Although the southern portion of the Nickel Plate Trail is 12.7 miles long, it represents the first step toward a 40+-mile rail-trail through north-central Indiana. This segment promises a bounty of dense forests, water views and wildlife.
The path starts in Peru at Walnut Street on the south side of the railroad tracks. Heading south, it crosses the mighty Wabash River (at 1.5 miles). From here you get an excellent view of the rock formations that comprise the bed of Little Pipe Creek. You will soon find yourself in a forest thick with willows and maple trees. Summer foliage creates a canopy over the trail that, in many sections, shields you from the withering sun. If you're cross-country skiing here in winter, this trail is nothing short of a snowy wonderland.
It may seem quiet here in the forest, but you are not alone: deer, rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks are likely to cross your path. A wide variety of bird species make their homes in these trees.
The view on the east side of the trail opens up about 1.5 miles into your trip. Near here, look for an old concrete dam that sits low in the creek bed; it has a lookout platform along the edge of the creek. The dam was originally built to supply water for the steam boilers on the locomotives pulling trains along the tracks. In spring and summer, a lovely flower bed next to the viewing platform flaunts cheerful blooms.
The trail continues through the forest canopy, passing small farms and rural homesteads that periodically pop into view. This segment ends in the small farming community of Cassville. On the Peru end, you can pick up the Peru to Rochester
segment of the Nickel Plate Trail at Lover's Lane. There is a 3.6-mile gap through Peru between the two segments.
One day, the Nickel Plate Trail will be a part of the 6,800-mile, cross-country American Discovery Trail.
To access the northern trailhead, take US 31 North to US 31 Business, and follow this for 1.5 miles. Turn right on Ellis Road and drive 0.02 mile. Turn left on SR125 West (Wallick Road). Look for the trailhead, with parking, on the right. This is the preferred access point as it has public parking.
The southern trailhead in Cassville can be accessed via US 31 as well. Heading north, take a right onto County Road E 560 N (Walnut St). Shortly thereafter, take a left onto Washington Street and a right onto County Road E 550 N. The trailhead will be on the left.
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 ...
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 ...
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. ...