The landscape in Indiana has a magical beauty, awe-inspiring and bewitching. There are so many different views, that you can’t help fall in love with the diversity of this place, so there are plenty of opportunities to unravel its hidden gems. And if hiking is your thing, you came to the right place, as we’ll take you through a virtual, guided tour of this magnificent region.
Located in the south part of Indiana, these cliffs form a valley that stands out through imposing, unique features and a pleasant, cool weather. That’s because the cliffs are arranged so as to form a box canyon, and they shelter various waterfalls and lush vegetation.
They’re made from sandstone rock so you’ll see plenty of landforms corresponding to that. With outcrops and ravines, overhangs and caves, this Tar Springs Formation sandstone hides impressive springs and an underground drainage system.
The cool weather and the plentiful shade are just the things you’re looking for in the midst of a harsh summer. You’ll get to see cliffs covered with hemlock, but also different plants. The aromatic wintergreen, with its small leaves and red beans, is surrounded by the delicate, five-petaled wild geranium that looks like a little star.
Still, the most beautiful of all is the mountain laurel, with its delicate, bell-looking flowers. And if you take this hike in winter, you’ll walk through a Winter Wonderland with frozen waterfalls and snow-covered evergreen brush.
You’ll get to see all that in Hemlock Cliffs, along with rocky formations, large trees, and slippery rocks. And while you marvel at this stupendous scenery, you can imagine the Native Americans that used to walk these same trails thousands of years ago, taking shelter in canyons, drinking the clear water from the streams and bathing in the waterfalls.
The Knobstone Trail
If you’re into more strenuous hiking, then this trail is definitely for you. Considering it’s the longest one in Indiana and part of the Appalachian Trail, you’ll walk about 45 miles and 20,000 feet up in a few days’ time.
Since this hike lasts more time, you’ll need to make sure all your devices stay charged, so you can keep in touch with your family and friends at home. That’s why you might need the best external battery pack that’s easy to use even with no wall sockets. Besides, there might be weather warnings or alerts to consider, so you shouldn’t allow your smartphone to discharge.
This renowned trail is so liked for a reason: it harbors amazing views with tall ridges and lots of hills covered by forests. And if you happen to hike the Knobstone trail when it’s sunny and cloudless, you’ll see on the horizon the Ohio River and the city of Louisville.
The name comes from the way in which this landscape looks on a topography map: like it’s surrounding a knob, represented by the higher grounds of western Indiana. The hills have a button shape because they’re higher than the landforms below, with abrupt walls and very flat tops. So all this looks strange, but enchanting at the same time, with a natural path that’s a delightful hike.
You’ll walk through forests on practice trails, see amazing lakes like the Spurgeon Hollow and Deam, with lush vegetation that invites for a quick snooze. You’ll see streams and mushrooms, steep ridges, tall trees and a generous cover of leaves.
Charlestown State Park
This park covers a huge amount of land in Indiana, almost 5,100 acres filled with enviable vegetation, critters, and scenic trails. You’ll get to experience lots of different hikes around here, whether you prefer easier, day-long walks or more extended trips with overnight stays. This park is near the Ohio River too, so the landscape has been modeled accordingly.
With a lot of creeks and streams, it’s no wonder that Charlestown has such a magnificent vegetation. Consider, for instance, the Fourteen Mile Creek that has traces of a glacial era, so time also allowed the carving of legends, not just ridges. Devil’s Backbone is such a place, surrounded by an aura of mystery and stories about medieval Welsh warriors who built a fortress here.
But if that’s just a story, the Native American remains are not. Just like the Hemlock Cliffs, Charlestown is a place that abounds with historical artifacts of people and animals. Just imagine the Devonian fossils that still remain in this park, along with karst dolenes that cover underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves.
This park provides a generous shelter to over 70 species of birds too. The happy bluebirds will enchant you with their melodious songs for which many people actively try to attract these fellows in their backyards. Or you might get the chance to see the sociable black vultures, carrion feeders who value the company of their peers more than anything else. And if that still doesn’t motivate you, think about the once in a lifetime chance to meet a true American symbol, the courageous bald eagle. Still, it’s recommended to have high-power binoculars if you actually want to see them up-close.
There are six different trails you can hike here, each ranging from moderate to high intensity, and in the ballpark of 2-3 miles. You’ll walk through gravel roads, descend through floodplains and climb up valleys, admire wildflowers and ravines. You can enjoy a picnic and a few hours of rest before adventuring in the forestry hills with waterfalls and streams. With abrupt roads and ruins of 20th-century amusement parks, you can even encounter great fishing spots, hardwood forests, and platforms located right on top of more steep ravines.
What will you choose?
Just think of how many of these wonderful hikes Indiana has to offer you. There are plenty of scenic trails and varied landscape forms right at your fingertips. Or toes, for that matter. But we’re sure you’ll choose a terrific setting because that’s one thing you can absolutely be sure of when hiking in Indiana: the beauty of its scenery.
Rebecca lives in USA, but loves hiking all over the world. Her favorite is Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. It usually takes 16 days, but she likes to slow down, enjoy mountains, company of other adventurers and take more pictures, so it took her 28 days last time. Another of her passion is the ocean, so all short and long hikes along the ocean shore bring a lot of joy. She also writes for hikingmastery.com.