The Cardinal Greenway, at just over 60 miles, is the longest span of recreational bike trails in Indiana. This rail to trail system takes it's name from the last passenger train line that used these rails. The Cardinal line ran from Chicago to Washington DC and in turn it's name came from the state bird of all five states it traversed.
Beginning in Richmond and ending in Marion, the trail crosses through Wayne, Randolph, Henry, Delaware, and Grant counties. While most of the trail is converted railway, the section from Gaston to Gas city is an on-road trail with bicycle lanes.
The northernmost section of the system offers beautiful tree lined, winding trails with wooden bridges and parks along the way. This section is quiet and peaceful in a mostly rural setting.
There are a few notable stops in this area, like Kammy's Kafe, a Mom-and-Pop style eatery located in an old post office across from the trail in Jonesboro. The Barking Cow in Gaston is also a popular spot for ice cream and more.
The middle section running through Muncie is a little more populated. There are plenty of places to stop and shop or maybe grab a bite or a tasty beverage. The Greenway headquarters is also located in Muncie in the historic Wysor Street depot. This refurbished 1900s-era depot boasts original woodwork, a gift shop, and turn of the century fixtures in the restrooms. Guys, be sure to check out the huge urinal in the men's room. Ladies, you'll just have to hear the stories.
The southern section leading out of Muncie becomes rural and peaceful again. There are connecting trails at Medford that lead into the Prairie Creek park recreational trails. The trail continues near highway 35 all the way to Richmond. Rolling through farm towns and fields this section of the trail offers beautiful views and lots of wildlife along the way. The general store in Losantville offers sandwiches and drinks. This stop is pretty much the last chance for food until you reach the Richmond area.
With more than 20 trail heads, the trail can be accessed from many different areas along the system. Most trail heads have restrooms, parking areas, and an interpretive display with trail or local history.
The Greenway headquarters in Muncie also offers FREE cruiser rental with a valid ID. So grab a bike or take a hike on Indiana's longest recreational trail system and see what it has to offer for you.
Images courtesy of Cardinal Greenway.org
For more information you can also go to www.cardinalgreenways.org