Trail

Edesses Trail

Indianapolis, IN
Length: 3.00 mi.
Type: Loop

About This Trail

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ACTIVITIES: Hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, birding, playgrounds

DIFFICULTY OF TERRAIN: Easy– moderate

PARKING FEE/PASS: $5 county residents/$6 out-of-county residents

TOILETS: Yes

CHANGING TABLE: Yes

NURSING BENCHES: Yes

DOGS ALLOWED: Yes

BIKES/HORSES/MOTORS ON TRAIL: No

CELL RECEPTION: Good

DRINKING WATER AVAILABLE: Yes

POTENTIAL CHILD OR BABY HAZARDS: Steep hills, uneven terrain, portion of trail surrounded by water, lake/reservoir

GEAR SUGGESTIONS: Good footwear, child carrier, hiking poles, insect repellent, sunscreen, snacks, water

This adventure is more of a city adventure because Eagle Creek is the largest municipal park in the US, covering 3,900 acres of land and 1,400 acres of water within the Indianapolis city limits. While most cities have parks, few can boast that in the morning you might see a mother deer nursing her little one as you hike along one of the 6-mile trails and then kayak a little later. All in the middle of the city!

Locals report seeing not just deer, but all kinds of wildlife thriving in the park from large turtles and cranes to woodpeckers. You can even cast a line and pull in a fish in the early morning before heading off to work, making this park feel like you are on a great adventure, even if the interstate is just a stone’s throw away.

In a city of 1 million people, finding refuges like this are critical for raising little outdoor-loving children, which is why this spot is one we feel we should call out. The park is filled with toddler-friendly trails, and there’s a trail that runs along the reservoir so perfect for toddlers to throw rocks in if you have a kiddo you need to keep busy. There are also plenty of playgrounds you can head toward as a reward for that little hiker who keeps pushing on through the hike. And, of course, on a blustery day, the nature center does a story time and regularly offers community hikes.

Littles can definitely walk most portions of the Edesses Trail. The section that goes through the bird sanctuary is flat, has a lot of rocks that are perfect for throwing into the water, and is great for watching for birds. On parts of the trail that head up and down the ridge to and from the Ornithology Center, the terrain could be a bit more uneven, making it harder for little feet, but it’s still doable. The trail near the bird sanctuary is more suited for little hikers to get down and explore along the gravel part. Start with some of the shorter loops like this one within the park if you want to get the full experience that Eagle Creek has to offer.

What’s great about this park is that as your kiddo gets stronger, you can work up to the longer, more challenging hikes. It’s perfect for every little hiker in training. In the summer there’s a swimming beach located within the park that’s perfect for cooling off after your hike. It might get crowded, but if you just jump in for a quick dip posthike, it’s perfect.

The park is open and accessible year-round, but consider checking it out in autumn, when the leaves and the reservoir offer a very peaceful landscape. If you are a nursing mama or have an elderly family member who might need a rest, there are a few nice benches along the bird sanctuary portion of the trail, but they are in a more open area and not as secluded. There also is a picnic table on this portion of the trail that is a great place to stop for a snack.

Also, the Edessess portion of the trail is mostly shaded and wooded, but as you head onto the portion of the Blue Trail where it crosses the bird sanctuary, this is fully exposed, so bring a hat. One thing to be conscious of with this trail is the uneven terrain on the portions of the trek along the ridge. Also be cautious of roots sticking up and steep hillsides. A large portion of this trail is surrounded by water on both sides, so make sure if you have a runner, you are staying close by. In addition, due to the location of the trail near the water, be aware of mosquitoes and always be prepared for potential tick exposure.

https://eaglecreekpark.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Trail-Map-3_24_18.pdf

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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Mixed
Stroller friendly Yes
ADA accessible No
Water fountains Yes
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Excellent
Pet friendly No
Nearby convenience store Yes
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles
Yes

Trail highlights

Creek / River, Fishing, Lake, Natural Play Area, Picnic Area, Playground, Shaded Hike, Shelter, Visitor Center, and Wildlife Viewing

WHY IT’S A FAVORITE “Once inside the park, you can’t hear the city much, which is awesome to have without going far. We hike it regularly, and I am always amazed at how big it is and how it feels like we keep finding new trails.” —BAILEY LUDLAM INSIDER’S TIP Even though this trail is in the middle of the city, you should pack a lunch and make a day of it! There is so much to see and explore not only on the trails, but with the Ornithology Center and Earth Discovery Center as well.

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $5.00

PARKING FEE/PASS: $5 county residents/$6 out-of-county residents

Trail Contributor

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Hike it Baby Trail Guide is managed by the Family Trail Guide team. If a trail has been “abandoned” by the initial owner, it gets adopted by the team. Also, if there are no trails in the area, the Family Trail Guide team researches trails that are family friendly in the area to insure that hikes cover all areas where Hike it Baby hikes.

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