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Indianapolis, IN: Red Hills State Park

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Distance: 1.8 miles


This out-of-the-way 967-acre park boasts the highest piece of land between St. Louis and Cincinnati and is packed with wooded ravines and seasonal treasures.

This easy, 1.8-mile loop circles the north side of the park and climbs atop Red Hill: a cross-bearing overlook above the farm-spotted surrounds. Depending on the season, you'll hike past wildflowers, autumn colors and even mid-winter ice-skating.

Beginning at the main trailhead entrance near the north-side picnic shelter, follow signs for the Valley Spring Trail leading into a tree-laden ravine. Cross the wooden bridge and bypass two right-hand connector trails as you climb the gentle hill, reaching it's apex at mile 0.6. The views, while only 200 feet above the surrounding landscape are spiritual in nature and inspired a church—and 40-foot neon cross—that share the summit space.

You'll cross the park road at the top of the hill and stay left at two junctions on the east-side descent before passing a picnic area and playground. A historical marker here explains the history of land ownership in the area, ceded by Native Americans to the United States in 1795. The trail's last quarter mile dips below the park road briefly and running alongside several wooded ravines back to the trailhead.

-Mapped by Ted Villaire

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