Bloomington Trails

County: 
Monroe
City: 
Bloomington

Vince Caristo, Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator and Transportation Planner for the City of Bloomington, introduces aspects of the alternative transportation system of Bloomington beginning with the trails system. Vince also delineates future goals describing innovative experiments to make the city more safe and efficient, integrating cars and buses alongside bikes and pedestrians. Most interesting are the efforts the city is making in educating the population to deal with the new challenges and problems raised by the introduction of bikes as vehicles of transportation.

 

NOTE: To find the name of a trail on this map, please move the cursor of your mouse onto the trail line.

             Left click. The name of the trail will show in a balloon. 

 

Descriptions: 
Bloomington, Indiana usually brings to mind college football, basketball, and bicycle racing, to name a few. However, it also is home to a couple of rail trails that deserve mention: the B Line and the Clear Creek Trails. The first of these, the B Line, was at one time part of the Monon Railroad; its conversion into a rail trail has taken much work and dedication, and it still contains some incomplete parts. The Clear Creek Trail branches off from the B Line, and is a continuous 2 1/2 mile paved, multi-use surface.
To better appreciate how these rail trails wound up where they are today, go back to the first settlement of Bloomington, in the early 1800s; there were good water sources and the site was close to where much of the state’s population resided at that time. President James Monroe proposed the building of a seminary here, which later became I. U. In the 1850s, the Monon Railroad arrived, one of only a few north-south carriers. The Monon’s main line stretched from Chicago to Louisville, including Bloomington. A second Monon line served the Michigan City to Indianapolis route, and now hosts the well-known Monon Rail Trail in Indianapolis.
Today, as a trail, the open portion of the B Line starts in downtown Bloomington, and if you go on a Saturday in summer, you can experience the farmers’ market and see artisans’ works. Restaurants and museums lie within a short walk from the trail, and the courthouse, built with Indiana limestone, is also visible from here. Plaques and signs help you to appreciate early Bloomington history and structures. There are whimsical artworks along the way, as well as variable pavement styles adding to the overall landscape design. Total trail length so far is just under three miles, part paved, part unpaved. Currently, there is a gap in between the finished sections, but don’t let that deter you. Those completed portions are worth the effort.
The Clear Creek Trail, south of Bloomington’s center, splits off from the B Line Trail and travels northwest for 2.5 miles, weaving through mostly rural farmscapes and woods. Relics of the quarry it once served are sometimes visible along the path. A restored 1887 railroad bridge spans Clear Creek; the bridge was originally built across Big Pine Creek in Warren County, Indiana. Both of these trails cross major streets along their routes, but the intersections are well marked ahead and at the crossings themselves.
As one might expect, Bloomington and the surrounding region offer a number of opportunities and places of interest to explore. The Indiana University campus is home to various arts, museums, and sports venues, including a fine arts gallery, Glenn Black Archaeology Lab and Museum, and Kirkwood Observatory. In addition, the Indiana Geological Survey’s offices are here with its vast informative research on everything from possible petroleum-containing strata to where “Indiana” was 400 million years ago.
Bloomington has its share of festivals, too, including a Taste of Bloomington, the Pride Film Festival, Arts Fair on the Square, Chocolate Festival, Indiana Heritage Quilt Show, Theta Antique Show—and these are just some of them!
The town of Nashville lies east of Bloomington on SR 46, and close by is the Steele State Historic Site. T. C. Steele was an Indiana landscape painter who, with Ottis Adams and others, helped establish the Nashville area as an artists’ haven. In addition, Brown County State Park, McCormick’s Creek State Park, the 13,000-acre Charles Deam Wilderness, and Lake Monroe are a short distance away. Whether your passion is fall colors, Bill Monroe Bluegrass music, hiking, equestrian trails, covered bridges, boating, fishing, exploring an ancient earthquake fault (in the Deam Wilderness), or just a quiet rail trail, it can all be found in this area.
INFO
Type of Trail: 
Rail-trail / City
Mileage: 
10.0
Part NOT open: 
yes
Surface: 
stone, natural, asphalt.
Length of unpaved: 
4 miles
Uses allowed: 
biking, walking, jogging, rollerblading.
Wheelchairs allowed: 
part of trail would be difficult
Which uses NOT allowed: 
horses
Attractive Features: 
Impressive bridge, nature
Impediments: 
stone and natural surface.
North Endpoint (#1) - Specific : 
N. Roger Street
South Endpoint (#2) – Specific: 
S.-Church Lane, Bloomington – IN.
West Endpoint (#2) – Specific: 
W. Tapp Road
East endpoint (#1) – Specific: 
E. Roger Street
Connection to bus, rail: 
North end – bus.
Notable Trailhead: 
parking: Tapp Road, Country Club Drive, Church Lane.
Near to US highways: 
US37 to Tapp Road Left, about 1 mile turns into Country Club about 3 miles down to Bloomington rail Trail.
Agency, Group Owned: 
Bloomington Parks & Rec
Manager: 
Bloomington Parks & Rec.
Address: 
City Hall, N. Morton Street. P.O.Box 100. - Bloomington, IN 47402
Mailing Address: 
same as the manager address
Telephone: 
812-349-3400
E-mail: 
williamd@bloomington.in.gov
Trail Website: 

