Dog-friendly hiking trails are an excellent way to exercise your puppy while exercising yourself. Your puppy gets to enjoy all the smells found on the trail and you get to enjoy being surrounded by nature. Not all hiking trails welcome dogs and many that do restrict dogs to on-leash hiking. Before taking your dog on a hike, be sure to check the park rules to understand what you can and cannot do with your pup.
If you are new to Indiana or recently adopted a new puppy, here are our picks for the best hiking trails for dogs in the Hoosier State.
Located At: 6363 Spring Mill Rd, Indianapolis, IN, US, 46260
Holliday Park is one of Indianapolis’s oldest parks and features 3.5 miles of picturesque trails to hike with your pups. It’s a great place to embrace nature and go bird-watching without needing to leave the city. The park is managed by the Holliday Park Foundation, a nonprofit organization that hosts events throughout the year. Consider donating or volunteering your time.
Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park
Located At: 4000 Michigan Rd, Indianapolis, IN, US, 46208
The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park is a 100-acre sculpture and natural park with woods, wetlands, and meadows to hike through with your dogs. The park is regularly adding new sculptures and other art installations, so keep coming back to see the new installations! The park is maintained by Newfields, a nonprofit organization that connects art with nature. Consider donating to help out.
Falls of the Ohio State Park
Located At: 201 W Riverside Dr, Clarksville, IN, US, 47129
Nestled along the Ohio River is the Falls of the Ohio State Park. You can see Devonian-age fossil beds and the historic George Rogers Clark home site along your walk through the park. More than 230 species of flowering plants are also found across the park’s two unique habitats. The park is maintained by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Falls of the Ohio Foundation, a nonprofit organization.
Monon Rail Trail
Located At: 1430 E 96th St, Indianapolis, IN, US, 46240
The Monon Rail Trail is over 20 miles of refurbished rail lines from Sheridan to downtown Indianapolis. Along the length of the trail, you’ll encounter many charming bridges and parks, including the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The Monon Rail Trail is jointly managed by several organizations but the largest stretch (over 10 miles) is managed by Indy Greenways, a nonprofit community organization dedicated to the upkeep of trails around Indianapolis. Consider volunteering to help preserve the trails.
Located At: 1500 S Center St, Plainfield, IN, US, 46168
Hummel Park is a great place to take your leashed dogs on a walk. There are several footpaths in the park but we recommend the Blue Heron Path, which guides you along White Lick Creek, away from the sports fields, and around Blue Heron Lake. Hummel Park is managed by the Guilford Township Park Administrator.
Brown County State Park
Located At: 1405 S.R. 46 W, Nashville, IN, US
The Brown County State Park features 12 trails of varying difficulty, so dogs and owners of all ages can find trails that work for them. Among the trails, you’ll encounter all types of topography, from flat woodlands to deep ravines, and several man-made structures, like bridges and retaining walls to help access other areas of the park. The park is maintained by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Rum Village Park
Located At: 2626 S Gertrude St, South Bend, IN, US, 46614
Rum Village Park is 160 acres of natural woodland with 3 miles of walking trails throughout, where you can walk your pups on a leash. After going on your hike, you can take them over to the Rum Village Dog Park to let them run around off the leash. The park is maintained by the City of South Bend Venues, Parks, & Arts (VPA) Department.
Ox Bow Park
Located At: 23033 County Road 45, Goshen, IN, US, 46528
Ox Bow Park is a wonderful place to spend all day with your family, including the pups! You’ll hike across creeks, through wetlands and woodlands. In the heart of the park, you’ll come across the Ox Bow Tower, a panoramic viewing tower where you can see the whole park. Ox Bow Park is managed by the Elkhart County Parks Department.
Clegg Memorial Garden
Located At: 1782 N 400 E, Lafayette, IN, US, 47905
The Clegg Memorial Garden is a nature preserve where you’ll encounter four unique ecosystems along your hike. Some of the trails are rather rugged but they’ve installed steps on any particularly steep inclines. The Clegg Memorial Garden is maintained by the NICHES Land Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to collaborating with other nonprofits to conserve natural areas. Consider volunteering or donating to help.
National Road Heritage Trail
Located At: 960 National Rd Heritage Trl, Terre Haute, IN, US, 47809
The National Road Heritage Trail is a 6.5-mile paved trail ideal for dog owners with disabilities to hike. The trail runs along the old route of the National Road, the first-ever federally funded road commissioned in 1806 to aid in westward expansion. It’s registered as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The trail is maintained by the City of Terre Haute Parks Department.
