Hiking The Knobstone Trail - Leota To New Chapel
The 5th most popular hiking trail in Indiana.
Sunday 24 July 2016 03:46 GMT
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 Leota Trailhead to New Chapel section is a 9 mile hike. The Leota Trailhead is located east of the county road which goes north from Leota Road, about 2 miles west of Leota. The trailhead is near a small power transmission line. The trail crosses several steep ridges as it heads south from the Leota Trailhead through the Clark State Forest backcountry area. I then drops into the lush North Branch Valley, one of the most scenic areas along the trail (abundant ferns, wildflowers and very large trees), before winding its way up a very steep, north-facing slope. The trail then traverses rolling to rugged terrain again, past a few wildlife ponds, to the New Chapel Trailhead. The total length of this segment is approximately 9 miles.
To drive from the Leota Trailhead to the New Chapel Trailhead, turn left (south) from the Leota Trailhead entrance road (gravel) onto a gravel county road and proceed 0.1 mile to Leota Road. Turn right (south) and continue for 1.7 miles to the first intersection . Turn left (south) onto New Salem Road and proceed for 3.4 miles to the intersection with S.R. 160. Turn left (east) onto S.R. 160 and continue for 1.8 miles to the unmarked county road to the left (north)-watch for KT post. Turn left (north) on this road and continue of 0.4 mile to the New Chapel Trailhead entrance road to the right (east).
Overall, Knobstone Trail - Leota To New Chapel is the 5th most popular hiking trail of all 21 hikes in Indiana.