Running or walking outdoors provides many health benefits for the body and mind. Parks and trail systems located throughout Hendricks County offer beautiful green space for outdoor activities. Put the two together, and runners and walkers of all abilities can easily find a course to accomplish their fitness goals while improving their overall health and wellness.

So, whether you are a visitor or resident, here is a list of the Top 10 reasons you should choose to run/walk in Hendricks County (in no particular order):

1. Safety

Running/walking on trail systems in or around parks is a much safer alternative to county roads due to fast moving vehicles and inconsistent road surfaces.

2. Cost Effectiveness

Without paying a dime, you can exercise in the fresh air and enjoy the natural beauty of Hendricks County. Most of the parks/trails have playgrounds and other recreational areas nearby which makes for budget-friendly family outings!

3. Choice of Paved or Unpaved Nature TrailsSodalis Nature Park trail

Hendricks County offers many trail options to accomplish your exercise goals for the day. Wanting to run/walk on a paved surface? Check out Avon Town Hall Park, 6570 E. U.S. 36, which has three trails totaling 1.5 miles or Hummel Park, 1500 S. Center St., Plainfield, with just over 3 miles of trails.

Prefer to hike/walk at a more leisurely pace? I would suggest McCloud Nature Park, 8518 N. Hughes Road, North Salem or Sodalis Nature Park, 7700 S. County Rd 975 E, Plainfield. The beautiful McCloud Nature Park boasts 6 1/2 miles of well-marked, unpaved trails. Sodalis Nature Park offers 3.5 miles of nature trails throughout the mature woodlands. 

A few parks offer a combo of paved and unpaved trails, such as Ellis Park and Blanton Woods, 600 E. Main St., Danville, and Williams Park, 940 S. Locust Lane, Brownsburg.

4. Long Distance TrailsB&O_Trail

Plainfield's Trail System is perfect for training for those long-distance runs/walks. This 15-plus mile trail system includes the Vandalia Rail, White Lick Creek, Clarks Creek, Hummel Park and Sugar Grove loops. All trails are paved so it's also ideal for cycling and skating. Click here for maps.

The B&O Trail in Brownsburg totals 7.8 miles. Parking is available at the trailhead, which is on Ind. 267 across from McCammon's Irish Market. The trail extends west to County Road 500 East and east to Raceway Road. 

5. Short Distance Trails

Hendricks County also offers short distance trails. A .78-mile loop surrounds Williams Park in Brownsburg. This course is suitable for beginners who prefer to alternate between walking and running. Arbuckle Acres Park, 200 N. Green St., Brownsburg, offers a 1.3-mile paved, walking trail that runs along White Lick Creek.

6. Beautiful, Natural Surroundings

This is one of the main reasons I enjoy exercising outdoors. Hendricks County prides itself on providing beautiful, well-kept and clean parks and trails. No matter the season, there is always natural beauty to view!

7. Opportunity to View Local LandmarksTruss bridge at McCloud Nature Park

Several Hendricks County local landmarks are located in/near trails and parks. You can see the historic 1876 Whipple Iron Truss Bridge within Washington Township Community Park, 115 S. County Road 575 East, Avon, while enjoying the 5-plus miles of trails.

Friendship Gardens, 850 Center St., which is along the Plainfield Trails System, features a stone waterfall, historic bridge and a Veterans Memorial.

A restored 101-year-old iron truss bridge also can be found at McCloud Nature Park.

8. Family-Friendly Recreational Areas

Children enjoy the many playgrounds, splash pads, basketball courts, creeks and fishing ponds located within/near parks and trails. Take time after a family run/walk/bike ride to check out these fun amenities.

My children love Blast Off playground and The Watermill Splash Pad at Williams Park. 

Other popular playgrounds include Washington Township Community Park, Hummel Park and Arbuckle Acres. Avon Town Hall Park features a 9-acre fishing lake, and a 5.5-acre fishing pond is located in Sodalis Nature Park, 7700 S. County Road 975 East, Plainfield. 

9. Easy Accessibility During Any SeasonPlainfield Parks & Recreation's White Lick Creek Trail (photo courtesy of Greg Midgley)

The majority of parks/trails in the county are either located on or near a main thoroughfare with plenty of parking available.

And as you can see from some of the pictures above, whether it is spring, summer, fall or even winter, it's a beautiful day or snow is on the ground, our trails are virtually always open and accessible.

10. Convenient to Local Establishments

Due to our parks/trails close proximity to main thoroughfares, many popular local establishments are only a short driving distance away. Here are a few examples:

Beasley's Orchard, 2304 E. Main St., Danville, is just minutes from Washington Township Community Park and the Danville parks and trails. The Shops at Perry Crossing, 2499 Perry Crossing Way, Plainfield, are located 4.5 miles from Hummel Park. Ellis Park and Blanton Woods are within walking distance of the quaint Downtown Danville.

As you can see, there are many reasons to visit Hendricks County's parks and trails. Come check them out for yourself and maybe find a few more reasons!