Favorite Hikes
Porcupine Mountains Knobstone Trail Loyalsock Trail
Horse-Shoe Trail Black Forest Trail Turkey Run

Revised September 30, 2001

Location, History, and General Information

The Knobstone Trail is located in southeastern Indiana, beginning about 20 miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky. The trail can be reached from various points in the vicinity of State Routes 60, 160, 56, and 135. Eight parking areas serve trailheads along its path. Detailed information about the Knobstone Trail is available from the Division of Outdoor Recreation, 402 W. Washington St., Room W271, Indianapolis, IN 46204. The trail guide consists of a large pair of topographic maps (north and south ends of the trail) with extensive driving directions to the trailhead parking areas (best driving directions we've ever seen in trail guides) and brief hiking descriptions of each segment between trailheads. Distance between trailheads varies from about five to about twelve miles. Information in the next paragraph comes from the trail guide.

The Knobstone Trail is Indiana's longest footpath -- a 58-mile backcountry hiking trail passing through Clark State Forest, Elk Creek Public Fishing Area, and Jackson-Washington State Forest. The trail presently extends from near Deam Lake, just north of State Route 60 in Clark County, to Delaney Park, just east of State Route 135 in Washington County. The trail traverses land with extreme relief distinguished by narrow, relatively flat-topped ridges typical of the Knobstone Escarpment, one of Indiana's most scenic areas, rising more than 300 feet above low-lying farmland in some areas as it snakes northward from near the Ohio River to just south of Martinsville. There are "KT" posts (4-foot posts with the letters "KT" in yellow near the top) at the entrance roads to the trailheads. 2-inch by 6-inch white paint blazes near eye level on trees to the right of the trail mark the location of the trail.

Our Hiking Experiences WE FINISH THE KT ON APRIL 21, 2001!
After we made the decision in March, 1998, to move from Pennsylvania back to our home region of the Midwest, one of the things we felt we'd miss most was hiking the trails of north central Pennsylvania. Just as Aimee had helped us locate the Loyalsock Trail there from a tourism information brochure, she managed to procure a substantial collection of tourism information for Indiana before moving and within a short time after our arrival in July, 1998. One of the brochures mentioned the Knobstone Trail, which Mike was pleased to learn was a 58-mile footpath -- almost the same length as the 59-mile Loyalsock Trail -- following the Knobstone Escarpment -- a scenic ridge with a name that reminded us of the Escarpment Trail in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, another of our favorite hiking areas. 

We were able to find some additional online information about the KT, including a complete JPG image of the trail guide, before making our first trip on October 15, 1998. We began by driving to the Deam Lake State Recreation Area, located about a mile north of State Route 60, west of Interstate 65 at Exit 7. There, we procured a hard copy of the trail guide, and drove about two miles to the KT trailhead on Wilson Switch Road. 

Since we began hiking the trail, mile posts have been added (sometime in 1999). Also, additional online maps of individual trail segments have been added to the official website. These maps indicate positions of the mile markers. Finally, an additional trailhead -- Oxley Memorial -- has been added between Elk Creek and Spurgeon Hollow. 

On the warm windy Saturday of April 21, 2001, we hiked our final segment along the eastern part of the Spurgeon Hollow Loop to complete the Knobstone Trail.  Maria hiked the entire 3.2 mile distance back to the car on her own feet, tying her personal best.  Dad told her that she should be especially proud because not many five-year-olds have completed the KT.  He estimates that she covered 15 to 20 miles of the total distance on her own feet -- including virtually the entire Spurgeon Hollow Loop --  and the remainder in his backpack carrier.

It may have been due to drought during the times we hiked, but our impression of the 14 southernmost miles was that every streambed was dry and that the trail traversed no swampy areas. Beyond that point, we've seen small streams and some flowing water and a good amount of mud, and some small lakes at Elk Creek and Delaney Park. One thing we can say with certainty -- one of the most common plants along the path is poison ivy. After a while, Mike just ignored it -- he doesn't seem to be susceptible. Aimee, whom we know is allergic, usually remains blissfully oblivious, but has never had a reaction. Maybe it's not as potent in the fall after drought. Maria actually grabbed a leafy poison ivy plant on our September 25, 1999 hike, with no apparent ill effects. 

Please use the links below to see descriptions of our experiences along individual segments. 

Aimee at Mile 3Aimee posing at mile marker 3 on September 18, 1999. We hiked south from the Jackson Road trailhead until reaching the point to which we'd gotten the previous year hiking in the opposite direction from the Deam Lake trailhead. The mile markers apparently were new as we didn't recall seeing them during our pair of 1998 hikes. 

Aimee and Maria stop for lunchAimee and Maria at our lunch stop between miles 3 and 2 on September 18, 1999. We covered about 6 1/2 miles round trip including a steep descent and ascent (both ways) into a valley formed by Berry Run. 

Water on the KTOn January 8, 2000, Aimee poses near a stream which was one of the first sources of flowing water we saw along the KT, near mile 16. The climate in Southern Indiana is often suitable for winter hiking -- temperatures were close to 50 degrees that day. 
 
First KT hike begins Mike and Maria posing on October 15, 1998, near the sign that marks the mile zero KT trailhead near Deam Lake. 

Spurgeon Hollow Loop -- Miles 40.7 to 43.9 (East), 40.7 to 44.6 (West), 1.5 mile unnumbered segment

Delaney Park Loop -- Miles 43.9 to 47.5 (East), 44.5 to 45.5 (West), 1.5 mile unnumbered segment

Oxley Memorial Trailhead -- Miles 34.7 to 37.1, 37.1 to 40.7

Elk Creek Trailhead -- Miles 27.8 to 31.6, 31.6 to 34.7

Leota Trailhead -- Miles 21.0 to 24.8, 24.8 to 27.8

New Chapel Trailhead -- Miles 14.0 to 16.9, 16.9 to 21.0

State Route 160 -- Miles 8.7 to 11.2, 11.2 to 14.0

Jackson Road Trailhead -- Miles 2.3 to 4.8, 4.8 to 6.3, 6.3 to 8.7

Deam Lake Trailhead -- Miles 0.0 to 2.3

Other Knobstone Trail Information & Resources

Welcome to the Knobstone Trail -- Official Knobstone Trail Page from the Indiana Division of Outdoor Recreation --
includes much of the trail guide brochure AND scanned trail guide maps in .JPG format

The Knobstone Trail -- A great site by www.indianaoutfitters.com --
includes maps, driving directions, trip reports, and photos, a truly comprehensite site

Knobstone Trail -- Part of "Get Out of Town! An Online Guide to Hoosier Natural Areas"

A Knobstone Journal -- Description of a 4-day through hike of the KT

Delaney Creek Park -- Official site maintained by Delaney Park, the county park located at the northern end of the KT

"Hiking Indiana," by Phil Bloom -- This recent (2000) book by the award-winning outdoors editor
of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette includes an 18-page section with trail descriptions for all segments of the KT,
mileage information, maps, driving directions, and more
 

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