Hiking The Knobstone Trail - New Chapel To Jackson
The 10th 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 new Chapel to Jackson Road section is a 12 mile hike. The New Chapel Trailhead is located about 0.5 mile north of S.R. 160 and is just east of the county road which goes north from S.R. 160 about 0.3 mile west of New Liberty. From the New Chapel Trailhead the trail proceeds in an easterly direction over rolling terrain until it turns south and drops about 350 feet to S.R. 160. Just south of S.R. 160 the trail climbs a very steep slope to an overlook. The trail then gradually drops to lower elevations and crosses Pixley Knob Road. Several small intermittent streams are then crossed and the trail turns to the west and rises to another overlook. Looking south from the overlook, Louisville can be seen on a clear day. The trail then turns back to the south and winds up to the top of Round Knob, providing another view of the surrounding area. Within the mile between Round Knob and the Jackson Road Trailhead, the trail drops about 300 feet and rises back to the ridgetops. To get to the Jackson Road Trailhead from the trail, go right (west) along the paved county road for about 0.1 mile to the gravel county road to the right (north). Follow this road (Jackson Road) for 0-.3 mile to the trailhead parking lot to the left (west). This segment of trail is approximately 12 miles in length.
To drive from the New Chapel Trailhead to the Jackson Road Trailhead, turn left (south) from the trailhead entrance road onto the paved county road for 0.4 mile to S.R. 160. Turn left (east) on S.R. 160 for 0.5 mile to the first road to the right. Turn right (south) on Pixley Knob Road and continue for 5.6 miles to the small town of Blue Lick. Turn right (southeast) on the county road just past the old Blue Lick General Store (closed). Continue for 4.2 miles (keep to the right at the intersection of the county road being followed and Reed Road) to Jackson Road (gravel road which forms a T-intersection from the right. Turn right (north) on Jackson Road-watch for the KT post. Continue for 0.3 mile to the trailhead parking lot, just west of Jackson Road.
Overall, Knobstone Trail - New Chapel To Jackson is the 10th most popular hiking trail of all 21 hikes in Indiana.