The best seven miles in Indy

If a running friend from out of town asked me to recommend a trail with oodles of variety and a high fun factor, I would immediately suggest Town Run Trail Park.

It’s located about three miles from my house, and I always have a great time running the seven-mile trail loop there.

I ran the loop early this morning and was in a great mood for hours afterward.

What I love about this trail is the incredible variety within a fairly small park. Look at these photos and you’ll see what I mean. In an hour or so, you run through woods, meadows, alongside a river and by a creek. There are twists and turns and a few challenging hills.

Short sight lines and lots of turns make this a fun, interesting trail.

The trail runs past a river and several creeks, but does not cross them.

Get ready to power up this hill.

This stretch of meadow is a nice change.

Better make this tight turn or you'll end up in the White River.

Over the meadow and through the woods...

It doesn't get much greener than Town Run Trail Park in May.

You also get a bit of workout. That’s because the trail loops back and forth dozens of times up and over an earthen dike about 15 feet high, so you really need to turn on the speed every few minutes to power over the steep, short hills.

Save your legs for another run to the top of the earthen dike.

The trail is primarily for mountain bikers, and contains lots of jumps and drops that bikers love. But hikers and runners are welcome too.

Mountain bikers would rather go over than around.

Everyone goes in the same direction, to avoid head-on collisions on the singletrack.

On paper, the course resembles a tangled fishing line: lots of loops, twists and turns. And that’s pretty much how it is on the actual course. Every 10 or 20 steps, you’ll have to change directions.

If you like running with short sight lines and lots of variety, you’ll love this course. On the other hand, if you like running in a straight line for mile after mile, you might want to go somewhere else.

The red line marks the trail. Good luck trying to figure it out on paper. But it's no problem in person. Just follow the loop.

 There are only a couple of drawbacks to this course. First, a short segment (maybe a half-mile) runs alongside a busy highway, and that can dampen a trail runner’s mood just a bit.

The other drawback is that the park closes when the trails become too muddy. The biking group that maintains the trails is extremely concerned about erosion (rightly so, I think) and doesn’t hestitate to slam the gates shut after too many days of rain. I’ve been turned away, disappointed, several times. But that’s life as a trail runner.

town run 2009 058

Even on a sunny day, you'll run into a muddy patch here and there.

However, when I’m in the mood for a beautiful, laid-back trail just a few miles from my house, this really scratches my itch.

And since I like loops, cool scenery, variety and don’t like to drive forever to find them, I really think this the best seven miles a trail runner will find in Indy.

The only tough part about today’s run was storm damage in a handful of place from yesterday’s thunderstorm. Several trees had fallen across the trail, requiring me to scamper over or around. Not that I really minded. It’s all part of the charm.

Here are a few more photos to tide you over, until you run this fun little trail yourself.

Gotta love the deep woods flavor on this trail.

I'm not sure what this tree is saying, but I'm guessing it's something like: "I wish more people would run this trail."

The beautiful greenery never ends on this trail.

town run 2009 009

This tree has been split down the middle for at least two years. Every time I pass it, I wonder what happened.

I can't wait to run this trail again.

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2 Responses to “The best seven miles in Indy”

  1. David Krahulik Says:

    Do you run with or against the mountain bike flow? Why? There has been some debate on the local mtb website as to which is safer. David Krahulik

    • Trail Boy Says:

      I run with the flow. So do most other hikers and runners I see out there. I figure it’s safer. Most days, I see only a handful of other people, so it’s not a huge issue. I’ll check out the debate. Thanks.

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