Hiking The Knobstone Trail - Delaney To Oxley
The MOST popular hiking trail in Indiana.
Tuesday 5 July 2016 01:54 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 Delaney Park & Spurgeon Hollow to Oxley Memorial section has two trailheads are located east of S.R. 135 between Brownstown and Salem. To reach the trailheads from State Road 135, EITHER drive south from Brownstown (17.1 miles from the S.R. 50 intersection) OR north from Salem (3.8 miles form the S.R. 56 intersection) to Rooster Hill Road/Old S.R. 135. Turn east onto Rooster Hill Road/Old 135, veer right and follow the road 1.6 miles. Turn right onto Winslow Road, veer left. and follow the road 0.6 mile. EITHER turn left onto Delaney Park Road to reach the Delaney Park entrance (0.2 mile), OR turn right to reach the Spurgeon Hollow Trailhead (0.3 mile). Delaney Park, is operated by the Washington County Park Board and is connected to the Knobstone Trail. Delaney Park requires an admission fee for all park users and Knobstone Trail hikers. To proceed to the Spurgeon Hollow Trailhead, turn right (south) from the Winslow Road/Delaney Park Road intersection and continue for 1/2 mile to the trailhead entrance road (gravel) on the left (east)-watch for the KT post. Turn left (east) onto the entrance road to get to the trailhead.
Delaney Park Loop (approximately 6 miles; distance to Spurgeon Hollow Trailhead is approximately 2, 7, or 9 miles depending on the route chosen) The Delaney Park Trailhead is located inside Delaney Park, near the beachhouse. Delaney Park is located about 2 miles east of S.R. 135 and 9 miles northeast of Salem; by road it is about 1 mile north of the Spurgeon Hollow Trailhead. The trail heads east from the beachhouse 1/4 mile where another trail intersects. At this point, the hiker has a choice: the trail to the right (southeast) connects to the Spurgeon Hollow Loop (see description below); continuing straight is the Delaney Park Loop, a rugged 3 1/2-mile hike which connects to the Spurgeon Hollow Loop (following the Spurgeon Hollow Loop back to the Delaney Park Loop turn-off completes the Delaney Park Loop [approximately 6 miles]). Following the Delaney Park Loop around to where it meets the Spurgeon Hollow Loop, the hiker can turn right (west) and continue 2 miles to Delaney Park, or 3 miles to Spurgeon Hollow Trailhead. Turning left (east), the hiker can follow the south side of the loop around to the Spurgeon Hollow Trailhead (5 miles) or continue 2 1/2 miles to the turn-off to the Elk Creek Trailhead. It is approximately 9 miles to the Elk Creek Trailhead from the turn-off.
To drive from Delaney Park to the Spurgeon Hollow Trailhead, turn left (south) from the Delaney Park entrance road onto the road it intersects and follow for approximately 3/4 mile to the trailhead entrance road on the left (east)-watch for the KT post. Turn left (east) onto the entrance road (gravel) to get to the trailhead.
Overall, Knobstone Trail - Delaney To Oxley is the 1st most popular hiking trail of all 21 hikes in Indiana.