B-Line

County: 
Monroe
City: 
Bloomington

Descriptions: 
Bloomington, Indiana usually brings to mind college football, basketball, and bicycle racing, to name a few. However, it also is home to a couple of rail trails that deserve mention: the B Line and the Clear Creek Trails. The first of these, the B Line, was at one time part of the Monon Railroad; its conversion into a rail trail has taken much work and dedication, and it still contains some incomplete parts. The Clear Creek Trail branches off from the B Line, and is a continuous 2 1/2 mile paved, multi-use surface.
 
To better appreciate how these rail trails wound up where they are today, go back to the first settlement of Bloomington, in the early 1800s; there were good water sources and the site was close to where much of the state’s population resided at that time. President James Monroe proposed the building of a seminary here, which later became I. U. In the 1850s, the Monon Railroad arrived, one of only a few north-south carriers. The Monon’s main line stretched from Chicago to Louisville, including Bloomington. A second Monon line served the Michigan City to Indianapolis route, and now hosts the well-known Monon Rail Trail in Indianapolis.
Today, as a trail, the open portion of the B Line starts in downtown Bloomington, and if you go on a Saturday in summer, you can experience the farmers’ market and see artisans’ works. Restaurants and museums lie within a short walk from the trail, and the courthouse, built with Indiana limestone, is also visible from here. Plaques and signs help you to appreciate early Bloomington history and structures. There are whimsical artworks along the way, as well as variable pavement styles adding to the overall landscape design. Total trail length so far is just under three miles, part paved, part unpaved. Currently, there is a gap in between the finished sections, but don’t let that deter you. Those completed portions are worth the effort.
 
The Clear Creek Trail, south of Bloomington’s center, splits off from the B Line Trail and travels northwest for 2.5 miles, weaving through mostly rural farmscapes and woods. Relics of the quarry it once served are sometimes visible along the path. A restored 1887 railroad bridge spans Clear Creek; the bridge was originally built across Big Pine Creek in Warren County, Indiana. Both of these trails cross major streets along their routes, but the intersections are well marked ahead and at the crossings themselves.

As one might expect, Bloomington and the surrounding region offer a number of opportunities and places of interest to explore. The Indiana University campus is home to various arts, museums, and sports venues, including a fine arts gallery, Glenn Black Archaeology Lab and Museum, and Kirkwood Observatory. In addition, the Indiana Geological Survey’s offices are here with its vast informative research on everything from possible petroleum-containing strata to where “Indiana” was 400 million years ago.
 
Bloomington has its share of festivals, too, including a Taste of Bloomington, the Pride Film Festival, Arts Fair on the Square, Chocolate Festival, Indiana Heritage Quilt Show, Theta Antique Show—and these are just some of them!
 
