Monon Rail-Trail In Indiana

Here is everything you need to know about the Monon Rail-Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Indiana
  • Length: 7.6 miles.
  • Type: Biking.
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Indiana Department of Natural Resources
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Monon Rail-Trail holds a significant place in the history of Indiana’s transportation system. Originally known as the Chicago, Indianapolis, and Louisville Railway, the Monon Railroad was established in 1847. The railroad played a crucial role in connecting the cities of Chicago and Indianapolis, serving as a vital transportation link for both passengers and freight. The name “Monon” was derived from the words “Monongahela” and “Union,” representing the railroad’s goal of uniting the two cities.

Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Monon Railroad experienced remarkable growth and expansion. It became renowned for its efficient service and luxurious passenger trains, attracting travelers from various parts of the country. The railroad also played a crucial role in transporting goods, including coal, limestone, and agricultural products, contributing significantly to the economic development of the region.

However, with the rise of the automobile industry and the decline of rail travel in the mid-20th century, the Monon Railroad faced numerous challenges. In 1967, the railroad ceased operations, leaving behind a vast network of abandoned tracks. Recognizing the potential of these unused rail corridors, efforts were made to repurpose them into recreational trails, leading to the birth of the Monon Rail-Trail.

Today, the Monon Rail-Trail stretches approximately 27 miles, running from the northern suburbs of Indianapolis to the city of Sheridan. It serves as a popular recreational destination, attracting walkers, joggers, cyclists, and rollerbladers. The trail offers a scenic route through urban and rural landscapes, providing a glimpse into Indiana’s rich history and natural beauty. The Monon Rail-Trail stands as a testament to the transformative power of repurposing abandoned rail lines, preserving the legacy of the Monon Railroad while offering a valuable recreational resource for the community.

While On The Trail

Access Points

Info not available.

Transportation Available

1. IndyGo – Public bus service in Indianapolis.
2. Lime – Electric scooter and bike sharing service.
3. Uber – Ride-hailing service.
4. Lyft – Ride-hailing service.
5. Bird – Electric scooter sharing service.
6. Pacers Bikeshare – Bike sharing service in Indianapolis.
7. Yellow Cab – Traditional taxi service.
8. BlueIndy – Electric car sharing service.
9. Zipcar – Car sharing service.
10. LimePod – Car sharing service with electric vehicles.


The Monon Rail-Trail offers several amenities for visitors. Some of the amenities available at the trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at various points along the trail. These restrooms are typically located at trailheads or parks along the route.

2. Parking: There are designated parking areas available at different access points along the Monon Rail-Trail. These parking lots provide convenient parking options for trail users.

3. Camping Sites: While camping is not directly available on the Monon Rail-Trail, there are nearby campgrounds and parks where visitors can set up camp. Examples include the White River Campground and the Fort Harrison State Park, which are close to the trail.

4. Picnic Areas: The trail features several picnic areas where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas often have picnic tables, benches, and sometimes even grills for cooking.

5. Water Fountains: There are water fountains available at various points along the trail, allowing visitors to stay hydrated during their journey.

6. Bike Rentals: Some sections of the Monon Rail-Trail offer bike rental services. These rental stations provide an opportunity for visitors to rent bicycles and explore the trail without bringing their own bikes.

7. Bike Repair Stations: The trail also features bike repair stations equipped with tools and air pumps. These stations are useful for minor bike repairs or maintenance.

8. Trailhead Facilities: At different trailheads, you may find additional amenities such as visitor centers, information boards, and maps. These facilities provide useful information about the trail and its surroundings.

Please note that amenities may vary depending on the specific section of the Monon Rail-Trail you are visiting. It is always recommended to check the official website or local resources for the most up-to-date information on amenities available at specific trail segments.

Nearby Services

1. Lodging:
– Monon Guesthouse: Charming guesthouse located near the Monon Rail-Trail, offering comfortable accommodations.
– Hampton Inn Indianapolis/Carmel: Convenient hotel option with modern amenities, close to the Monon Rail-Trail.
– Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel: Upscale hotel featuring stylish rooms and a range of amenities, situated near the Monon Rail-Trail.

2. Food Services:
– Bazbeaux Pizza: Popular pizzeria offering a variety of delicious pizzas and other Italian dishes.
– Bub’s Burgers & Ice Cream: Casual eatery known for its tasty burgers and homemade ice cream.
– The Pint Room: Lively pub serving a wide selection of craft beers and pub-style food.

