Here in Hendricks County, we are very fortunate to have trails fit for hiking, biking, walking and horseback riding! Both the B&O and Vandalia trails are situated on old railroad beds. So, now instead of clickety-clack on the tracks, you regularly hear the rhythmic footfalls of joggers, the whirring sound of bicycle wheels on the paths and even a whinny or two through the trees! Vandalia Trail Now is the perfect time to enjoy these railway trails through the fields and forests of Hendricks County. The temperatures make it comfortable and the foliage and wildlife make it an enjoyable way to spend a little time surrounded by nature. It doesn't cost a cent and you might find a little surprise along the way…

The B&O Trail

The B&O Trail in Hendricks County has two 12-foot wide asphalt trails; 1.8 miles from Ind. 267 to County Road 300 North in Brownsburg, Ind., and 1.25 miles from Ronald Reagan Parkway east to Raceway Road. B&O Trail, Brownsburg, Ind. The B&O Trail will eventually run from Tibbs Avenue in Indianapolis through Marion, Hendricks, Putnam and Parke counties. Brownsburg resident, Diana Virgil started the development process in 1994. Now, she is president of the B&O Trail Association. But it wasn't until 2009 that the purchase from CSX of 16 miles of what was once the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad corridor was finally completed. The existing railway trails wind their way through fields and trees and across county roads. Intersections are complete with warning lights for user safety and to keep drivers alert.  Parking information is available in the Spring 2012 newsletter. Because the trails are paved and relatively short, people of all ages can make use of them. I've seen walkers, bikers (some with wagons), strollers and even a wheelchair enjoying the paths. B&O Trail Tunnel murals The tunnel near Ronald Reagan has become the place to go. What was once an eyesore filled with graffiti is now an interesting place to stop and catch your breath. The tunnel is filled with artwork and murals created by professional artists, retired art teachers, students and children. “It has become a destination and so now people just love to come down and look at them,” Virgil said. The B&O Trail has become a popular place for the community, and there are several development projects in the works. Virgil says that in the beginning, people weren't too excited about the trail, but now, people are out using it and asking when connections are planned and when additional sections will be added. If you start down the B&O Trail this fall to enjoy the beauty of nature, you’ll be able to say, “I remember when...” as you share the developments that will be coming in each season of the coming years.

The Vandalia Trail

Another railway trail growing in popularity is the Vandalia Trail. Named after the Vandalia Railroad that was replaced by the Pennsylvania Railroad, the trail follows the abandoned bed of the railroad corridor. I spoke with Greg Midgley, who was instrumental in getting the trail established beginning in 2004. Although there have been no formal counts taken, the trail is busy. Many walk or bike it every day and fall is one of the best times to enjoy the rustle of the leaves and the call of the birds. The natural rustic surface of the three miles of the Vandalia Trail between Amo, Ind., and Coatesville, Ind., is open for hikers and bikers out to enjoy the crisp fall air and beautiful fall foliage. The path is a natural surface with some sections of crushed stone. There is also an equestrian trail carved through the forest following the terrain that runs parallel with the bike and pedestrian path. Click here for maps and information about the parking that is available  for vehicles and horse trailers at both ends of the Vandalia Trail in Amo and Coatesville. Some sections of the railway trail continuing west on its way into Putnam County are under construction, yet still navigable. The equestrian trail west of Coatesville is also under construction. Once the entire length of the trail is open, it will be 12 miles long stretching from Amo to Greencastle in Putnam County. So before the snow flies, get acquainted with these two diverse railway trails here in Hendricks County. Who knows, you might just take up cross-country skiing or fancy a winter hike, and if so, you’ll know right where to go!