Nickel Plate Trail Reviews    

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Hoosier solitude at its finest

By plu in September, 2014

I started at the new southernmost point, just north of Chrysler plant at 931 and 35. What a lovely 40-mile day! Rode to Peru and wandered through town to the Lovers Lane trailhead (you have to look closely for the road markings, but they are there) and then headed back to town for a little time in the Miami Co. Museum and a burger at Gabriels. The whole experience was just central Indiana in a nutshell. Beautiful views of barns and crops, small critters and birds everywhere, small towns, and a "big town" experience with Peru. Particularly idyllic was the last 2 miles into Peru along a chattering Little Pipe Creek. If you are looking for crowds, social life, and buildings, head for the Monon. If you are looking for solitude and country, head to the Nickle Plate. I can't wait to get back up there and do the northern half.

New extended trail to the south of Cassville.

By lokkol in August, 2014

There is a new section recently opened up south of Cassville. It stretches approximately one mile and a half south. Very nice smooth asphalt. Ends just north of Chrysler at 931.

Nice Trail, Despite Poor Parking and Amenities

By brstacy2672 in June, 2014

The trail itself from end to end is a very enjoyable ride. The rises are gradual and easy to manage. The pavement is smooth, with just a few minor issues to navigate around. While riding today, we saw a variety of wildlife ranging from a deer, tons of playful chipmunks, several groundhogs, and many different colorful birds.

Our only complaints about the trail which prevents us from rating it as a 5-star trail, is the lack of restrooms along the trail, the poor parking conditions at many of the trail-heads, and the fact that signage leading to the trail from area highways is nonexistent.

We will definitely be back to ride this trail as it is still worth the ride despite the lack of amenities.

Great Ride

By dmatchette in May, 2014

We loved the ride on the north trail. I can't wait to get back and ride the south trail.

Great Ride

By dmatchette in May, 2014

We had a wonderful ride on Nickel Plate. I can't wait to get back and ride the south end.

Southern Portion - Watch for Woodchucks

By mbobcek in May, 2014

Started from the Southern Mile 13.7, I believe. I biked across a really nice route. The trail was clean and well-marked and I could just cruise! Because I had just quite smoking, it was nice to just zone out, until stop signs came. A fair bit of traffic, about a person every mile. Easily navigated.
I read some people declaring this one big hill. I thought it was a perfect flat ride with a couple dinkers. Really nice bridges. The south Wabash Bridge is really cool. It was interesting to see the retrofitting of it. Looks like they kept the tracks to act as "longitudinal reinforcement" of the concrete.
I got a bit lost when looking for the northern portion. Granted, I didn't look at the map very well and I had no service in Peru (Verizon). So I just rode around town, saw some nice stores.
On my way back, it was 630pm, I was tired, but enthusiastic. I saw many species of bird: finch, blue jay, woodpecker (technically heard him). About 5 woodchucks dive-bombed me over about 6 miles. One played varsity ball, apparently, because he went straight for my ankles. It was an experience. I'll be going back for the northern route!

Amazing, hidden gem!

By brentandlynn in July, 2013

My wife and I are traveling from Ohio to Iowa for family weddings, and are stopping along the way for rides we've found on Trail Links. This one caught our eye as paved and over 20 miles.
We started at the southern trailhead at mile 0.
The first few miles are a bit of an upward grade, but manageabe
Le (avg 14.5 mph). We commented often that we would enjoy the return trip.
Other than one short section that is in need of repair the trail bed is in fantastic condition, smooth and well maintained.
In Rochester we discovered that there is an additional 1 mile long section paved within the last few weeks.
If you're doing an out-and-back ride our recommendation is to start at the southern end.
We're already talking about bringing riding friends here for a biking weekend!

Wonderful Ride

By tjmishler in July, 2013

Started in Rochester and rode to Peru. Went off the trail at Lovers Lane and rode in to Peru, approximately 1 mile. Plenty of places to eat and replenish water. It was a beautiful trail, very well kept. The one area that needs repaired is very well marked. All roads that we had to cross were very well marked with stop signs and road markers. There is a port-a-potty at the trail head in Rochester, but do not recall seeing one at Peru. We will ride this one again.

