Hiking Options in Monroe County
As the Summer days wind down, the temperatures start to drop, and the leaves begin to lose their chlorophyll, resulting in such beautiful foliagae, I always love to make it a point to get outdoors as much possible before darker Winter days set in…and of course, one of my favorite outdoor activities is hiking. So I wanted to share my three top Fall hikes in (or near) Bloomington. It’s hard to limit it to just three, as I have many others I could share, but I have narrowed it down to those that are in Monroe County, with short, medium, and long distance options so that there is something for everyone! Read on to find out where to get in your trail time this season and also to view some photos of these spots…
1. Leonard Springs Trail (Short Distance-1.1 miles)
Located on the West side of Bloomington, Leonard Springs Nature Park is home to Leonard Springs Trail, which is a great trail if you want to get in a quick hike with some beautiful scenery! This trail is a loop, has some picnic tables along the way, and even has a waterfall! If you go to the right when you first start, you will go down a set of grated stairs and will pass by a waterfall on your left. If you stay straight, you will end at the waterfall and will be going up the stairs at the end. Either way is an enjoyable experience, and since it is such a short hike, you can definitely take your time if you’d like and take it all in!
2. North Shore Trail (Medium Distance-3 miles in and back)
Located on the North side of Bloomington near Griffy Lake, this in-and-back trail is 1.5 miles one way, making it a total of 3 miles. This is a beautiful trail that runs along Griffy Lake and the lake is visible much of the time during the hike. This hike is moderate-rugged, so be prepared with good shoes, and it also has ascending and descending parts to it. The trail is also surrounded by trees, and it makes a great Autumn hike if you are wanting to take in the beauty of the changing leaves. There are usually many birds here and at times other wildlife that you may spot, making this an overall amazing hike!
3. Pate Hallow Trail (Long Distance-7.7 miles)
Located on the Southeast side of Bloomington off of IN-446 and near Lake Monroe, this 7.7 mile loop is one of my favorite trails in the area! The trail is surrounded by trees for the entire loop and there are views of Lake Monroe for part of the hike if you do the entire loop. There is quite a bit of up-and-down with this trail and it is rugged at parts, so again for this one, be sure to wear the appropriate shoes. If you aren’t up for the full 7.7 miles, the loop can be cut down (approx. 3 miles or so) if you stay on the wider logging road instead of veering off to the right when you come to the first split (keep in mind, opting for the shorter route will result in no views of the lake). This trail is very well-marked, and in my opinion, is one of the best spots in Monroe County to take a long hike!
So there you have it…my three favorite hikes for Fall in Bloomington! All of these trails are dog-friendly (as long as they are leashed, of course), and each one offers a unique hiking experience. Happy hiking!
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” -Albert Einstein
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