The town of Nashville lies east of Bloomington on SR 46, and close by is the Steele State Historic Site. T. C. Steele was an Indiana landscape painter who, with Ottis Adams and others, helped establish the Nashville area as an artists’ haven. In addition, Brown County State Park, McCormick’s Creek State Park, the 13,000-acre Charles Deam Wilderness, and Lake Monroe are a short distance away. Whether your passion is fall colors, Bill Monroe Bluegrass music, hiking, equestrian trails, covered bridges, boating, fishing, exploring an ancient earthquake fault (in the Deam Wilderness), or just a quiet rail trail, it can all be found in this area.
INFO
Type of Trail: 
Rail Trail
Mileage: 
3/4 of a mile
Part NOT open: 
yes
Total Length of all segments: 
7 miles
Surface: 
asphalt
Length of unpaved: 
2.4
Uses allowed: 
walk, bike, wheelchairs, XC Skiing,, skating,
Wheelchairs allowed: 
yes
Which uses NOT allowed: 
horses
Attractive Features: 
Downtown Bloomington,
North Endpoint (#1) - Specific : 
N. Roger Street
South Endpoint (#2) – Specific: 
E. 2nd Street
Direction to #2 from #1: 
South
Connection to bus, rail: 
yes in Bloomington.
Notable Trailhead: 
Bloomington City Offices
Near to US highways: 
Us 37 to Tapp Rd., east to Walnut St., North to 7th St., west to Trail and Parking nearby.
Major Trailhead: 
City Government Offices
Lat. of Major TrailHead: 
39N 10' 06.88"
Long. Of Major TrailHead: 
86W 32' 13.25"
Agency, Group Owned: 
Bloomington Parks & Rec
Manager: 
Dave Williams
Address: 
City Hall, N. Morton Street. P.O.Box 100. - Bloomington, IN 47402
Mailing Address: 
P.O. Box 100
Telephone: 
812-349-34706
E-mail: 
williamd@bloomington.in.gov

Clear Creek Trail - Bloomington

County: 
Monroe
City: 
Bloomington

Descriptions: 
Bloomington, Indiana usually brings to mind college football, basketball, and bicycle racing, to name a few. However, it also is home to a couple of rail trails that deserve mention: the B Line and the Clear Creek Trails. The first of these, the B Line, was at one time part of the Monon Railroad; its conversion into a rail trail has taken much work and dedication, and it still contains some incomplete parts. The Clear Creek Trail branches off from the B Line, and is a continuous 2 1/2 mile paved, multi-use surface.
To better appreciate how these rail trails wound up where they are today, go back to the first settlement of Bloomington, in the early 1800s; there were good water sources and the site was close to where much of the state’s population resided at that time. President James Monroe proposed the building of a seminary here, which later became I. U. In the 1850s, the Monon Railroad arrived, one of only a few north-south carriers. The Monon’s main line stretched from Chicago to Louisville, including Bloomington. A second Monon line served the Michigan City to Indianapolis route, and now hosts the well-known Monon Rail Trail in Indianapolis.
Today, as a trail, the open portion of the B Line starts in downtown Bloomington, and if you go on a Saturday in summer, you can experience the farmers’ market and see artisans’ works. Restaurants and museums lie within a short walk from the trail, and the courthouse, built with Indiana limestone, is also visible from here. Plaques and signs help you to appreciate early Bloomington history and structures. There are whimsical artworks along the way, as well as variable pavement styles adding to the overall landscape design. Total trail length so far is just under three miles, part paved, part unpaved. Currently, there is a gap in between the finished sections, but don’t let that deter you. Those completed portions are worth the effort.
The Clear Creek Trail, south of Bloomington’s center, splits off from the B Line Trail and travels northwest for 2.5 miles, weaving through mostly rural farmscapes and woods. Relics of the quarry it once served are sometimes visible along the path. A restored 1887 railroad bridge spans Clear Creek; the bridge was originally built across Big Pine Creek in Warren County, Indiana. Both of these trails cross major streets along their routes, but the intersections are well marked ahead and at the crossings themselves.
As one might expect, Bloomington and the surrounding region offer a number of opportunities and places of interest to explore. The Indiana University campus is home to various arts, museums, and sports venues, including a fine arts gallery, Glenn Black Archaeology Lab and Museum, and Kirkwood Observatory. In addition, the Indiana Geological Survey’s offices are here with its vast informative research on everything from possible petroleum-containing strata to where “Indiana” was 400 million years ago.
Bloomington has its share of festivals, too, including a Taste of Bloomington, the Pride Film Festival, Arts Fair on the Square, Chocolate Festival, Indiana Heritage Quilt Show, Theta Antique Show—and these are just some of them!
The town of Nashville lies east of Bloomington on SR 46, and close by is the Steele State Historic Site. T. C. Steele was an Indiana landscape painter who, with Ottis Adams and others, helped establish the Nashville area as an artists’ haven. In addition, Brown County State Park, McCormick’s Creek State Park, the 13,000-acre Charles Deam Wilderness, and Lake Monroe are a short distance away. Whether your passion is fall colors, Bill Monroe Bluegrass music, hiking, equestrian trails, covered bridges, boating, fishing, exploring an ancient earthquake fault (in the Deam Wilderness), or just a quiet rail trail, it can all be found in this area.
INFO
Type of Trail: 
Rail-trail
Mileage: 
2.30
Surface: 
pavement
Uses allowed: 
all uses
Which uses NOT allowed: 
no horses
North Endpoint (#1) - Specific : 
West Tapp Road, Bloomington – IN.
South Endpoint (#2) – Specific: 
S.-Church Lane, Bloomington – IN.
Direction to #2 from #1: 
South
Connection to bus, rail: 
North end connects to bus.
Notable Trailhead: 
Impressive bridge.
Near to US highways: 
37S. To Tapp Rd and Left about 1 mile to North end Clear Creek
Agency, Group Owned: 
Bloomington Parks & Rec.
Manager: 
Dave Williams
Address: 
City Hall, N. Morton Street. P.O.Box 100 – Bloomington, IN 47402
Mailing Address: 
same as the manager address
Telephone: 
812-349-3400
E-mail: 
williamd@bloomington.in.gov

