Knobstone Trail
Segments Accessed From
State Route 160
Miles 8.7 to 11.2, 11.2 to 14.0
Total Distance approximately 7.0 miles

Revised September 8, 2001

State Route 160 to Pixley Knob Road, doubled back, October 23, 1999
State Route 160 to mile marker 14, doubled back, November 6, 1999
 
According to the official KT guide, there is a 12 mile segment between the Jackson Road and New Chapel trailheads.  Fortunately for dayhikers, the trail is conveniently accessed almost exactly in the middle of this segment as it crosses Indiana State Route 160, at mile 11.2.

This trail crossing is located about 4 miles west of Exit 19 of Interstate 65, or about 14 miles east of Salem.  If you come from the Salem direction, follow State Route 60 east from the south end of town, then turn left onto SR 160 in about a mile.  SR 160 is a winding road with a warning sign telling trucks to avoid it if traveling to I-65.

Coming from the I-65 direction, you will enter a wooded area about three or four miles.  The KT crosses the road at this point, and there is a convenient pulloff for parking where the shoulder is wider.  If you are coming east from Salem, you'll pass Pixley Knob Road on the right, then drive through the wooded area about a mile before encountering the trail crossing.  It's best to drive past then turn around, because there's not room to park on the side of the road in the eastbound direction.  Assuming you've done this, starting up the hill on your side will lead to mile 12, while crossing the road and starting uphill on the other side will lead to mile marker 11. 

For our third KT hike of the fall, and our first after returning from completing the Black Forest Trail in north central Pennsylvania the weekend before, we headed south toward mile marker 11 on October 23, 1999.  The initial climb from road level was relatively steep, taking us past mile marker 11 then reaching the ridgetop in about a quarter mile more.  This gave us about 3/4 mile of flat hiking before we began to drop and rise again, though not as far, in the vicinity of mile marker 10.  Shortly after passing the marker, the trail turned in a westerly direction before curving back to the south.  At one point, there was a vista to the south where the buildings of downtown Louisville could be seen in the distance beyond the hills.

The trail began to trend slightly in a downhill direction as we continued, passing mile marker 9, then finally dropped moderately in the last tenth of a mile or so, emerging from the woods to cross Pixley Knob Road.  Pixley Knob is an extremely narrow road, and it is NOT possible to park a car at the trail crossing, the way it is possible along SR 160.

After taking some photos to prove we'd hiked to Pixley Knob Road, we backtracked up the hill to mile marker 9, which was our snack stop for the hike.  When we resumed, Dad let Maria hike on her own two feet, but she only went a little over a quarter mile before asking to be carried again.  The remainder of the return trip to the car was uneventful.  This was the last time we were able to appreciate a vista of downtown Louisville, since it's not visible any further north on the trail. 

Two weeks later, we returned to the same parking spot along SR 160 to hike uphill in the opposite direction.  The beginning climb to the ridgetop seemed to take longer, so it wasn't as steep as the other side had been, but it sure felt like it was.  Mile marker 12 was near the top, and we also passed a communication tower and some other buildings as the trail turned west and began to parallel a gravel road for about 3/4 mile.  Shortly after the trail crossed the road, it began to head somewhat downhill and passed mile marker 13.  We continued down to a crossing of Bowen Run.  The map showed a lake about 1/4 to 1/2 mile downstream, but we didn't see anything.  Having hiked the 13 southernmost miles of the KT at this point, we were beginning to doubt that there was any water anywhere!

We rose somewhat steeply out of the riverbed about a quarter mile, then the trail flattened out for most of the remaining 1/2 mile where we reached mile marker 14, our stopping point for the day.  Although Maria had hiked nearly two miles on her feet the previous month in Pennsylvania, we have no record of any hiking on her own this day.  On the return trip, we did make one concession by following the gravel road rather than the trail for about 3/4 mile.  Aimee was worried as always that we would miss reconnecting with the trail, but the communication tower was a good landmark to tip us off that it was time to leave the road.  After nearly six miles of hiking, it was good to have a downhill segment at the end, although the final steep drop to the road was nearly as slow going down as it had been going up.

MARIA'S HIKING ON HER OWN TWO FEET: 

October 23: 0.3 miles covered on the KT.  Dad was hoping for a repeat of the 1.8 miles she'd done the previous weekend in Pennsylvania.
November 6: Maria didn't feel like hiking, as far as we can tell.

Mike and Maria at mile 11Dad and Maria have just begun hiking up from State Route 160 on October 23, 1999, when they encountered mile marker 11.  The steepness of this segment as it rises from road level to ridgetop is evident in the background behind them, and also by the wooden treads across the trail.  It's usually beneficial to start uphill, so that you'll be going downhill at the end when you are most tired.  But when a segment is this steep, it's almost as hard to go down!
Mike and Maria at mile 10Dad and Maria pass mile marker 10 on a pleasant fall hiking day.  Here, the trail follows a less steep path as it winds through a wooded area.  Shortly after mile 10, the trail skirts the sidehill facing to the south, giving a great vista including downtown Louisville about 20 miles distant.
Aimee at Pixley Knob Road crossingThis was our turnaround point for the October 23, 1999 hike.  Aimee looks like quite the hiker next to the KT post which marks the trail crossing at Pixley Knob Road, near mile 8.7.  As the photo indicates, the road is too narrow for parking a car at this trail crossing, which is why we parked ours along State Route 160.
Mike and Maria at mile 12Maria's full of smiles for this photo at mile marker 12 on our November 6, 1999 hike.  Dad seemed a little irked -- probably a combination of impatience with Mom dawdling with the camera and exhaustion from climbing to the ridge over the first 3/4 mile of the day's hike.
Mom near downed treesNow it's Mom's turn -- it was bad enough having to evade the pair of downed trees across the trail, then Dad insisted on setting up a photo op.  As Dad recalls, this was in the general vicinity of mile 13.5 as we made the return trip to our car that afternoon.

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