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The Cardinal Greenway, the longest rail-trail in Indiana, stretches just over 61 miles from Marion to Richmond along a former CSX railroad corridor. In 2018, the trail became an inductee into the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame.
The trail takes its name from the Cardinal, the passenger train that once regularly ran the route. The long greenway connects Marion, Muncie, Losantville, Richmond, and a host of smaller towns in rural Indiana. The trail is open from sunrise to sunset, and it’s well maintained and mostly flat for its entire length. The design elements along the path are consistent throughout, with arched steel embellishments on bridge crossings and stone mile markers every 0.5 mile.
Starting just north of Marion, the Cardinal Greenway seamlessly connects to the Sweetser Switch Trail, which heads north, while the Cardinal Greenway runs south back into downtown Marion. For a stretch at the beginning of the Cardinal Greenway into Marion, the path runs adjacent to and then crosses an active Norfolk Southern line as the greenway passes through a flat, rural landscape that highlights industrial and farmland scenery.
Heading southwest out of Marion, you will pass trailheads at Miller Avenue and Hogin Park, both featuring information kiosks and ample parking. After the park, you will cross the first of nine bridges in rapid succession. Once the trail winds its way into Jonesboro, you will cross US 35; the trailhead is on the left. A slight uphill climb takes you to a bridge that overlooks the Mississinewa River.
An 11.3-mile gap in the Cardinal Greenway currently exists from Jonesboro to Gaston due to private landowners acquiring the former rail corridor. An on-road route has been designated between the two towns.
Wildflowers flank the Gaston section of the greenway during the spring and summer. As you reach the County Road 400 trailhead, the urban fingers of Muncie start to reach out. An influx of runners, walkers, and in-line skaters—many of them students at nearby Ball State University—hit the trail. Farther south, the McCulloch Boulevard trailhead allows for a connection to Muncie’s White River Greenway, which follows the trail’s eponymous river. Here, you will also be faced with two bridges: to the right, a historical trestle bridge; to the left, the bicycle and pedestrian bridge that takes you across the White River. Another 0.3 mile south is the beautifully restored Wysor Street Depot, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which serves as the main office of Cardinal Greenways, Inc.
Heading south from the depot, you will find yourself in the quiet residential neighborhoods of Muncie. Passing under US 35, you will reenter the sun-drenched Indiana countryside, where the trail meanders along the highway through Medford and Blountsville. At the Medford trailhead (County Road 500 South), equestrians can access the 3.5-mile Cardinal Greenway Horse Trail that parallels the paved Cardinal Greenway and extends to South County Road 534 East. The Medford trailhead features a circular gravel lot with hitching rails and room for horse trailers.
The newest section of the Cardinal Greenway runs from Losantville south to Richmond, continually changing from open, sunny stretches to shady sections under a wooded tree canopy. From Losantville to Williamsburg, much of the trail runs adjacent to the road, but your eye is instead drawn to scenic wood bridges and farmlands with rustic barns and silos around every corner. This stretch of the route has light traffic, giving it a remote feeling, and is relatively flat with a slight downhill grade.
From Williamsburg to Richmond the path shows its rail roots with a stretch on an elevated railbed. As you pass through Webster, the trail begins a slight uphill grade through woodlands; this is a good spot for birding. As the greenway approaches the outskirts of Richmond, you will pass under I-70 and through local parks and woodlands. This section of trail is no longer elevated as it makes its way through residential areas.
Along the final mile of the Cardinal Greenway, the trail features a trestle bridge over the East Fork Whitewater River before its official end at the D Street trailhead. From the trailhead, the greenway seamlessly connects to the 3.5-mile Whitewater Gorge Trail, which heads southwest to Test Road. The Whitewater Gorge Trail features geological landmarks, such as vertical cliffs and waterfalls, that are accessible by foot on side paths off the main trail.
To access the northernmost trailhead just outside of Marion: From I-69, take Exit 264 for IN 18. Head west on IN 18, and go 10.8 miles. Turn left onto County Road 400 W. The trailhead and parking lot for the Sweetser Switch Trail (which serves both the Sweetser Switch Trail and the Cardinal Greenway) will be on your right. Cross the railroad tracks to access the Cardinal Greenway on the opposite side of the street.
To reach the trailhead in Gaston, take I-69 to Exit 255 for IN 26 toward Hartford. Head east on IN 26, and travel 1.5 miles. Turn right onto S. Wheeling Pike. In 3 miles, turn right onto S. CR 900 E, which becomes N. CR 600 W. In 4.9 miles, turn right onto CR 850 N/W. Elm St. In 0.3 mile turn left onto Broad St. to find the trailhead.
To access the southernmost trailhead near Veterans Memorial Park: From I-70, take Exit 149 or 149A, and head south on Williamsburg Pike. In 2.4 miles, turn left onto Richmond Ave. In 0.6 mile, cross the East Fork Whitewater River, and Richmond Ave. becomes N. D St. Go 0.1 mile after crossing the river, and turn right onto N. Fifth St. Immediately turn right onto N. D St. The parking lot is 0.1 mile straight ahead. The trailhead will be on your right and is located just under the Richmond Ave. Bridge.
