For many, the Monon Trail is the legendary trail to which all other trails are measured. Running from 10th Street through the northside of Indianapolis, Broad Ripple, Nora, and continuing through Carmel, Westfield, Hamilton County, and Sheridan - 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.
North Endpoint – General: Nora
North Endpoint (#1) - Specific: 96th Street
South Endpoint – General: Massachusetts Ave.
South Endpoint (#2) – Specific: Approx. 900 East 10th Street, by RR bridge
Direction to #2 from #1: Northward
Connection to bus, rail: Indygo routes: #10, #17, numerous others.
Uses allowed: walking, biking, rollerblading, Nature Studies.
Wheelchairs allowed: yes
Which uses NOT allowed: no firearms, no motor vehicles
Attractive Features: Connects to other trails (Fall Creek Trail at Fall Creek Bridge, the Canal Towpath at Canal in Broad Ripple, and Cultural Trail Legacy at 10th St.), parks, restaurants and shopping adjacent at Broad Ripple, Nora, and downtown, just beyond 10th street.
Impediments: Some major street crossings, but all are well marked and signaled.
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.