3. Emergency Services:
– St. Vincent Carmel Hospital: Full-service hospital providing emergency medical care and other healthcare services.
– Carmel Police Department: Local police department offering emergency assistance and law enforcement services.

Monon Rail-Trail Difficulty Notes

The Monon Rail-Trail, located in Indiana, offers a moderate difficulty level for outdoor enthusiasts. The trail spans approximately 27 miles and is mostly flat, making it suitable for walkers, runners, and cyclists of all skill levels. With its well-maintained surface and minimal elevation changes, it provides a comfortable and enjoyable experience for beginners and families. However, there are a few sections with slight inclines and some road crossings that require caution. Overall, the Monon Rail-Trail offers a pleasant and accessible outdoor activity for individuals seeking a moderately challenging experience.

Features And Attractions

1. Indianapolis Cultural Trail: This 8-mile urban trail connects several neighborhoods in downtown Indianapolis, offering scenic views of the city’s skyline, public art installations, and cultural landmarks.

2. Broad Ripple Village: Located in Indianapolis, this vibrant neighborhood along the Monon Rail-Trail features a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. It offers a lively atmosphere and is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

3. Holliday Park: Situated in Indianapolis, this park offers beautiful natural scenery, including wooded areas, meadows, and a picturesque creek. It features hiking trails, picnic areas, and a nature center, making it a great spot for outdoor enthusiasts.

4. Carmel Arts & Design District: Located in Carmel, Indiana, this district is known for its charming streets lined with art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. The Monon Rail-Trail runs through the heart of the district, providing a scenic backdrop for a leisurely stroll.

5. Monon Depot Museum: Situated in Delphi, Indiana, this historical site is a former train depot that now serves as a museum. It showcases the history of the Monon Railroad and offers exhibits on local history and railroad memorabilia.

6. Monon Connection Museum: Located in Monon, Indiana, this museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the Monon Railroad. It features a collection of artifacts, photographs, and interactive exhibits that provide insights into the railroad’s impact on the region.

7. Monon High Bridge: Spanning the Deer Creek in Delphi, Indiana, this historic bridge is a popular landmark along the Monon Rail-Trail. It offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside and is a favorite spot for photography enthusiasts.

8. Sheridan Veterans Memorial Park: Situated in Sheridan, Indiana, this park features a beautiful memorial dedicated to local veterans. It offers a peaceful setting with walking paths, picnic areas, and a gazebo, making it a great place to relax along the trail.

9. Tipton County Courthouse: Located in Tipton, Indiana, this historic courthouse is a prominent landmark along the Monon Rail-Trail. Its stunning architecture and well-preserved facade make it a must-see for history buffs.

10. Monon Connection Gift Shop: Situated in Monon, Indiana, this gift shop offers a wide range of Monon Railroad-themed merchandise, including books, apparel, and collectibles. It’s a great place to stop and pick up souvenirs related to the trail’s history.

Usage Guidelines


Seasonal Information

The Monon Rail-Trail, located in Indiana, offers a fantastic outdoor experience for visitors throughout the year. The best times to visit the trail largely depend on personal preferences and the activities one wishes to engage in. Spring and fall are particularly popular due to the mild temperatures and beautiful scenery. During spring, the trail comes alive with vibrant blooms and lush greenery, making it an ideal time for hiking, biking, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll. Fall, on the other hand, offers breathtaking foliage, creating a picturesque backdrop for outdoor activities.

Summer is another great time to visit the Monon Rail-Trail, especially for those who enjoy warm weather and water activities. The trail is dotted with various access points to lakes and rivers, providing opportunities for swimming, kayaking, and fishing. Additionally, summer brings a host of events and festivals along the trail, such as outdoor concerts and farmers markets, adding to the vibrant atmosphere.

It’s important to note that the Monon Rail-Trail does have seasonal closures in certain sections. During winter, some parts of the trail may be temporarily closed due to snow and ice accumulation, ensuring the safety of visitors. However, other sections of the trail remain open year-round, allowing for winter activities like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It’s always recommended to check the trail’s official website or contact local authorities for the most up-to-date information on closures and conditions before planning a visit.