This is a long post to give details for those who want to use the trail in Richmond. I live in Richmond and have walked this trail with my dog regularly for about five years. It’s very well maintained but there are some tricks to accessing and using it. It’s not the trail terminus, but Union Pike is the simplest trailhead to get to if you’re driving in, especially from I-70. Directions there are at the bottom of the post. This is the only trailhead in Richmond that has water. There’s a water fountain that’s turned on except during the winter. This is also the only trailhead in Richmond where I remember seeing porta-potties. My biggest request would be for more bathrooms and water fountains along the way. These access points run south to north. NUMBER 1 TIP: The Whitewater River runs north to south and divides Richmond in half. The Cardinal Greenway follows the river the whole way through Richmond. Find the river on the map and you can find the Greenway right alongside. On the south end of town, the Greenway is on the west side of the river. It crosses the river at several points along the way. NUMBER 2 TIP: Make sure you double check the names of streets. There are N, S, NW, and SW (but not NE or SE). if you’re trying to navigate through town just make sure you’re where you need to be. WHITEWATER GORGE TRAIL This is the oldest and southern-most part of the Cardinal Greenway. It’s been around for a few decades, built by a local trail group. I’m not sure if the Cardinal Greenway oversees it, but I consider it part of the Greenway. It’s a paved trail that goes through a gorge that’s mostly wooded parkland along the river. This has a couple hills and some unpaved side trails that can be fun to explore if you’re into off-road biking, hiking, or fishing. This is not counted as part of the Greenway on the TrailLinks map, but still has about 2 miles of nice trail with interesting views and even some wildlife occasionally. It’s not flat the whole way so if you want less challenging landscape, skip ahead to the D Street Trailhead. That being said, it’s not real rugged either. TEST ROAD The best way to access this trailhead is from Abington Pike. From National Road/Route 40, go south on Southwest 2nd Street (this becomes Abington Pike). You’ll take this for about 2 miles, then turn left onto Test Road. In about a quarter mile, the trailhead parking will be on your left. They just added a gate here and the sign says it’s closed dusk to dawn, so if you park your car there be sure to be out of there by nightfall so you don’t get locked in. RICHMOND HIGH SCHOOL - HUB ETCHISON PARKWAY You can access the trail from a long staircase at the parking lot across the street from Richmond High School on Hub Etchison Parkway. Coming from the north, the school is on the right and the parking lot is on the left side of the street. It’s a school parking lot, but even if you go when school is in session you should be okay. I always park right next to the staircase and I’ve never had trouble. The staircase is in the tree line. There should be a big green sign at the top of the stairs. You could haul a bike down it if you wanted, but it’s probably not the best place. It’s fine if you’re on foot. At the bottom of the stairs, turn right to go south to Test Road and through the more natural (though still paved) part of the trail, or turn left to go north toward downtown Richmond. VETERANS MEMORIAL PARK From East Main Street, at the railroad bridge that has a big “RICHMOND” sign, turn north. You’ll drive down a hill and toward the memorials. You can park there and take the trail south. There is a building with bathrooms and water fountains, but they’re usually not open. They’re supposed to connect this to the rest of the Cardinal Greenway to the north with a staircase, but that’s not finished yet. (An unofficial trail tip: If you’re on foot, you can keep walking north of the parking lot through a grass field. To the right is a big hill. If you walk up that very steep hill where there’s a worn path, you can get to the D Street trailhead parking lot.) STAR-GENNETT BUILDING If you turn south on South 1st Street by the bridge that has the big “RICHMOND” sign, you’ll wind up at a parking lot for the Star-Gennett building where pianos were manufactured 100 years ago. There was also a music recording studio that made jazz and country records. You can’t go inside the building except for special events, but you can use the parking lot any time. Head south on the Greenway to go to Test Road. You can see nice markers commemorating musicians who recorded there, including Louis Armstrong. If you go north on the Greenway you’ll end up at the the Veterans Memorial Park. Along the way you’ll go under some large bridges and you can read some historical markers. It’s a pretty nice part of the trail. You definitely know you’re in a town, but you’re below it all in a partly wooded area. It’s great for a nice short walk with a good flavor of local history. If you’re looking for more quiet and solitude, you may want to go farther north or south. If you’re on foot, you can access the Star-Garnett building area via a stairwell on the bridge on the south side of South A Street/Route 40. D STREET TRAILHEAD This is considered downtown, but it’s on a small side street. The best way to get there is on North 5th Street. Near the intersection with Richmond Avenue, find North D Street, a little side street a block and a half long (NOT the big North D Street that exentends from Richmond Ave. I have no idea why there are two North D Streets a block apart!) The trailhead is straight ahead at the end of this short street. This is the easiest access point if you have a bike trailer. There’s a bike shop very close to the trail here as well. They have a cafe here, but I don’t use it enough to be able to review it. They may have water, I just don’t know for sure. You can access this trailhead by taking North A Street around the front of the post office then turning north on North 3rd Street, but this way can be more confusing. SPRINGWOOD PARK You can park your car here and go up a steep switchback to get to the Greenway. From Waterfall Road, enter the park and drive past the entire lake and to the large parking lot near the closed-in pavilion. The paved trail to the Greenway is on the south end of the parking lot. UNION PIKE From Industries Road (just south of I-70 Exits 151 and 149A), turn south on Union Pike. Drive until you come to a crosswalk with flashing yellow lights. This is the trailhead. You can park there and get right on the trail. INDUSTRIES ROAD This is an old trailhead and is closed off to traffic with barriers. DO NOT PARK HERE. There is some exercise equipment where the parking lot used to be.
