the trail system requires the use of bike lanes on Angela Boulevard.
Essentially, one can start at Darden Road and N. Dixie Way, in Roseland and travel westward on the Darden Road walkway. This walkway passes by Wheelock Park to the P.E. Lane-LaSalle Street Pedestrian Bridge which connects to the north end of Riverside Trail. The LaSalle Street Bridge is a great example of a late 19th century iron truss bridge. It is the only known truss bridge remaining in St. Joseph County and one of few left in extreme northern Indiana. On July 24, 1906 the bridge was floated down river from its original location at LaSalle Street to its current position on Darden Road. The LaSalle Street Bridge was declared a county landmark in 1978 because of the major role it played in St. Joseph County’s transportation history. Yet, it remained untouched and deteriorating until a group of citizens recognized its importance, fought to save it, and in 1997, the bridge was rehabilitated.
The Riverside Trail is 3.40 miles and runs along Riverside Drive on the west bank of St Joseph River through Riverside Park. A small parking area near the north end of the trail is available for trail users. The trail continues southward passing homes to the west and a tree lined park along the riverbank to the east. The trail goes over Cleveland Road, then under US 90, and through the water treatment plant and continues to snake around the river’s edge to the new Angela Boulevard round-about in South Bend.
By taking the bike lane eastward on Angela Boulevard one can access the north end of the .40 mile East bank Rail-Trail just east of Otsego Street. The East Bank Rail-Trail was the first rail-trail built in the state of Indiana. It runs southward through an historic residential area to Niles Street where the East Bank Walkway picks up for another 2.75 miles or so.
As the trail enters the downtown area, quaint cafes, shops line the trail. Some attractions include the East Race Waterway, the South Bend Dam and fish ladder at Sietz Park, and the South Bend Museum of Art. The East Bank Walkway continues along the edge of Howard Park, and then passes the Viewing Park, the Newman Recreation Center, and South Bend Farmers Market to Veterans Memorial Park.
The Northside Riverwalk begins at Veteran’s Memorial Park and continues along the riverbank through the Indiana University South Bend (IUSB) Campus. It then crosses the IUSB Bike Path Bridge and continues eastward until it meets the Mishawaka Riverwalk. Parking is available at Veterans Memorial Park.
The Mishawaka Riverwalk, a treat in itself, is a 2.50 mile loop which offers scenic views of the river from several viewing areas with plenty of seating. One can wander through the beautiful Beutter Riverfront Park and Kamm Island, both of which, sits along the south side of the St. Joseph River. Beautifully designed bridges with decorative concrete barriers separating vehicular traffic from pedestrians, cross the river at either end. Other parks along the Mishawaka Riverwalk include Kate’s Garden at the west end of the Riverwalk and Battell Park on Wilson Boulevard. The riverbank is lined with the original stonewalls of the 1930s, along with new complimentary stonewalls at the boat ramp just west of Kamm Island. At the east end of the Riverwalk, the first dam to cross the St. Joseph River roars loudly as the water rushes over the dam’s peak. Activities such as, walking, bicycling, watching nature in a peaceful setting, or watching a fisherman reeling in the “big one” from his boat are just a few things to enjoy on the Mishawaka Riverwalk.
Two other trails in South Bend are noteworthy. The West Bank Trail, a .45 mile trail, located near Howard Park on the other side of the river, and the nearly one mile LaSalle Blue Stem Rail-Trail, which runs south from Cleveland Road to Dublin Street in Roseland.
To sum it up, the South Bend Trail System is a recreational magnet for joggers, bicyclists, dog walkers, and sight seekers. It is a popular destination for residents, college students, and out-of-town visitors, and worthwhile trip to northern Indiana for anyone seeking an excellent trail experience.
Article by Norma Snyder