Overall, the Monon Rail-Trail offers something for everyone, regardless of the season. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful nature retreat, an active outdoor adventure, or a vibrant community experience, this trail has it all. So, pack your gear, plan your visit accordingly, and get ready to explore the beauty and diversity of the Monon Rail-Trail throughout the year.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Entrances: The Monon Rail-Trail provides multiple entrances that are accessible for wheelchair users, ensuring easy access to the trail.
2. Paved Surface: The trail is paved, offering a smooth and even surface for wheelchair users to navigate comfortably.
3. Wide Pathways: The trail features wide pathways, allowing ample space for wheelchair users to pass by comfortably and safely.
4. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are available along the trail, equipped with features such as grab bars and wider doorways to accommodate wheelchair users.
5. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are provided near the trail entrances, ensuring convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
6. Accessible Seating: Benches and seating areas along the trail are designed to be accessible, providing a place for wheelchair users to rest and enjoy the surroundings.
7. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains along the trail are designed to be wheelchair accessible, allowing individuals with disabilities to easily hydrate.
8. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trail are equipped with accessible tables and seating, providing a comfortable space for wheelchair users to enjoy outdoor meals.
9. Accessible Trail Maps: Trail maps are available in accessible formats, such as large print or braille, to ensure individuals with visual impairments can navigate the trail.
10. Accessible Signage: Signage along the trail includes accessible features, such as raised lettering and braille, to assist individuals with visual impairments in finding their way.

Safety Information

When visiting the Monon Rail-Trail, it is important to keep the following safety information in mind:

1. Stay aware of your surroundings: Always be alert and aware of your surroundings while on the trail. Look out for other trail users, including cyclists, pedestrians, and runners.

2. Follow trail rules and regulations: Familiarize yourself with the trail rules and regulations, such as speed limits, right-of-way guidelines, and any specific trail usage restrictions. Adhere to these rules to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

3. Share the trail: The Monon Rail-Trail is a multi-use trail, so be considerate and share the trail with other users. Keep to the right side of the trail, pass on the left, and give audible warnings when overtaking others.

4. Use proper signaling: If you are cycling or skating, use proper hand signals to indicate your intentions to other trail users. This helps prevent accidents and ensures clear communication.

5. Wear appropriate safety gear: If you are cycling, skateboarding, or rollerblading, wear a helmet and any other necessary protective gear. This can help prevent head injuries and minimize the risk of accidents.

6. Stay hydrated: Carry water with you, especially during hot weather, to stay hydrated while on the trail. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and dizziness, increasing the risk of accidents.

7. Be cautious at road crossings: The Monon Rail-Trail intersects with various roads. When approaching road crossings, slow down, look both ways, and obey traffic signals. Always yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

8. Be mindful of weather conditions: Be aware of weather conditions before heading out on the trail. In inclement weather, such as heavy rain or snow, the trail may become slippery and unsafe. Use caution and adjust your plans accordingly.

9. Travel in groups, if possible: If you are visiting the trail alone, consider going with a friend or joining a group. There is safety in numbers, and having someone with you can provide assistance in case of an emergency.

10. Carry identification and emergency contact information: Always carry identification and emergency contact information with you while on the trail. In case of an accident or emergency, this information can be crucial for first responders.

Remember, safety is a shared responsibility, so be courteous, respectful, and considerate of others while enjoying the Monon Rail-Trail.

Conservation Notes

The Monon Rail-Trail, located in Indiana, holds a significant conservation status due to its role in preserving natural habitats and promoting biodiversity. The trail spans approximately 27 miles, following the path of the former Monon Railroad, and has been transformed into a recreational space while maintaining its ecological value. The conservation efforts associated with the Monon Rail-Trail focus on protecting and enhancing the surrounding environment, ensuring the sustainability of the trail and its surrounding ecosystems.

One of the key conservation aspects of the Monon Rail-Trail is the preservation of native plant species. The trail corridor provides a habitat for a diverse range of flora, including wildflowers, grasses, and trees. Efforts are made to prevent the introduction of invasive species that could disrupt the natural balance and threaten the native vegetation. By maintaining the integrity of the plant communities along the trail, the Monon Rail-Trail contributes to the conservation of local biodiversity and supports the survival of various plant species.

Additionally, the Monon Rail-Trail plays a crucial role in protecting wildlife habitats. The trail passes through a variety of ecosystems, including woodlands, wetlands, and open fields, providing essential habitats for numerous animal species. Conservation efforts focus on minimizing disturbances to these habitats, ensuring that wildlife can thrive undisturbed. The preservation of these habitats along the trail contributes to the overall conservation of regional wildlife populations, allowing for the coexistence of recreational activities and the protection of natural ecosystems.

In summary, the conservation status of the Monon Rail-Trail is significant due to its efforts in preserving native plant species and protecting wildlife habitats. By maintaining the ecological integrity of the trail corridor, the Monon Rail-Trail contributes to the conservation of biodiversity and ensures the sustainability of the surrounding ecosystems.

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