Always bring my bicycle along on business trips, to ride at the end of the day. Found this trail on the trail link app. Beautiful trail, very pleasantly surprised. Stopped at the train station and had a nice chat with the folks who run the place. Plenty of places to stop for breaks, nice surface.
Today, for National Trail Day, I rode the Cardinal Trail from the D street Trail head north to the Williamsburg Trail head. About 23 miles round trip. The trail is paved, easy riding with a slight upgrade going north for the first few miles. Not much. but enough that you can tell the difference on he return. Trail was in good shape with a few little bumps from cracks in the asphalt swelling and in one place a small tree across the trail from a recent storm. There are a fair number of whistle posts still in place, as well as some mile markers, a few concrete bases from signals and lots of ties along the route. A couple nice bridges too.
This trail I thought might be sketchy in quality and safety, but I was pleasantly surprised and I thought (at least in the muncie area) it was safe and well maintained. I would not hesitate to ride this again. Now I am not an avid road cyclist, but compared to other trails I've seen this one is superb. Cant wait to ride this again.
Rode from Richmond, IN to Williamsburg, IN 29.5 miles round trip. Great trail all paved, level, mostly shaded! Rest stops along the way with water, porta potties and historical info every 5 miles! Very enjoyable!
I rode the trail from the Super 8 motel in Gas City which accommodated parking my vehicle there for the overnight. The road portion was OK but GPS is pretty much a requirement. I rode the trail on a fairly heavily laden touring bike to The Seldom Scene Meadow B&B. Leighanne was a great hostess and the place is very nice.The Cardinal is a very fast trail and was in great shape for early in the year. Lots of twigs on the trail but that is to be expected on a rail trail. There are places to reprovision water and snacks near the trail all the way. The only thing I didn't care for about about this ride were the many busy road crossings and the presence of busy highways nearly the length of the ride. Everything else about this trail is exceptional.
Excellent trail, we rode from Gaston to Richmond. SPENT the night at the very clean and quiet KOA IN one of their cabins. I think the only downside of the ride was trying to get thru MUNCIE. All blacktop surface makes a good ride. Lots of friendly people along the ride.
I only had time to ride 5 miles at the head of the trail, but it is gorgeous.
I rode this on a Monday from the center of Richmond to the south edge of Muncie -- 40 miles -- and back for a total of 80. It's a very nice trail, the areas of concern for me reside in Richmond and content in the original description, otherwise I would rate this excellent. All of this ride, glitches included, was pleasant. Here's some background, the good, the bad, and the heads up report.
1) A great test for me. I rode this trail for a full one-day shakedown ride for a much longer multi-day trip that I will take later. I loaded the car with the bike, the rack, the bike trailer, the gps, drive the interstate etc...I was fully loaded for this test ride.
2) A great comparison to the SW Ohio trail system. Richmond is about an hour's drive from where I live in Dayton. Southwest Ohio (Dayton-Cincinnati-Xenia etc) has a very large and well-maintained bike way system: over 320 miles interconnected safe, hard-paved paths spanning the SW quarter of the state. I grade SW Ohio trails as "excellent."
Would this neighboring Indiana trail measure up? The answer is yes! This is an excellent trail!
The GOOD: The trail is very well put together. Hard-paved asphalt, remote from traffic most of the way. Bridges are restored with a decorative flare, nicely laid-out access parks with parking along the way. The access points have a consistent appearance, with wood encased and serviced porta-potties, attractive signage, historical markers, high-quality rest benches are set in concrete. One bench sits underneath a highway overpass...in the shade..which was greatly appreciated.
Indiana's hospitality is also very much in evidence. Drivers will smile and wave to you when you cross. It's easy to strike a conversation with locals, who are very appreciative of this trail.
1) OK, Trailink, where is it really?
Finding the trail in downtown Richmond was not intuitive or obvious, even with my GPS.
a) This spot from the description does not work: "In the heart of Richmond, you can park across from the playing field on Hub Etchinson Parkway."
Yeah, right. I did exactly that, assembled my bike and trailer, and then realized that the bike signage referred to the White River Gorge pathway, and I would have to go down a long length of steep steps. With my trailer attached, huh?
The trail at the bottom of the gorge may be part of the Greenway, but I prefer to think there's better access than going down steps along the side of a cliff.
I asked a local who was jogging up the steps if this is where I get on. He saw my rig and said No" and then directed me 2 1/2 blocks to the north to find the D street trail head.
b) This spot from the description also does not work:"Parking can also be found north of Richmond off Industries Road."
Nope, that's old information. That access is now blocked off to cars.
My Advice: Find The D street trailhead and park there, Alternatively, you can consider access points north of Richmond and I-75.
No point deduction for this as it does not reflect on the trail, but ... hey, local Richmond folks ... the trail-link write up needs an update.
2) Stay alert! Do not drift off the trail!
If you are a mountain biker, you've seen greater dangers, and this is trivial. If you have little kids on bikes, or if you ever stopped paying attention and drifted off the pavement, then read up.
a) Beware the berms.
For much of this trail, there is no flat, level berm on either side of the trail. You will not find, grassy edges that are routinely mowed. The trail itself is often elevated with coarse railroad ballast gravel on both sides. If you go off the edge, you will hit the gravel, you will go down.
b) Beware the cliffs in Richmond.
Wow! In Richmond, the trail goes along the edge of the Whitewater Gorge, which is really cool. But...if you go off the edge of the pavement, you may go over a cliff. Split-rail fences are positioned along that edge, but, in my mind, they give a false sense of security: if you go off pavement, the wide-gapped fence may not really catch you. You might just slip under the fence and over the cliff.