By modtopdriver in June, 2013

Excellent trail to see beautiful farmland. No shelters to escape the pop up thunderstorm that drenched me. Had a great ride nonetheless!

A Ride into Hoosier History

By ob in June, 2013

This trail provides a wonderful opportunity to show younger riders how important the railroad once was to these little towns. Hopefully, a new kind of prosperity can arrive with the recreational visitors.
The trail has been extended into the south edge of Rochester... from there north, the trains still operate to Michigan City. Tasteful benches are provided along the way, but no water or toilet facilities except for a portable at the northern terminus.
Denver seems to be ready to offer food and drink...

well maintained trail 4/30/2013

By sweetcat in May, 2013

We parked at the trailhead at Lover's Lane and biked toward Rochester. As noted there are no restrooms and no water on the trail so come prepared. The trail starts out with a 2 mile easy grade climb. You seem to be climbing up a ridge. This is the "steepest" of the climbs although it is an easy grade. The best part is when you head back from Rochester you know the last 2 miles will be your best downhill. The rest of the ride is very gradual descents- barely noticeable, and some gradual climbs to Rochester. The first 10 miles are mostly protected from the wind and you get a nice shaded pathway. The trail is in good shape,very smooth. There are a few spots, well marked, closer to Rochester where the pavement has cracked and is sunken, possibly due to heavy rain.The last approximate 10 miles are more open farm fields. We biked out and back on our Mt. bikes in a little over 3 hours. We stopped for munchies a few times but did not go into any towns. The trail back to Peru is more uphill and we hit a 20-30 mile headwind which made it a bit more challenging. However, once you get within 10 miles of Peru you do get more shelter from the wind for most of the ride. We saw a huge snapping turtle on the side of the path, a snake and various birds. Very few people. 2 walkers and 3 bikers. One apparently didn't realize you need to callout "on your left" or some type of warning and almost caused a crash. Please remember to use this required courtesy. It saves a lot of grief. Especially on a trail that is not busy - no one expects you or hears you coming and even when staying in your own lane there are always branches to dodge etc.. At the Rochester end there was a sign that says "trail end" but we noticed another asphalt stretch continuing so it looks as if they have made good progress. This is a very clean trail - no litter and I hope everyone helps it stay that way. There was a section with a bunch of emerald green flies all over it for quite a way - the breeze was a blessing as it kept them from landing and biting - it also encouraged me to pick up my pace! I might pack some bug spray next trip. It is a lot nicer than our Monon in Carmel if you are looking for a quiet peaceful uncrowded ride to stretch out a bit. Enjoy!

Rochester to Denver

By bobhostetler in October, 2012

Ride this trail in the fall . . . the wildflowers are abundant, the fields are golden, and the temperatures perfect. There is very little tree cover, so summer temperatures could be brutal. The trail is mostly flat and smooth, and there are frequent stops for cross traffic (which seldom seems to be at right angles, so there's over-the-shoulder viewing for safety). Rest rooms are the biggest problem, although Denver seemed hospitable, and we found a pizza place that offered drinks and facilities.

Smooth Cruisin'

By cruzgal in August, 2012

This trail is nice and long. Almost 40 miles long! Typically I ride the trail from Peru to Miami and back (20 mi, round trip) and it is smooth and a great endurance builder for biking. You will have to stop at roads (cross traffic does not stop, but there isn't much traffic) when you go through different towns, but it's not a problem. This section of the trail is mostly shady, giving great protection from sun. There are a few small parking areas along the way and there are safety signs at every crossing. Peru even built a crosswalk for the trail so that bikers/joggers/walkers could get through town safely. The grade changes are barely perceptible in this section and the views are wonderful. You'll go over bridges, above the fields and through them. It's quite a sight! This trail does not feature any bathrooms, however it does go through towns with gas stations if you really need one. Recently someone built an enclosed vending machine snack/drink stand (with picnic table) about a mile from the Walick Rd parking lot. There are plenty of rest benches along the trail, most of them are shaded by trees and donated by local organizations and youth service projects. I love this trail and bike it 4 times a week. It provides exercise and free fun for families and teenagers in the cities and towns along the trail.

