For many, the Monon Trail is the legendary trail to which all other trails are measured. Running north to 146th Street, continuing through Westfield, Hamilton County, and Sheridan, and running south to 96th Street, continuing through Nora, Broad Ripple, and ending at 10th street in Indianapolis - each with its own government and control over the Monon. The Monon Trail gives walkers, runners, cyclists, and exercise enthusiasts of all types a peaceful, well groomed path. Being one of the oldest trails in Indiana (first segment opened in 1993), trail users have seen many businesses and amenities develop, turning the Monon Trail into an economic benefit for the cities in which it traverses. Come and experience the culture and history of the midwestern cities this trail runs through.
Type of Trail: Rail Trail
Uses allowed: walking, biking, rollerblading, dogs on leash.
Wheelchairs allowed: yes
Which uses NOT allowed: excessive speed (~20 miles per hour)
Attractive Features: Civic Square, Monon Center at Central Park.
Tracks running north out of Indianapolis on their way to Chicago were laid in 1883 as part of the Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville Railroad, also known as Monon. The Monon operated two main lines, the first from New Albany, across the river from Louisville, to Michigan City. The second between Indianapolis and Chicago. The lines formed a large “X” across the state of Indiana and crossed each other in Monon Indiana. The town of Monon was on the Monong River which meant “Swift Running” in the language of the Potowatomi.
The Monon discontinued passenger service to Indianapolis in 1959. The Monon merged into the Louisville & Nashville in 1971. CSX now operates on what is left of the former Monon rails. The tracks running between Indianapolis and Delphi were abandoned in 1987. Much discussion was had about what to do with this abandoned right-of-way, including developing bus rapid transit on that line - a precursor to the “Red Line” in Indianapolis.
The Hoosier Rails to Trails Council gathered 4000 signatures asking the city to develop the right-of-way into a rail trail. City leaders listened, and built the Monon Trail, completed in 1999. Carmel completed their segment in 2002. Westfield finished their segment in 2008.
In 2009 the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy named the Monon Trail to their “Rail-Trail Hall of Fame.” The Monon Trail is only one of two trails in Indiana to share that honor. The other trail to share this honor is the Cardinal Greenway.