That being said, the trail is wide, you won't need to skirt the edges. Just be alert, don't be stupid.
Point deducted for safety concerns.
1. It's uphill from Richmond. You might want to start in Richmond, as it will be joy ride coming back.
2. Bring your water bottles. Do not expect water at the access points. This trail runs through rural Indiana, where local residents are on private wells. I saw only one water fountain on the trail ...inside Richmond City limits. I packed 4 bottles, drank up 3 of them on a very warm day.
3. Few amenities along the way. The trail goes through tiny villages that time has largely passed. Don't expect to see refreshment stops. One exception is the Losantville gas station where you can find something cold, which was appreciated.
4. Very Sunny most of the way, but with some really nice long shady woods.
BOTTOM LINE: Recommended. Great trail!
Rode this gem from Gas City then Gaston all the way to Richmond. Found this by accident while on a bike tour across the states. Didn't realize this was such an extensive trail It was not only long, but in excellent condition and a very nice ride. Certainly worth investigating rain or shine.. Such trails are always welcome, but when you find one that is relatively low use (during the workday) it truly lets you relax and take in all it has to offer.
I rode from sweeters switch to gas city. I found the trail to be very nice. I will be going again.
We had a nice afternoon ride on this trail. However, during our ride in Muncie, we found that there was no safety provisions for the section that crossed McGalliard, where there were 4 busy lanes. Possibly running the trail to a stop light crossing, a bridge across, or a culvert below would be nice.
walk this trail almost daily. we love it here.
I recently biked the cardinal Greenway from just south of Webster to Economy and back. It is very well laid out; a good deal of design work went into the bridges which are very aesthetically pleasing. One feature which I appreciate is that there are porta-potties spaced at each of the frequent trailheads - about one every 3 to 4 miles in this particular section. While some of the trail is out in the sun, most of it is a shaded path along the edge of the forest, so it could be fairly comfortable in midsummer. while the scenery is not spectacular, it affords one good views of crops being harvested (and likely of planting season as well.
There3 are enough long shallow grades to make the ride interesting.
I strongly recommend this trail to anyone who might consider a ride in the Richmond or Muncie areas.
My wife and I recently rode the Cardinal Greenway. I highly recommend this trail. This is the best maintained trail we have ever been on. If you are into biking for recreation you have to check this one out.
My Son and I rode the Cardinalal Greenway July 8th & 9th Of 2015. It is a great trail but we picked a bad time to ride as it rained from Gaston till we got to Harris Chapel Church where we spent the night. The Pastor and his wife were very hospitable and let us stay in their recreation hall over night. We were very grateful for a dry place to sleep. We left about 9:00 am and it started raining again until we got to Losantville. We had dry riding the rest of the way to Richmond. We are planning to ride again only when the weather is drier. There are plenty of rest stops along the way but very little pavilions to help keep you dry if the weather turns wet. Overall it is a great ride and I recommend it to all. Just pick a dry day or two to ride it. That is something we don't seem to be getting much of these days.
As we live in Muncie, you could say that the Cardinal Greenway is our "home trail". This is a super trail that allows you to experience rural Indiana at its finest. We live close by the trail and typically use the White River Greenway to connect to the Cardinal. We have traveled the trail at different times from Gaston to Richmond, and always find something new to look at along the way.
Traveling from Gaston to Muncie, you will experience farm fields along the trail, and shaded canopies offering relief from the hot sun during the summer.
The Muncie depot offers a nice break from the trail, with restrooms and snacks, but has limited hours that they are open. There are several dining options in downtown Muncie, which are an easy trip off of the trail. Offerings include sit-down restaurants, pubs, and a fast-food sandwich place. As you wind south out of Muncie, you will pass by Mansfield Park, which could also serve as a starting/ending point with good picnic facilities.
The ride from Muncie to Richmond is definitely the highlight for scenery for the trail, as you wind through more farm fields, and tree lined areas. Several miles outside of Muncie, you can take a short side jaunt on E CR 650 S to the Prairie Creek Reservoir. Further south, there are several bridges that offer nice views of creeks on this portion of the ride.
One of the highlights for this trail is that there are numerous trail-heads that you can choose from, and there are several areas that have portable restroom facilities. We do agree with the recommendation that others made in previous reviews that you need to make sure you have plenty of your own liquids, as there are not many places to hydrate along the trail.
I prefer trails with few road crossings and not much traffic. I'm visiting in Noblesville and find the Monon does not meet that expectation so I drove an hour to the closest trailhead in Losantville. I'm from FL so I noticed the slight rises but most would consider the portion I rode flat. There were shaded portions which on hotter days would be most welcome. The rest areas are frequent and the porta-potties clean. I was looking to add mileage and got as much as I wanted. On another trip I'll pick a different trailhead which would offer a more scenic ride according the rider I met at the trailhead before I started riding.
Forgot those beautiful, point-topped cast concrete C&O whistleposts in my trail review. Many of these beauties remain in place from MP132 down to the very east end of the trail, at Jonesboro. -Rich Ballash, Latrobe, PA 9-14-14.
