Big 4 Rail Trail (Zionsville)


Register for free!

Register for free with TrailLink today!

We're a non-profit all about helping you enjoy the outdoors
  • View over 30,000 miles of trail maps
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your own favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Leave reviews for trails
  • Add new and edit existing trails

Big 4 Rail Trail (Zionsville) Facts

States: Indiana
Counties: Boone
Length: 3.7 miles
Trail end points: Heritage Trail Park off CR 875 East and bridge over Eagle Creek south of Starkey Ave.
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015377
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

With Unlimited:

  • Export to My Trail Guide
  • Create Guidebook
  • Download GPX
  • Download Offline Maps
  • Print Friendly Map
Upgrade Now

Big 4 Rail Trail (Zionsville) Description

The Big 4 Rail Trail will one day stretch 50-plus miles across Boone County, from the northern suburbs of Indianapolis to Lafayette. The Big 4 in the trail name refers to the old Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway corridor. It could just as easily refer to the four communities pushing this long-term project: Zionsville, Whitestown, Lebanon, and Thorntown. The description here details the portion of this regional network that runs through Zionsville, which was formerly known as the Zionsville Rail Trail. Another 9.5 miles of the Big 4 Rail Trail are open to the northwest between Lebanon and Thorntown.

A number of railroads operated trains on those tracks, starting with the Lafayette and Indianapolis Railroad in 1850 and ending with Conrail in 1976. The tracks carried newly elected President Abraham Lincoln through this area in 1861 and carried his body home four years later. The “Big 4” Railroad operated the longest period, 1889–1930. Zionsville installed a trail along the corridor in the 1990s.

At the south end of the path, you’ll begin your adventure on a bridge 60 feet above Eagle Creek. A side trip down a boardwalk to the floodplain leads to paths in Starkey Nature Park. The first 0.8-mile stretch of the trail, known as the Nancy Burton Corridor, travels through woods on a hard-packed limestone surface. The last 1.5-mile section is known as the Dave Brown Corridor.

At 0.6 mile turn right onto a short path and take residential streets for a visit into downtown Zionsville. Founded in 1852, the town draws tourists to its brick-paved Main Street, where you’ll see a progression of architectural styles from previous eras. Dining and shopping are popular pursuits, and the town offers a full calendar of events.

The trail emerges from the woods onto asphalt in less than a mile. The route is somewhat unusual in that it passes all the way through town before encountering the first at-grade crossing, located at County Road 875 on the north side of Zionsville. The trail passes beneath all other streets via tunnels as it goes through much of town below street level. Numerous parks in town—including Jennings Field, Carter Station, and Heritage Trail Park, as well as the Rail Trail Gardens Event Center at the north end of the route—have connections to the trail.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach parking at the south end of the trail: From I-465, take Exit 27 onto US 421 N toward Zionsville. Go 0.1 mile north on US 421, and turn left onto W. 96th St. Go 2.6 miles and turn right onto Ford Road. Go 1.3 miles and turn right onto Starkey Ave. Go 0.6 mile and look for parking on the left. The trail endpoint is 0.6 mile south.

To reach the northern end of the trail: From I-65, take Exit 133 onto Albert S. White Blvd. Head east 3 miles (the road becomes County Road 400 S), and follow the road as it curves right onto CR 700 E, then left onto CR 425 S. Go 0.5 mile on CR 425 S, and turn left onto Zionsville Road. Follow it as it curves right onto CR 400 S. Go 1.3 miles and turn right into Heritage Trail Park. The park path connects to the trail.

Big 4 Rail Trail (Zionsville) Reviews

This is my neighborhood rail trail; I've used it extensively for hiking, running, biking, and walking for many years. It is well-maintained most of the year and offers a fair amount of shade when leaves are on the trees. Zionsville needs to start clearing and salting it promptly in winter weather, though; it's a shame that it often can't be used.

I love that this trail is 5.6 miles long and easily accessible from many neighborhoods. I'm training for a marathon, and I can drive there, park, and run segments of it out and back for distances up to 11 miles.

The half-mile segment from the Starkey Avenue entrance south to the 0 mile marker is unpaved and shaded, so I head down there and back to start and finish each run. If you feel like running trails, the beautiful Starkey Nature Park is accessible at the 0 mile marker.

A previous poster mentioned that there is no bathroom, but I think there is a port-a-potty in the Starkey Avenue parking area. I've also used the Starbucks and the McDonald's on Oak Street in emergencies. And, just north of Oak Street, there is a bench and water fountains for people and dogs. (Thank you, Zionsville Christian Church!)

Amazing trail with very friendly people. Will definitely use this one again. One thing to note, though, there are no bathrooms or water areas available as of Spring 2015. There is a bathroom icon at the top of the trail, and my guess is they will have one eventually. We headed back south and got off the trail briefly to use Starbucks facilities and grab some water. My favorite trail so far for Mini training!

...just wish it was longer! The Zionsville Rail Trail reminds me of the Monon, but much less crowded! I think they might be extending it further north...I've seen some construction? (hope so!)

Trail Events

This trail does not have any events yet.
Be the first to add one!

Add an Event

Nearby Trails

Big 4 Trail (Whitestown)

Indiana - 2.2 miles

The Big 4 Rail Trail will eventually connect all of Boone County, from the Marion County line to the south, to the Clinton County line to the north. A...

106th Street Path

Indiana - 5.7 miles

The 106th Street path is a smooth asphalt connector linking the communities of Zionsville and Carmel. The trail begins on Pennsylvania St. in Carmel,...

146th Street Trail

Indiana - 2.3 miles

The 146th Street Trail is a linear pathway that follows its namesake roadway across Westfield, which lies on the northern outskirts of Indianapolis....


Centennial Trail (IN)

Indiana - 2 miles

The Centennial Trail lies in a pleasant neighborhood of the same name in southwestern Westfield, about 15 miles north of Indianapolis. The trail...

Midland Trace Trail

Indiana - 2.3 miles

Much of the Midland Trace Trail is still in the planning and development stage; however, three short, disconnected segments totaling nearly 2.5 miles...

Eagle Creek Trail

Indiana - 7.1 miles

This 7-mile Indianapolis trail is worth keeping an eye on: the vision for the Eagle Creek Trail is a 16-mile corridor reaching from the hills of Eagle...

Monon Trail

Indiana - 27.1 miles

Railroads helped Indianapolis grow into a transportation hub and manufacturing center beginning in the 1850s. One of those early railways that shaped...

Hagan-Burke Trail

Indiana - 1.42 miles

Although less than 2 miles long, the Hagan-Burke Trail provides valuable connections to three other trails in the city of Carmel: the Monon Trail (an...

Greyhound Trail

Indiana - 0.4 miles

The Greyhound Trail is sandwiched between a residential community and the Carmel High School Stadium. A portion of the trail follows the former North...

Lenape Trace Trail

Indiana - 1 miles

The Lenape Trace Trail is a short connector path that links a newer residential development in Carmel, Indiana, with both the Sunrise Golf Course and...

Natalie Wheeler Trail

Indiana - 1.6 miles

The Natalie Wheeler Trail provides a straight north-south route along Union Street/Westfield Boulevard in the Indianapolis metro area. Although it...

Ronald Reagan Parkway Trail

Indiana - 3.2 miles

This trail travels 3.2 miles atop an asphalt path beside the Ronald Reagan Parkway in Avon, Indiana. Starting at County Road 300 N, the trail heads...

Download the TrailLink mobile app and take TrailLink with you!
Support TrailLink and the Trails You Love in 2020!
Get a FREE guidebook when you join Rails-to-Trails Conservancy!

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google


Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google