Griffy Lake Park Trails

County: 
Monroe
City: 
Bloomington

Descriptions: 

 

  • Nature Trail (.4 mile) - This self-guided trail begins across the parking lot from the restroom. It is an easy loop trail with moderate slopes.
  • Hiking Trail (1.6 miles) - This trail starts and ends iwth steep slopes; however, most of the trail is on a relatively flat ridgetop. Views along the trail include valleys, upland forest, and occasional glimpses of the lake. The trail starts across the road from the boathouse and ends at the east end of the boathouse parking lot.
  • Griffy Creek Trail (1.5 miles) - This non-looping trail begins at the east end of the boathouse parking lot and follows the north branch of Griffy Creek. Views along the walk include the creek and forested valley.
  • Lanam Trail (1.1 miles) - This linear trail begins at the Griffy Creek Trail trailhead and extends to Lanam Road. The trail provides views of the forest, and parallels sections of the north and middle forks of Griffy Creek.
  • Cascades Park Trail - This paved, accessible, linear trail connects Lower Cascades Park to the intersection of Stone Mill Road and North Old State Road 37.
  • Wetland Trail (.5 mile) - The Wetland Trail is an easy, non-looping trail, but it is seasonally wet. Please respect the gragile nature of this area by staying on the trail. The Wetland Trail begins at the Griffy Creek trailhead.
  • North Shore Trail (1.5 miles) - This trail begins along North Headley Road, north of the boathouse. Please use care when walking on the road to reach the trailhead. Steep slopes, narrow pathways, and rock outcrops make the North Shore Trail the most Rugged trail at Griffy Lake. Please stay on the trail when hiking in the area.
  • North Shore Loop Spur (1 mile) - This looping trail begins and ends at Griffy Lake dam. At the top of the dam the trail splits off to the left from the main North Shore Trail. Sections of the trail explore upland forest habitat before dipping down into a creek bottom to rejoin the North Shore Trail.
  • South Shore Trails (3.7 miles) - A collection of trails explore Griffy Lake's state dedicated nature preserve area. A couple of the trails connect to the IU Teaching and Research Preserve trail system.