Simply one of the most beautiful and interesting trails I have ridden in my 1250 miles of rail-trails! I transferred over to this west end of the Cardinal Greenway from the east end of the Sweetser Switch Trail. A short section of intact old C&O of Indiana begins your trail ride at classic concrete C&O Milepost 137 (137 miles northwest of Cincinnati). Between Milepost 137 and 2.4 miles east, you parallel the old Cincinnati-Chicago mainline C&O on a trackside trail, and as you approach the trail's "grade crossing", you see the beautiful welded rail that Amtrak's Cardinal ran over until 1985. A cut off signal mast here hearkens the days of the line's CTC control from Peru. The track veers south, and the trail takes its place on the old C&O's right-of-way. By the way, take a look at the still intact stub of the Pennsy at the grade crossing at the nearby trailhead. Norfolk Southern is using this stub to serve the huge GM plant to your north. Looking east, you'll see Milepost C-156 and its highway style metal mile marker. The scene now totally changes. Down the hill you go into the beautifully forested line through Marion. Very unique. It's hard to believe that an Amtrak train ran through here! Curvy and elevated, over bridge after bridge above the city. I couldn't even figure out where that Amtrak stop could have been! It's like riding through an inhabited version of PA's desolate Great Allegheny Passage! This trail is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! What a NEAT ride! The scenery never ends. It just keeps changing, right down to the trail's end at Jonesboro, where you climb back up along the river's edge, on a shelf, lined with huge timber supports from the railroad days. Along the way, all the old C&O mileposts remain intact, from 133 down to 127, except for MP130. I saw one metal relay case 2 miles west of the Jonesboro trailhead, but there are no doubt more, as the forested trail lines virtually all of the Marion suburbs. Vestiges of the neat trackside telegraph line abound, along with many glass insulators on their double arms. The Sweetser Switch and this trail combine to make 13.7 miles of varied and fascinating scenery, a real treat for ghost railroaders like myself! Kudos to everyone at the Cardinal Greenway! I look forward to heading south toward Richmond! -Rich Ballash, Latrobe, PA 9-16-2014.
This trail is great for the beginner and the well experienced. It is well maintained, clean, the people are friendly, and really smooth to ride on. The scenery changes enough, so don't worry about getting bored with your surroundings. Their website has an interactive map that helps you plan your routes.
The Prairie Creek Reservior is close to the trail between Medford and Blountsville if you'd like to see a boats and visit a beach!
Of the >80 trails I have to date ridden in my quest to traverse all latitudes from the Canadian border to the Mexican Border---on trails only, I found the Cardinal trail perfect since it runs north south on a smooth asphalt path. A cyclist can make good time assuming the headwind is not too stern. Never have I seen so many porta-potties along a trail---I bet it averages a potty every 3 miles. These facilities are in excellent condition and clean. There isn't water at every stop but there are nice benches and frequent maps. My friend Mark and I did this trail late May of 2014. The flowers were ubiquitous and the temps perfect. I would not like to take this trail on a hot summer day because the rest stops do not have shade and in some areas the trees are not fully grown to protect against sun and wind. The trail section indicated as incomplete (owned by private party) in the description above, appears to be open. There is a red round barn along the trail north of Newman Road. The Cardinal Greenway is a Great destination trail. Enjoy!
Drove down from Michigan for the second year in a row to ride this trail to launch my cycle season. Quiet ride through the countryside of Indiana. Need to take liquids and snacks because not many great feeding stations along the way. But a great trail to ride.
I rode the trail approx 8 yrs ago and loved it. I got up early everyday for 5 days and rode different sections. It was in the summer, had lots of wildflowers and butterflies, and I saw many deer in the mornings. It was a very hot week, and I remember sections without much shade, though the fields were pretty. I enjoy a quiet, peaceful trail for relaxing and meditating---you exercise body and spirit at once. These are some of the best, well-taken photographs I have seen from the trail pages. The flavor of the trail and individual subjects, such as the flowers, belted-kingfisher, and the cantering horse, even the old home without paint, are all extremely well done. Kudos to the photographer(s). I live in FL now and am looking forward to the day when I can return to the cardinal greenway to ride the new sections and connectors.
This trail is totally asphalt except for the bridges. It is very well maintained throughout. If you combine all of the sections from Richmond to the end of the Sweester Switch Trail, you end up with a ride close to 70 miles long. If you want a few more, there are a couple of shorter trails that connect in Muncie. (White Water River Trail).
Our plan was to park our car, with all of our luggage, in Muncie, which is central to this trail. We planned to go all the way north and back on ther first day and all the way south and back on day 2. No matter where you stay, I would suggest dring your car to the trail head to avoid the heavy traffic in the area.
Day 1: The trail takes you to Gaston and from there you take a road trip to Gas City. The road part is difficult to navigate. The country roads are not marked at all. Use the map given that you purchase from the trail head in Muncie. We tried to be techy and used google maps only to find we traveled in a big circle.
Day 2: We head south toward Richmond on our second day. The trail is easy to follow. Lots of road crossings, but beautiful countryside. Lots of wildlife. Nice ride.
Some suggestions I would like to make. Bring lots of sunscreen. My estimate would be that this trail is less than 50 percent shaded. Bring plenty of water. There really aren't many places to fill up. There are some pit stops along the way which consist of an outhouse and a bench or two, but they are mostly in unshaded areas. A couple of them have a water fountain. Bring food! Places to eat are scarce along the trail. You will find a couple of gas stations with sandwich shops inside. There is more variety in Richmond, but to get to most of them you will have to bike uphill!
This trail should be on your list whether you want a short trail ride and decide to do a single section or a two day trip on your bike.
