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Indiana’s Panhandle Pathway follows a former Pennsylvania Railroad corridor out of Winamac south to Kenneth. Along the way, the trail links the communities of Star City, Thornhope, and Royal Center along its 22 miles of paved and well-maintained surface.
Heading south out of Winamac, this spectacular rail-trail passes through bucolic Midwestern farmland, which seems to stretch across the horizon. Trail users will experience a unique and dramatic vista less than 1.5 miles south of the Winamac trailhead: a long concrete bridge with metal-screened fencing affixed to wood posts offers unfettered views of the Tippecanoe River. Take a seat along one of the benches on the bridge and soak it all in.
On the section of trail from Winamac to just south of Royal Center, the pathway runs adjacent to US 35, with many well-marked road crossings that offer access to the trail along the way. The scenery consists of farmlands, barns, and silos stretching into the endless Indiana blue sky. Abundant wildlife, including birds, rabbits, woodchucks, and deer, is active along the trail. Several interpretative signs along the route tell the story of the region’s agriculture and history. The trail passes Pond View Golf Course and Little Indian Creek as it approaches Royal Center.
South of Royal Center, the pathway veers away from the highway along an elevated rail corridor. This section of trail passes through woodlands with heavy tree canopy and offers a feeling of isolation from nearby communities. About halfway through this section, the trail crosses Crooked Creek.
There is an official trailhead and parking area as the path approaches Kenneth. The route extends past the Kenneth trailhead, and there are plans to extend it all the way to France Park. However, for now there is no vehicle access to the trail’s southern endpoint, so it is experienced as an out-and-back trip from the Kenneth trailhead parking lot.
Benches are provided all along the trail, and at its trailhead in Kenneth, you’ll find benches, picnic tables, and a bike rack. Note that, with the exception of a portable toilet at the Kenneth trailhead, there are no restrooms or drinking fountains on the trail itself.
To access the northern trailhead, park at the Winamac train depot (200 W. Main St.). From I-65, take Exit 220 for IN 14, and head east. Go 1.9 miles, and turn left to stay on IN 14. In 19 miles, turn left onto US 421. Go 2 miles, and turn right onto IN 14 again. In 14.8 miles turn right onto N. Logan St. Go 0.4 mile, and you’ll see the depot and the parking lot at the corner of Main and Logan Sts.
To access the southern end of the trail at the Kenneth parking lot: From I-65, take Exit 201 for US 24/US 231. Head east on US 24/US 231, and go 5 miles. Turn left onto US 24, and go 14.7 miles. Turn left onto N. Railroad St. and immediately turn right onto US 24/W. Washington St. In 14.9 miles turn left onto County Road 600 W. Proceed north on CR 600W 0.5 mile to the first stop sign; turn right onto CR 50 N. Travel 0.3 mile to the trailside parking lot on your left.
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