 

INFO
Type of Trail: 
Park
Total Length of all segments: 
13.5 miles
Surface: 
Natural, Asphalt
Agency, Group Owned: 
Bloomington Park and Recreation Department

Trails and Public Art

 

Historically, public art was meant to educate and inform citizens in political, religious or community matters, as well as depicting important events. Today, art in public spaces is symbolic of a community’s unique culture and the collaborative effort between cities, local and national artists, and the public. Public art not only provides aesthetic value to a location, it fosters creativity, it tells stories, and evokes community pride. It also honors those who have made great strides in making our communities and the world a better place and inspires the pioneers of the future. With so many choices of mediums available today, public art can be interactive, thought provoking and can sometimes be controversial.

 

In recent years public art has become an essential part of city planning. Whether public art is made to enhance a growing city or help revive a declining neighborhood, it has become increasing important across the US.

 
The creation of trails has also become an important part of infrastructure planning. More than ever, people are considering alternative modes of transportation for many reasons. Walking and bicycling are quickly becoming a popular non-polluting alternative for commuting and recreation. Therefore, public art should play a role in the development of trails as it might with the planning of traditional transportation systems. In fact, several trail organizations throughout Indiana have implemented public art installations along their trails.
 
The B-Line Trail in Bloomington, IN features several public art installations which include “Bloomington Banquet” by Dale Enochs, which is a limestone sculpture of a giant table and chair with intricate carvings accessorized with table setting pieces made of steel, stainless steel and anodized aluminum. A great example of public art connecting with community is a bright, whimsical collection called “Animal Island” made of new and recycled steel created by Joe LaMantia & Stone Belt. Stone Belt is a non-profit organization that provides education and support to persons with disabilities. Through their art program they bring their clients together with local artists so they may realize their own talents while connecting with the community. These quirky animals topped with weather vanes associate them with the fish at the top of the Bloomington court house to represent the ongoing relationship between the city and Stone Belt. Other works of art include “Dancing Spirit” by Mark Wallis, an abstract sculpture depicting Musician Evan Farrell holding his guitar. “Figured Base” by Mike VanVooren, a self taught artist, and a community pixel mural of a butterfly made from over 3500 wine corks.
 
One of the largest public art collections along a trail is on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick. One of the first installations is a four panel LED motion image of a female called “Ann Dancing” by international artist, Julian Opie. “Care, Don’t Care”, by local artist Jamie Pawlue, is a model of a pedestrian signal that indicates “Care” or “Don’t Care instead of “Walk’ or Don’t Walk”. Soon to be completed is a “must see” installation titled “Swarm Street” by Vito Acconci. Tiny LED lights flicker and fly around anyone passing through like hundreds of fireflies. Most recently, it was announced that ArtPlace, awarded the trail $250,000 for “Swarm Street” which is the first public art project to receive such funding. Located at the Virginia Ave. parking garage tunnel, “Swarm Street” is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2011. Perhaps the most notable and inspiring work on the trail is the “Glick Peace Walk”. Stunning sculpture gardens along Walnut Street that commemorates the life’s work of twelve extraordinary individuals who devoted their lives to the greater good. Susan B. Anthony, Albert Einstein, and Booker T. Washington, just to name a few, will live on through those who are inspired by them.
 
The Monon Trail, one of the nation’s busiest urban greenways, has a splendid exhibition, known as the “Urban Art Wall Project” themed “Discovering Nature in Indianapolis”. Forty murals painted on the back of a storage facility just south of Broad Ripple spans between 52nd and 54th Sts. These stunning murals can only be seen from the Monon. Many other works of art can also be found along the Monon. You may even catch a glimpse of some functional art, such as benches, fountains, recycling containers, etc. that have been designed to compliment the surrounding area. Information and way-finding signs are also a great resource for public art. Many rail trail signs are reminiscent of the original rail road logos which most have a distinct nuvo or art deco flare. Although every style of public art may not be for everyone, from the massive in-your-face works to the more subtle but creative pieces, public art can enrich the lives of many.
 
By Norma Jean Snyder