QUICK TAKE: Knobstone Trail, IN
DRIVE TIME: The south terminus near Deam Lake State Recreation Area is 25 miles (45 minutes) north of Louisville, Kentucky. The north terminus at Delaney Park between Brownstown and Salem is about 80 miles (just under 2 hours) from Indianapolis and 260 miles (41/2 hours) from Chicago.
THE WAY: To Deam Lake Trailhead from I-65 at Sellersburg (exit 9), go south on IN 311 to IN 60. Turn right (west) on IN 60 and go 8.5 miles to Deam Lake SRA road. Turn right, then go to the intersection of Broom Hill and Wilson Switch Roads. Turn right, and go 1.4 miles to the trailhead parking lot on the left. The trail is on the right side of the road.
TRAILS: Hike the 58-mile KT in weekend-length sections, like the 9-mile trip from Leota to New Chapel through the lush North Branch Valley, or hike the whole thing in four to five leisurely days. Camping, within specified guidelines, is permitted along the trail, but water sources can be scarce.
ELEVATION: The high point is Round Knob at 1,001 feet. More than a dozen knobs exceed 900 feet and require climbs of 300 to 400 vertical feet.
CAN’T MISS: Some of the oldest tree stands in the state are found at the southern end of the KT.
CROWD CONTROL: The Leota to New Chapel and New Chapel to Jackson Road legs are less traveled than elsewhere on the KT.
PIT STOP: In Starlight, a hilltop burg off IN 60 at the south end of the KT, both the Huber Winery and Huber Family Restaurant offer plenty to eat and drink, as well as a farm market.
WALK SOFTLY: Several unique plant species populate the KT area, but none is more unusual than Deam’s foxglove, which grows nowhere else in the world.
MAPS AND GUIDES: The Indiana Department of Natural Resources offers a free map (address below).
MORE INFORMATION: IDNR Division of Outdoor Recreation, 402 W. Washington St., Room 271, Indianapolis,IN 46204; (317) 232-4070; www.dnr.state.in.us/outdoor/index.htm.