Uphill battle

By powercatholls in July, 2012

We parked in a small gravel patch good to fit only about 5-6 cars. Starting out from the lot on Lovers Lane to the trail its uphill right away. We have done many trails and this one felt really tough. It always seemed that we were struggling slightly uphill. We thought the ride back would be easier and downhill but that wasn't the case. It is nicely paved, nice views, but wasn't an enjoyable ride. There are also no water fountains so bring plenty of water.

April 15th 2012 ride

By abn2nds in April, 2012

VERY windy today! Was riding south and the wind was right in our faces the whole way down. Took some nice pictures along the way of the Wabash River and creeks running off of the trail. The trail is very smooth, clean and well taken care of. Not much to see along the way though, would be nice to know if there are any little shops off the trail as you ride along. Overall it was a nice ride, we have done the north ride as well.

Useful Information and Tips

By rc86199 in November, 2011

The Nickel Plate North Trail is totally paved from the start near the Judy Burton Nature Preserve (south of Rochester) to the parking at Lovers Lane Road north of Peru. As with the Nickel Plate South Trail (Peru to Cassville), the trail, as of November 2011, is well-maintained, offers rest areas with benches, but does not have any trail-provided water or restrooms. The town of Denver had at least two options for food, one being a mini mart with indoor tables and another small Italian place with outdoor seating only. For more information on the Nickel Plate Trail, see my review under “Nickel Plate Trail (Peru to Cassville Section)”.

Useful Information and Tips

By rc86199 in November, 2011

The Nickel Plate Trail is currently under active construction, so beware that any information is only accurate for the date it was written. We rode it in its entirety early November of 2011. We enjoyed it a lot, particularly since the fall leaves at this time were still colorful. While there are many exposed sections, much of it does have trees on one or both sides of the trail. It has a lot of very nice bridges, and the trail is well-maintained. The path is totally paved from the parking at Wallick Road in Peru to the town of Cassville. As of November 2011, the trail offers many rest areas with a bench and trail map sign, and occasionally a picnic table, but it does not have any trail-provided water sources or restrooms. However, there are mini marts or gas stations at or near Bunker Hill, Bennetts Switch, and Cassville. These can be located on Google Maps. We ate lunch at the gas station in Cassville (on Highway 31), which offered very friendly service, a wide variety of hot food, drinks, snacks, and also had indoor tables.

I checked to see if each of the parking areas designated on the maps from nickelplatetrail.org did exist, and they indeed did, although occasionally it seemed they might have been a bit difficult to find in a car with just the maps provided, without better detail or verbal instructions. Each of these can be located on Google Maps, as it shows the intersection of each street name with the Nickel Plate corridor. Note also that many of the parking areas were very small, including the one on Wallick Road, and could potentially fill quickly on weekends with good weather.

One of the trail maps on nickelplatetrail.org could imply that the trail continues through the city of Peru. This part is still under active construction, and an alternate map on that site does provide a street alternative. However, note that as of November 2011, the mile and a half from the city of Peru north to the Lovers Lane Parking is a narrow dirt path on the old rail corridor with a lot of natural debris such as branches, briars, sticks, etc. in the path. There is also one creek crossing that involves negotiating a short but extremely steep path.

Love the Nickel Plate!

By lecymay in September, 2011

I've ridden this trail twice now this summer. It's a smooth clean and secluded trail that alternates between open farm fields and wooded areas. It's perfect for casual or avid cyclists. Bring your own water and be willing to be creative when it comes to using the restroom, because the trail does not provide these. Denver is a good rest point--my mom and I happened through during a Saturday afternoon Little League tournament and found restrooms available as well as chocolate shakes. Just south of Rochester you may see an Amish farmer out on a hay wagon or a fox darting into the brush, like we did. However, they've had some problems with vandalism so be sure to keep an eye out for trail conditions.

HOT ride today!

By abn2nds in July, 2011

Me and my GF rode the entire trail today, 40+ miles from the south to north. Starts out in a shady area but the majority of the trail was in the sun. We drank quite a lot of water, small store in Denver. No water fountains or bathrooms along the way. Parking near the south on Lovers Lane Rd. is a small gravel patch, maybe five cars. I parked in a medical facility lot off of 24. Trail is clean, smooth with a few rises/grades. It's a nice trail but if you go on a hot day, take plenty of water and be prepared for no bathrooms along the way.