Drove from Tennessee to ride most of The Cardinal Greenway in early July 2013 and I was quite happy with it. The scenery on this section is nicely varied, some of it being open and going right through soybean or corn or wheat fields, and some of it being more enclosed by bushes and trees. The trail appears very well maintained, though a little less so towards Richmond. In Richmond there is a big, old bridge that's fun to cross.
The many log fences lining the trail are quite nice, as are the many large rocks that are imprinted with the mileage and the greenway logo. Very creative and distinctive. The large maps at each trailhead (and there are several that are not shown on the map here) are very clear and helpful, providing mileages. The trailheads, while not fancy, are very nice with good benches and clean, well-maintained, roomy porta-johns. The only downside being the lack of water fountains. The only one is at the Losantville trailhead, so if you're starting there and going to Richmond and back, you'd better start out with all the water you'll think you'll need for the whole trip. Apart from the trailheads, there are lots of benches at random spots along the way.
You should visit cardinalgreenways.org for more information.
I have been on all sections numerous times, with the exception of Gaston to Marion, most rides 40-60 miles per trip down, about an hour and a half from home. I find the trail very well laid out, volunteers do a remarkable job, thanks to all. I am impressed with the depot in Muncie, although must admit l am a Railroading fan for many years, l appreciate they kept in place the original mile posts along with many whistle posts as well. I do agree with some others that a few more water stops along the way would be beneficial, l have been out there on 90+ degree days when l could have used it, although realizing electricity is not really an option at rest stops without considerable costs, it seems maybe a couple bbusinesses along the way, close by could sponsor water stops, that would be well marked from the trail, for example, two points between Losantville and Richmond. I enjoy the safety of the trail, as opposed to open roads with traffic, too many times cars passing me within two feet at 50-60 mph, none of this on the trail, so well worth my travel time to get to it.... thanks again, 5 stars.
My wife and I rode this section of the Cardinal Greenway in early June 2013. The trail is in very good shape with very nice rest areas that are spaced at very friendly intervals. We also found the portable restrooms to be clean. The only downside is that water is only available at approximately a quarter of the rest areas.
We found that there was very little scenery along much of the trail because of the dense vegetation lining both sides of the trail. However within Muncie there were a couple of nice scenic view-points.
Our overall experience was good although the scenery was somewhat disappointing as compared to many of the other trails we have ridden in the Indiana, Ohio, Michigan tri-state area. I would recommend riding the Muncie section of the Cardinal Greenway in the late fall after the leaves are down or in the early spring before leaf on.
My wife and I rode the entire Losantville Section of the Cardinal Greenway Trail (round trip) in October 2012 during the height of fall color. Both the color and scenery were beautiful. This section of the trail displays much more open scenery of the rolling farmland than the Muncie section when the trees are in full leaf.
If you are in the area or just passing by we recommend you ride the trail. Also take time to pedal around Losantville, Economy, and Williamsburg. Although the towns' businesses have abandoned along with the railroad, we met and talked to some very friendly and interesting people.
Some of the trail is very interesting but area's are really plain. The trail is in excellent condition.
Wrong Length -
This trail is a lot bigger than the site currently shows. I started at the most northern point (which is just south of I-70), and noticed I wasn't at the most northern point. So I started running north to try and find the end, and I ran roughly 1.5 miles before I turned around.
Trail Quality -
I said this is for marathon bike training for 2 reasons. Reason 1 is because this is a very well kept pavement trail. It is wide for passing, and smooth as you can get. Reason 2 is there are no abrupt turns. This trail has a slight turn for every half mile of strait away.
Trail Scenery -
Hope you enjoy corn fields, and trees. There's some cool things here and there, but cmon...it's Indiana.
My wife and I rode 35 miles on the trail beginning just south of Losantville and turned around near Richmond. This section is new and well designed, but I found the northern section from between Losantville and Muncie to be more enjoyable. Several rest areas are provided, but the only water stop I found was at Losantville. There was a horse farm that has a trail invitation to use their vending machine about 15 miles south of Losantville. Not as many benches and none in the shaded tree canopy sections. I really enjoyed the open sections that are fairly straight so you can comfortable ride at your preferred pace. The stop signs are clearly visible and the trail has been well maintained by the volunteers. Great Job.
My wife and I rode 40 miles on the Cardinal Greenway starting at the Depot and turning around just southeast of Losantville. The trail has plenty of shaded areas, numerous rest areas and trail heads. This is one of the best designed trails in the country. Although the decorative gates are interesting they are a hassle for cyclists to navigate. I really wonder how problematic they are for recumbants, tandems and for folks pulling a carrier. Numerous stop signs near town, but the further south you go there are several areas where you can ride unimpeded for several miles. A very enjoyable trail and worth the trip to the Muncie area.
I am from Northwest Ohio. My wife and I did a century ride from Gaston to Richmond and back. It was her first century and it couldn't have been a better experience. The trail is paved and smooth from one end to the other and is just over 100 miles. We usually ride on roads so being able to ride without worrying about passing cars was great. The trail is well protected from the wind for the most part and the grade never goes over 1%. The only thing that wasn't fantastic about the ride was all the stop at intersections. They were well marked, however. I would recommend the Greenway very highly.
This section of the Cardinal Greenway is pretty much a flat and unchallenging ride. What towns are along the way are glanced at from a railroad right-of-way that stayed on the outskirts of even these small towns.
