In southern Indiana, the 58 mile Knobstone Trail winds through thick woodlands and up steep ridgelines while traversing the rocky, forested Knobstone Escarpment. The Knobstone Escarpment has layers of weathered brown shale and sandstone have been heaved up to 300 feet above low-lying farmland and hollows.
The main route passes through Clark State Forest, Elk Creek Public Fishing Area, and Jackson-Washington State Forest in Clark, Scott, and Washington counties and is managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The white-blazed trail presently extends from near Deam Lake, just north of S.R. 60 in Clark County, to Delaney Park, just east of S.R. 135 in Washington County. Make sure to bring water since it can be very dry at times.
The Knobstone Trail may eventually be developed northward to connect with the Hoosier National Forest, Yellowwood State Forest, and Morgan-Monroe State Forest. The Hoosier National Forest currently manages an informal stretch of the Knobstone Trail in Brown County known as the Nebo Ridge Section.
Seven trailheads have been developed along the trail, providing parking areas and direct access to the Knobstone Trail. The Delaney Park Trailhead is located within Delaney Park, a Washington County Park that includes facilities for camping, cabins, showers, and a gated entrance. The Elk Creek Trailhead is located at a public access site on Elk Creek Lake. The parking area for the lake and trail is paved. All of the other trailheads include a small gravel parking area.
The Elk Creek to Leota section is a 7 mile hike. The Elk Creek Trailhead is located at Elk Creek Public Fishing Area, 1.5 miles south of S.R. 56 and about 10 miles east of Salem. The trail leads from the southeast end of the parking lot and meanders around the south shore of the lake. It then rises about 170 feet to a ridge top, providing the hiker a view of the lake and surrounding valley. The trail then drops back to the lake level and continues eastward out of the state fish and wildlife area toward Clark State Forest. This section of the trail provides the hiker with a variety of ridgetops and bottomlands. The trail also passes through some large clearings created by logging operations. These clearings provide excellent wildlife habitat-deer, grouse and other species may be observed here. The trail rises to an elevation of 1,000 feet as it reaches the Leota Trailhead. The trail is approximately 7 miles in length between the Elk Creek and Leota Trailheads.
To drive from the Elk Creek Trailhead to the Leota Trailhead, turn right (east) from the Elk Creek entrance road onto the road it intersects. Continue for 1.8 miles to S.R., 56. Turn right (east) onto S.R. 56 and proceed for 3.9 miles to an unmarked county road-watch for the Stucker Fork Water Tower, northwest of the intersection. Turn right (south) on this road and continue 1.1 miles to an intersection. Turn right (west) staying on the road for 1.2 miles to a T-intersecdtion with Leota Road. Turn right (west) on Leota Road and proceed for 1.3 miles, then turn right (north) on the gravel road which curves off to the right at the top of the knob-watch for KT post.
Overall, Knobstone Trail - Elk Creek To Leota is the 13th most popular hiking trail of all 21 hikes in Indiana.