New to trail

By conwin in June, 2011

We are new to bike riding and have used this trail twice. We started in Cassville and rode 5 miles up and 5 miles back to Cassville. This trail is very well kept and we really like it. We want to work our way up to riding to Peru and back to Cassville. We are an older couple so we have to get used to riding.

Gorgeous trail - no amenities

By mlwberg in June, 2011

June 2011
I rode north from Peru to Rochester and back, a total of 40 miles. The trail itself is in excellent condition and well maintained. The only restroom is single port-o-pot at the north end. There are a couple of stores in Denver, about 6 miles north of Peru. There are no stores close to the end of the trail in Rochester. So pack what you need to take along.

About half the trail is shaded by trees.

Spring & Fall use

By jamrpoi in May, 2011

Have been on this trail twice, once in the fall (best time to go) and once this spring. Going anytime it is hot can be tortuous as the farm fields seem to grow more heat than crops. The trail is mostly flat except southbound out of Peru but the grade is gentle enough for most people.
This trail can be quite beautiful at certain times of the year and if you want solitude this is the trail for you. Substantial parts are shaded but there are large stretches open to the hot sun so bring sunscreen and plenty of water.
There are some establishments open for trail users in the little town of Bunker Hill but I can't comment on them just yet since I have not visited them.
Overall a great trail!

Twenty Miles Added

By bc_click in January, 2011

FYI: The Nickel Plate group has added almost 20 miles of paved trail. It picks up at Lovers Lane located 1 mile north of Peru and ends at Wabash Avenue 1 mile south of Rochester. Parking available at Lovers Lane (limited), Denver, Deedsville, Birmingham, and Macy. No parking available on the north end as yet.

Work on the bridge over the Wabash River will begin in March which will connect the southern portion of the trail to Peru. This expected to be completed by late June.

The Nickel Plate group is working to connect the north and south sections through Peru. No timeline yet.

A short section on the north end has been railbanked and should complete the connection to Rochester sometime this year.

The eventual goal (2-3 Years) is to have a paved 40 plus mile trail from Kokomo to Rochester.

Beautiful trail, close to Indy

By tofarrell in June, 2010

My family was pleased to discover this well-maintained, picturesque trail so close to our home near Indianapolis. Just an hour's drive north put us in beautiful farm country, with most of the trail wooded to provide respite from the summer sun. On a Friday afternoon, we started from Cassville trailhead, which was a little tricky to find, and worked our way to just south of Bunker Hill before our six year old's legs gave out. We returned Sunday to the Peru trailhead, only to find no parking. So we back-tracked to the Bunker Hill parking lot and then continued where he had left off. Facilities are not abundant, with no water that we could find and only an occasional, foul-smelling "port-a-potty." So have little ones (and big people) "go" before you start! Traffic was much less than encountered on our local Monon Trail, allowing our six year old to wander more freely and at her own pace. Other users included pedestrians walking their dogs, a couple "intense" bicyclists, but mostly locals enjoying a beautiful summer afternoon on their bicycles. We will definitely return!

Great early spring run

By hopperrich in March, 2010

Trail conditions wonderful!!! Ran past clean-up crew about halfway into my run. This trail is a 5 star trail!!!

Great Trail

By Oldtimer in April, 2009

This is our favorite trail in Nothern Indiana. It's the perfect Sunday ride! Long enough for a good workout but short enough to do in a couple of hours. Trail is well maintained, but parking in Peru can be difficult due to the growing popularity of the trail. Just north of Peru, on US 31, is a great apple orchard with resturant which servers great home cooked meals (fantastic apple dumplings, just right to replace the carbs you burn off riding).

Nickel Plate Trail

By dbwynn in April, 2009

The Nickel Plate now runs nearly 13 continuous (paved!) miles from Peru to Cassville. One of my favorites to bike. The northern end parallels much of Little Pipe Creek and has great tree canopies...nice on a hot day. Also travels through a few small towns and past a drag strip. A great ride!