Access points feature ample parking. toilets, benches, but no drinking water. They are well-maintained, assisted by the newness of the trail. The vegetation seems to be growing back and crowding the edge of the trail, but again the freshness of the trail doesn't let this dwell on your mind during the ride.
Suffice it to say that if this section is indictative of the other sections holding possibly more scenic appeal, an extended ride would be well worth it.
Yesterday was our first ride on the Muncie section of the Cardinal Greenway and we give it a resounding 4 thumbs up (2 for each of us). We went south (from the Depot) for @ 9 miles to the Red Bud Area and returned, making it our longest trek thus far. It was an easy ride, gentle slopes, a lot of tree canopy and benches along the way for some rest time. As a Hoosier, I know that there can be some pretty boring and desolate places, so I was pleased to find the tree canopy as prolific as those I've seen in Michigan. Of particular note is the round barn that can be seen approximately 6 miles south. Take the time to read the background and a short ride on the surface road gives you a better look at the barn. We plan to drive to another spot and ride more of the Cardinal on another day, but this is a great ride for anyone, especially novices!
This trail currently runs from 10th street south of the park in Jonesboro, IN through Marion to Sweetser, IN - a total now of about 11 miles. Sweetser has a picturesque depot stopping point and the trail has been maintained very nicely, but only one restaurant is available but there are no shops to invite you to stop and browse (unlike the Monon in Carmel and Broad Ripple). The section from Sweetser to the Miller Avenue trailhead and from 30th street south to Jonesboro is picturesque and safe. The middle portion from Miller Avenue to 30th Street has quite a few areas of uneven rolling pavement; I wouldn't want to ride here by myself early in the morning or later in the day as it is not the safest part of town (I live here). I don't know who wrote the glowing town review on this page, but there is not anywhere to eat or any interesting activities in either Gas City or Marion to entice you to use this trail. I ride it several times a week because it's close and convenient, but I would not travel any distance to use this trail. The Greenway Muncie or Gaston portion is not only safer, but there are so many options available to you after your ride is over that I would stick with that portion.
Just rode the Richmond section of the Cardinal Greenway with my 13 year-old son; it's nice, not great. Very cool trestle over the Whitewater, and the spring colors were awesome. Part of the trail runs through industrial Richmond...lots of grafiti. Wish the trail continued further into Richmond...as it is, only about 6 miles roundtrip.
We drive from Indianapolis to ride this trail, usually starting in Richmond and riding to the train station in Muncie, we have done it half way and started in Losantville going either north or south. We have rode this trail with our road bikes and sometimes with 5 yr old and trail a bike. The 5 yr old does get bored after about 10-15 miles in, as there is a lot of farm land and there is only so much farm land a 5 yr old can look at before they stop pedaling the trail a bike! The main reason we do this trail is it is so remote that most people do not want to drive so far to get to it, but believe me, it is worth it if you want solitude and not a lot of traffic. Its also great if you want to pedal fast and not have to worry about moving around skaters, etc. ONE WARNING- as with any stop sign, please heed the message! There are a few out there in remote areas and I have seen it for myself when riders try to slide by the stop sign, just remotely slowing down, accidents happen. Otherwise, this is a great trail, very nice personnel at the train station, and lots of places to eat in Muncie!
Used the Cardinal Greenway from Marion to Muncie for the first time in my life and mostly the first time I had ever biked to a destination outside Grant County.
Using the Muncie section of the Greenway is what really made the trip to Muncie very impressed.
The Greenway between Gaston and Muncie has some bumps and uneven pavement but made it back to Marion safely (with two periods of rain)
Best bike drive in Eastern Indiana in summation. So if you are planning a trip from Marion to Muncie, pack for weather conditions.
Rode it on 7/3/09, Very nice ride, see other reviews of other sections of the Cardinal Greenway. As of this date, everything has been maintained very well. If you ride earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon, a good portion of the trail is shaded by trees along the side, which will provide some blocking of any wind.
If you ride a long wheel base recumbant, or a tandem, the gates blocking access at many of the road crossings are a real pain. You really have to slow down and watch what you are doing. but I suppose that is a good idea, so you don't accidedentally going zipping onto a busy road.
There are very few places to stop along the way to purchase supplies. The day I rode, the station in Muncie was closed. There is a gas station in Losantville, that was open, and lots of bikers using it.
Great trail. Paved and well maintained. Trail south of Muncie the best.
My wife and I spent some time exploring the Cardinal Greenway that goes through Marion IN. last summer(about 71/2 miles one way). The South trail head parking is not at the end of the trail in Jonesboro IN.,(it’s just off of hyw 22 & 35) and one owes it to yourself to go a little further south to see the trails end (it really doesn’t end there it just goes onto public streets and meets up eventually with the section in Gaston IN)… There’s a really nice walking bridge over the river near the parking area in Jonesboro that will take you to a public park in Gas City IN. It's a very nice park with a large pond, and many picnic areas to enjoy.
My wife and I are very fond of the section that goes from the parking area in Jonesboro (going more or less North after you cross the highway) to Nebraska St in Marion. Along the way are many elevation changes, a beautiful wooded area with a bridge over a creek and a picnic area, many trestles, and only three busy roads to cross…(watch out for the crossing at 38th St. cars fly down that road) it’s about a five and a half mile ride one way. Sadly, once you cross Nebraska St. it becomes way too much starting and stopping crossing all the roads that must be crossed before you reach Ninth St. Once past Ninth St. however it becomes a fairly pleasant ride all the way to Miller Ave. the current trails end(or head). There are plans however to connect the Marion section of greenway to the West and the Sweetser Switch trail, which they then plan to extend West to Converse IN., it should be quite a fun ride once it is done...