Celery Bog Nature Area
Located At: 1620 Lindberg Road, West Lafayette, IN, US, 47906
The Celery Bog Nature Area contains 4.3 miles of paved trails and 2.5 miles of natural paths through the woods, savanna, and prairie. The bog is considered one of the best places in Indiana to bird watch. Celery Bog is maintained by the West Lafayette Parks & Recreation.
Located At: Fort Wayne, IN, US, 46807
The Rivergreenway in Fort Wayne is 26 miles of pathway along all three rivers in Fort Wayne, the St. Marys, St. Joseph, and Maumee Rivers. There are many scenic vistas to enjoy along the trail. The Rivergreenway is jointly maintained by the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department and the New Haven/Adams Township Parks & Recreation Department.
Located At: 325 IN-3, North Vernon, IN, US, 47265
Muscatatuck Park contains almost 10 miles of mixed-use trails where you can hike with your dogs. There are also 2.5 miles of paved paths for visitors with disabilities. Along the trails, you’ll find an early pioneer grist mill called Tunnel Mill. Muscatatuck Park is maintained by the Jennings County Parks and Recreation.
Cool Creek Park
Located At: 2000 E 151st St, Carmel, IN, US, 46033
Cool Creek Park is a great park that hosts many events throughout the year. They also happen to have over 4 miles of wooded trails to hike with your leashed puppy. The park is maintained by the Hamilton County Parks and Recreation.
Nickel Plate Trail
Located At: 1286 W Summit Dr, Kokomo, IN, US, 46901
The Nickel Plate Trail is a rail trail corridor running over 40 miles from Kokomo to Rochester. The entire length is flat and paved, making it an easy hike for people with disabilities. The trail is maintained by volunteers with the nonprofit Nickel Plate Trail, Inc. and funded by donations. Consider supporting them with your time or by donating.
Clear Creek Trail
Located At: 899 W Church Ln, Bloomington, IN 47403
The Clear Creek Trail in Bloomington was designed as a “linear park” along 2.4 miles of Clear Creek. Along the trail, you’ll encounter a restored, 1887 wrought-iron bridge. The trail also joins with the Bloomington Rail Trail, if you want to keep hiking. The Clear Creek Trail is maintained by the City of Bloomington Parks & Recreation.
Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve
Located At: 10410 Hague Rd, Fishers, IN, US, 46038
The Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve features nine beautiful nature trails totaling 2.25 miles of dog-friendly paths. The nature preserve is a great place to observe wildlife, so be sure to leash your pup so it doesn’t run after a squirrel. The Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve is maintained by the Fishers Parks Department.
St. Patrick's County Park
Located At: 50651 Laurel Rd, South Bend, IN, US, 46637
North of South Bend is St. Patrick’s County Park, which features 6 miles of trails where you can walk your dog on a leash. You’ll have the opportunity to hike along St. Joseph River and go bird-watching, as the park is listed on the Indiana Birding Trail. The park is maintained by St. Joseph County Parks.
Brincka Cross Gardens
Located At: 425 E Furness Rd, Michigan City, IN, US, 46360
The Brincka Cross Gardens began as an art project by a professor at the Art Institute of Chicago and was acquired by Porter County after his passing. You’ll notice the artistic landscaping as you walk through the four acres of gardens with hundreds of varieties of flowers to enjoy. The Brincka Cross Gardens is maintained by the Porter County Parks and Recreation.
Indiana Dunes National Park
Located At: 376 N County Line Rd, Gary, IN, US, 46403
Indiana Dunes National Park stretches across 15 miles of coastline along Lake Michigan and features over 50 miles of trails! Along the trails, you will find shifting sand dunes, quiet woodlands, sunny prairies, and lush wetlands. Most trails, but not every trail, are dog-friendly and you must keep your pup leashed. Be sure to grab a map to plan out your hike along the many dog trails. Indiana Dunes is maintained by the National Park Service.
Located At: Cemetery Dr, Jasper, IN, US, 47546
The Jasper Riverwalk is a 2.1-mile paved trail along the Patoka River in Jasper. Take your pup on its leash along the walkway and enjoy the river view. The park also offers amenities, like a boat launch, playground, horseshoe pits, and shelters to spend all day there with the family. The Jasper Riverwalk is maintained by the Jasper Park & Recreation Department.