18 Best Hikes in Indiana: The Top-Rated Hiking Trails to Visit in 2023
By Tori Jane|Published July 10, 2023
Tori Jane is a storm chaser, writer, photographer, and the village idiot - in that order. When she's not out and about dancing with the meanest storms on planet Earth for funsies she can be found wandering, shooting landscapes, writing, editing photos, and otherwise up to no good. Legend has it that she can also be occasionally spotted typing up short bios in the third person, but those rumors are unsubstantiated.
Ask anyone who’s never been to Indiana what they think it’s like, and chances are they’ll mention something about “flyover” states and how there’s “nothing to do” here. Well, if you live here – or if you’ve simply been reading Only in Your State for a while – you know better. In fact, Indiana is an amazing state filled with natural wonders, and hiking in Indiana is second to none. And good news: the options are beyond plentiful and we have some of the best hikes in Indiana to get you started.
With 24 incredible state and National parks and 1,086 trails (seriously!) peppered throughout, the Hoosier State is pure perfection for lovers of the outdoors. What better way to explore than on foot via some of the best hiking trails in Indiana? Every time of year is a wonderful time of year for hiking – come out to Indiana and see just how!
Sometimes you want to go out and get your hike on without taking all day, night, or longer. Sometimes, we’re just not up for backpacking or journeying, and it’s in these cases that a short and easy Indiana hike is probably in order. You certainly don’t need to go out of your way to hike long, strenuous trails with little (or significantly delayed) reward. These short, sweet, and simple hikes in Indiana are the perfect way to indulge in the outdoors without taking all day.
No matter what you’re hoping to find in the great outdoors, you’re sure to find it in Indiana. From incredible waterfall hikes to astonishing views, amazing history, and so much more, hiking in the Hoosier State really is something special and unique. There are trails accessible to just about everyone, trails on the more challenging side reserved only for the most experienced, short trails, long trails, and everything in between. What follows is a long list of some of the best hikes in Indiana, spanning across all skill levels, and lengths, and with various highlights and delights. These trails are Indiana at its best, and you’re sure to find something that’s exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Best Short & Easy Hikes in Indiana
Sometimes you want to go out and get your hike on without taking all day, night, or longer. Sometimes, we’re just not up for backpacking or journeying, and it’s in these cases that a short and easy Indiana hike is probably in order. You certainly don’t need to go out of your way to hike long, strenuous trails with little (or significantly delayed) reward. These short, sweet, and simple hikes in Indiana are the perfect way to indulge in the outdoors without taking all day:
Hardest Hikes in Indiana
So, what’s the opposite of a short and sweet hike? Obviously, it’s a long and spicy hike, and thankfully for those of us who love those, Indiana’s home to several. While Indiana is not a mountainous region with tons of elevation changes and/or rock faces to scramble, it is pretty large, and many of our most amazing trails are as long as our state is “tall”, if that makes sense. Some trails even trek across the entirety of the Hoosier State, which is pretty cool – especially if you’re a backpacker and would prefer to ignore the three trails discussed previously. Check out these long, difficult hikes in Indiana if you dare!
What’s better than a long hike? Better than a short hike? Okay, what’s better than any old hike? How about a waterfront hike? We think yes. Few things are more relaxing and tranquilizing to the soul as water is, and whether it’s a river, a creek, a lake, or a beach, water plays a huge role in our lives and ought to be celebrated. What better way to celebrate than by doing some of the downright best waterfront hikes in Indiana? Seriously, see our lakes and rivers like never before on trails like:
Best Winter Hikes in Indiana
Who says you can’t go hiking during the winter? We sure don’t. Turns out, winter in Indiana is actually one of the best times to get out and hike. The trails that are open (and there are many) offer all sorts of breathtakingly beautiful winter views, and honestly, what DOESN’T look better dusted in a fine layer of brilliant white snow? These awesome cold-weather hiking trails in Indiana sure do. Dress warm and remember to pack water anyway: you’ll need it when your jaw drops a dozen times on each trail.
Best Hikes Near Indianapolis
Finally, we come to the capital city: Indianapolis, baby! Even if you’re used to the city and the bustle of city life, you probably still crave the outdoors sometimes. In that case, we’ve tracked down some of the most wonderful hikes in and nearby Indianapolis, so you never need to go that far. You’d be amazed at just how beautiful these trails are – being close to the city has, in this case at least, absolutely no ill effect on the quality of the nearby trails. Come out and see!
Truly, there is nowhere in the world like Indiana when it comes to hikes, hiking trails, and all things outdoors. This state is truly an amazing place, and there’s no better way to explore it in depth than on foot! With quite literally over 1,000 amazing hiking trails in Indiana to choose from, you might need an entire lifetime to do and see it all. Try AllTrails+ For Free and start planning your next great adventure.
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Best Hikes in Indiana
Tori Jane|July 03, 2023
Does Indiana have good hiking trails?
Indiana absolutely has wonderful hiking trails! When it comes to the best hiking in the United States, Indiana is one of the best hidden gems. Let's be real: folks don't really think of Indiana - or the Midwest in general - when it comes to awesome hiking trails, but perhaps they should. There are numerous amazing options for hiking in Indiana, such as:
The Low Gap Trail at Morgan Monroe State Forest - This trail is incredibly beautiful, and it consists of a ten-mile loop. It's a favorite among Indiana hikers for a reason (many reasons, really).
Hemlock Cliffs National Scenic Trail - If you're a lover of unique geology, this is the hike for you - it's even got a waterfall!
Adventure Hiking Trail - This is a lengthy, 21.7-mile adventure (it's even in the name) that offers top-notch river views along the way.
The best months to hike in Indiana are January through December - truly! There isn't a bad time to go hiking in Indiana, even when there's snow on the ground. There are amazing trails for every season, like:
Winter - Fall Creek Trail is found within Fort Harrison State Park and is definitely one of the most amazing cold-weather hikes in Indiana.
3. How many hiking trails are in Indiana?
At the time of this writing, there are more than 1,000 established hiking trails in Indiana. According to our friends at AllTrails, there are 1,086 hiking trails in Indiana. It would take a lifetime to do them all - but you can most certainly try (and we encourage it).