"Rode the 27-mile paved section from Losantville (southern terminus of pavement) to Gaston (northern terminus of pavement) via Muncie on Labor Day, 2007. 54-mile round trip; cloudless sky; 65- 80 degrees; mostly calm to light W breeze.
Losantville parking area is just off US35, 3.7 miles N of intersection of US35 and IN1; well marked and easy to find. I came from out-of-state and drove up US35 from I-70 where they insect in Richmond... nice route!
The trail is smooth and flat with a few cracks and sharp bumps in and near Muncie. Overall it is in excellent condition and seems well-maintained.
The trail covers 16.5 miles from Losantville to the Wysore Street Depot in Muncie. This section has some shaded areas, but it is largely very open. It is 10.5 more miles from the depot to Gaston; this section is quite open and there is little shade. On a sunny summer day, you WILL get cooked on this trail, so bring lots of water and plenty of sunscreen.
Scenery? Many, many farms with corn and soy bean fields. The bean fields were turning gold and were gorgeous and the corn was about half green and half dryed out. There were a couple of housing tracts, but except for Muncie the trail is really quite rural.
Because of its openess, this trail would be a killer in a headwind. Check the local NWS radio station to find out where the wind will come from when you plan to ride and then design a trip that heads into it so you'll have a push on your return. The trail should be a real screamer with a good tailwind!
There are quite a few trailheads with excellent parking and latrines along the trail. The latrines - porta potties - were nearly new and surprisingly spic and span. I don't like those things very much, but the ones I used were easily the nicest - and cleanest - I've ever seen. And they even had waterless hand cleaner!
There is a lot of nice interpretive signage and the trailmarkers are the classiest I have ever seen - bar none! Bridge crossings are very nice, with modern, attractive side rails and turn outs in some cases. Split rail fences line some sections of the trail and provide a nice touch as well as safety (some of the drop offs by the sides of the trail are significant). The folks who put this trail together have done a first class job.
The Wysore Street Depot in Muncie is awesome. It has been fully restored and is quite a nice sight to behold. It houses the Cardinal Greenway heqdquarters and a nice gift shop that was open when I visited. The lady attendant was helpful and very pleasant. I bought a Cardinal Greenways Trail User Guide for a mere $2 and found it to be chock full of good info and detailed maps.
I hate to sound at all negative, but there is some critical info I need to share: there are countless road crossings and some of the roads are quite busy. Many of the roads intersect the trail at angles, so it's a bit difficult to determine if traffic is present. BE CAREFUL! Also, to prevent use by motorized vehicles, many of the road crossing sport full-width gates with narrow openings at each side through which you must walk or carefully ride your bike. These gates are rather nicely done - they look quite nice - but they require your attention in order to safely negotiate them. If you ride an LWB recumbent - you folks know who you are - you're going to hate these gates. And there are a LOT of them in 27 miles.
Bottom line: nice ride that I'll do again, although I think I would prefer a cooler or a bit less sunny day!
"As of Nov 2006, the trail is continuously paved from Gashton through Muncie to Losantville. "
"My wife and I took two great rides on the Cardinal Trail. In late September, 2005 we rode twenty miles of the trail starting in Muncie, and then two weeks later on our way back from the east coast, we rode the section in Richmond. The trail is well marked and well maintained in the sections we rode. Unique stone mile markers are situated along the trail. Excellent parking facilities with restrooms are conveniently located at most trailheads.
We started in downtown Muncie, where a large overhead arch identifies the trail, and rode north to the end of the trail, and then headed for the south end. Numerous street crossings are the only drawback on the northern section. To the south, there are fewer crossings.
This is an excellent trail."
"Thirty miles of paved trail are now developed in three segments: 7.5 miles in Marion, 20 miles centered on Muncie, and 2.5 miles in Richmond. Five more miles will be added to the south end of the Muncie section this summer.
I rode the entire 75 mile corridor round trip this spring and found it to give a wonderful variety of experiences. I was also glad to see that the north end could be easily connected to the Sweetser Switch Trail, adding another 6-10 miles to the entire corridor."
"I biked the entire length of the trail this October. I found it very easy to ride. The northern half to Gaston was beautiful with the fall colors on the trees.
If you get a chance, you should definitely get on this trail. I graduated from Ball State and I only wish it had been there when I was in school."
"I visited Muncie for the first time in August 2002 to attend a friend's wedding. I usually take my bike along on trips like this to ride the local roads. I did not know about the trail until one of the wedding party informed me of its existence.
I found the trail easily and rode its entire 20 mile length over a 2 day period. I was impressed with its wide and smooth surface. The right of way was well maintained and well signed. I have ridden many bike trails, mostly in the east, and the Cardinal Greenway was one of the finest trails I have ever ridden."
This was the first rail-to-trail I'd ever been on. I had a great bike ride and will always remember it with the best of other fine adventures I've been on. I think that not converting any of the old railways to useful recreational pathways is going to be a terrible loss.
"A 2.5 mile section of the Cardinal Greenway Trail opened in Richmond during October 2000. This trail crosses the beautiful Whitewater Gorge on a 700+ foot trestle and again over the Whitewater River. For a map to the trailhead, visit WayNet.org the North 3rd St. Trailhead."
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