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Knobstone Hiking Trail
Southern Ind: Clark, Scott, Washington Counties
None, all rural
HRTC thanks Steve Morris, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and Peter Banta, Hoosier Hikers Council for their assistance providing detailed information in creating these maps.
For those of you who see the words “Indiana” and “backpacking” in the same sentence and jump to thoughts of endless rolling expanses of corn and soybeans, you may want to look again, especially at the Knobstone Trail region in the south-central part of the state.
Currently, the trail is a 58-mile hike over terrain known as the Knobstone Escarpment—an ancient geologic relic traversing steep ravines and narrow ridgetops overlooking valleys, farms, and waterways in between.
Its difficulty level is considered rugged, often serving as a training path for hikers who are getting in shape for the Appalachian Trail. So, for any long-distance hiking in this area, be sure to prepare carefully. Because of its character, only foot-traffic is allowed.
Delaney Park, west of Seymour, is located at the current north terminus, while Deam Lake State Recreation Area, near Louisville, KY, is at the southern end; so if you just want to take a day trip on the trail, and play in the lakes or fish, there’s that possibility, too.
As you walk picturesque hilltops, the tallest reaches over a thousand feet above sea level (hey, this is Indiana!), consider the ground beneath you. The rocks here used to be part of a very large delta system some 330 million years ago in the Mississippian Age, and are largely erosion-resistant siltstone.
Consider also, as you look down into the valleys along the Knobstone, that present-day Indiana was at one time located in equatorial latitudes.
As if that isn’t enough to think about, the Knobstone Trail builders plan a couple of extensions north through the Hoosier National Forest, continuing into Yellowood and Morgan-Monroe State Forests near Martinsville—about 40 miles south of Indianapolis. These extensions, when complete, will almost triple the trail length, and bring the hiker to the northern border of the escarpment.
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