TRAVEL AND EXPLORE
Central Canal Towpath
The Central Canal Towpath is a scenic, mostly dirt and crushed limestone path. Good starting points include Butler University, farther north at the intersection of Broad Ripple Avenue and College Avenue, and at the eastern end where the path ends at the Monon Trail. The round trip from Broad Ripple to 30th Street and back is about 10 miles. A stone marker showing many landmarks and the distances between them is at the edge of the path at 52nd Street.
Fall Creek Trail
The Fall Creek Trail is a narrow asphalt path that runs along the creek from which it takes its name. It is popular with families and many runners and skaters. The scenery is dominated by large trees and the trickle of the creek. The south end of the path is around 43rd Street, and the trail goes north to just past Emerson and 56th Street. The course is 2.75 miles from end to end. It is marked at ¼-mile increments in white paint.
Eagle Creek Park
Eagle Creek Park is one of the largest city-owned parks in the nation and is probably the best place to run trails within the city. The park is located on the northwest side of Indianapolis and includes 5K, 8K and 10K certified road courses, along with an uncertified 7K course, that all begin near the beach parking lot. Each course is clearly marked with road signs. The terrain is flat in places and gently rolling in others.
There are also many miles of dirt trails for the off-road crowd. The most popular is called “Blue Man Trail,” thanks to the markers consisting of the outline of a man in blue with walking poles. The loop is roughly 6 miles. Ask for a map at the gate so you can plan your distances. Note that there is a charge for admission, but it’s worth it. Eagle Creek Park hours vary during the year.
The Monon Trail is the main rail-to-trail path from Indy Parks. It is open from dawn to dusk. The path is exceptionally smooth asphalt, lined with trees on both sides, and there are two beautiful bridges and countless backyards into which to peek. The current northern endpoint is in Westfield, north of 161st street, and the trail is being extended through Westfield to Sheridan. The southern endpoint meets the Cultural Trail in Indianapolis. It’s possible to take the Cultural Trail west to the center of downtown Indianapolis. While the entire trail should be safe during the day, those unfamiliar with the area and running alone may want to stay north of 52nd Street or run along the Cultural Trail unless the Monon Trail is somewhat busy.
Canal Walk - The Zoo Loop
The zoo loop is another popular race route, but it is also a wonderful “Heart of the City” run. There are two routes of 3.3 and 5 miles. Start at the corner of Capitol and Washington Streets, go west to the zoo, then north along the White River Parkway. For the 3.3-mile loop, turn right on New York and go past the IU Track stadium, and the Natatorium. For the 5 miler, turn right on 10th street, past the former Wishard Hospital and the Canal Overlook, and then loop around Monument Circle.