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Indiana's Panhandle Pathway links Winamac to Kenneth and communities in between, 21 miles of paved cycling, skating and walking. 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 mile south of the Winamac trailhead, where the trail crosses the Tippecanoe River.
This rail-trail follows the old rail bed of the Pennsylvania Railroad line (aka, the Pennsylvania Panhandle Railroad) southward across other waterways, including Mill Creek, Indian Creek, Crooked Creek and other smaller brooks. The trail also passes through the Wabash valley, Star City, Thornhope and Royal Center.
Trail users will find amenities in Winamac, Star City (no gasoline) and Royal Center, as well as picnic tables at the Royal Center trailhead and the end south of US24. Benches are provided all along the trail, and its terminus in Kenneth you'll find benches, picnic tables and a bike rack. As yet there are no restrooms or drinking fountains on the trail itself.
The trail is managed and maintained by volunteers with the Friends of the Panhandle Pathway. Future plans include adding interpretive signs, connecting the rail-trail to France Park (east of the Kenneth trailhead), connecting to the old depot in downtown Winamac, connecting to the Tippecanoe River State park and possibly connecting with other Indiana trails.
The Winamac (north) terminus is at the intersection of CR West 150 S. & CR South 50 E., off of US 35 just south of Winamac. The trailhead is visible from the intersection. Take County Road 150 E and turn west; the trailhead is on the south side of CR S 150 E and on the east side of S 50 E.
The Kenneth (south) terminus is at the intersection of CR West 50 N. & the Pathway. Turn north on CR 600 W. and go about 0.5 mile north; turn east on CR 50 N. and go about 0.5 mile to intersect the Pathway. The trailhead is on the northeast corner.
In Royal Center the trailhead is at the west end of Kramer Street on the south side of town.
In Star City the trailhead is on Key Street near Railroad Street.
We parked at the city park in Winamac, where there are full facilities and shaded parking [N41.850112, W86.597193]. There's a pedestrian bridge you can ride across the river, and from there it's 3 blocks to the Depot trailhead for Winamac's city trail, which connects to the Panhandle Pathway at the "official" trailhead on the south end of town.
This was a flat, wide, smooth trail with a great deal of sun exposure and very few bumps or cracks in the pavement. Much of it parallels the highway but with frequent screening by trees the traffic noise is not particularly intrusive. At the Cass County line you move from Central to Eastern time, a first for me on a bike! The trail soon turns away from the highway for good. The Kenneth trailhead is soon followed by the US 24 overpass (no access) and an abrupt end at the "Kenneth rest stop." It's a mini cul-de-sac in the middle of the woods; no choice here but to turn around and return, which we did.
A very enjoyable ride from Kenneth to Royal Center. And there is a porta-potty at the Kenneth terminus now!
I walked from North Judson to highway 35 on a beautiful, sunny 64 degree day - 2/28/16. It was simply a most awesome experience. I saw turkeys, deer, and sand hill cranes. I experienced everything one would hope for on such a wonderful day on such a wonderful trail.
This trail is smooth as glass and offers a great way to cruise through the surrounding farmland. The Tippecanoe River bridge is a highlight--I love how they used the entire width of the double track railroad bridge to create a peaceful oasis on the trail at that point. I highly recommend this trail, it's a true gem!
I am very open minded on every trail I ride and the panhandle was a very much a fun ride that I truly enjoyed.I would recommend this trail to everyone so all could see and feel the excitement.
I rode the length of the trail, having started in Royal Center, down to the southern Terminus, back north to the northern terminus and return.
The pavement over the entire route was smooth, with an occasional rock trying to cross the path...naturally I hit every one of them at 20 mph. The only difficulty, which was minor, is that some of the crossing roads are gravel, and didn't take to kindly to 700X23 tires, but I suppose if I actually stopped at the stop signs, it wouldn't have been an issue.
Two thumbs up, excellent pathway, probably the best one I have ever ridden. Oh, make sure you bring cow treats to feed the local cows, they will appreciate it.
Taking advantage of some cool (52 degrees morning) for July weather we loaded the bikes for the two hour drive from Indy to Royal Center to start our ride. Nice convenient parking lot at Royal Center right on the trail and we headed north for the 14.5 miles to Winamac with frequent stops to enjoy and photograph the Indiana countryside seen from the trail - creeks, Tippecanoe River, corn and soybeans, silos, barns, gardens and wildflowers. Saw lots of wildlife - from songbirds to toads to deer along the quite trail which we were able bike side by side. The trail is well maintained and smooth and each town along the route appears proud to host the trail with flowers and planting, signage and benches on which to rest. In Winamac we left the trail to bike the streets to check out some interesting historic homes and the courthouse in this picturesque county seat, and made a bathroom stop at a convenience store where we refilled our water bottles. Returned to the trail for the ride back to Royal Center where we rewarded ourselves with a frosty root beer and a coney dog at the very close to the trail iconic "Bob-O-Link" drive-in restaurant. With 31 miles under our belt for the day, we decided to forgo the south 6.5 mile each way portion of the trail from Royal Center to Logansport in order to pick some blue berries at one of the Starke County berry farms, but we will definitely return again to do the entire 42 mile round-trip on the Panhandle Pathway. We would highly recommend this trail for a relaxing country ride - go for it.
I dubbed this ride the "Flat Fifty" for those of us who aren't up to the Brown County "Hilly Hundred".
A great ride especially if you want to get a 'taste of No Indiana' it's mile after mile of soybeans, corn fields and grain silos. Local color stops in Star City, Royal Center and Winamac. The first half of the ride coming out of Winamac parallels hiway 35.
Casey's General Store (near the Winamac trail head) has clean rest rooms and everything you need for your ride.
The second half from Royal Center to Logansport is about 3 miles off the hiway and you're pretty alone out there --- except for possums, chipmunks and birds. It is a bit more scenic on a slight incline but not enough to change gears. There are no 'potty stops' from Royal Center to Logansport unless you're from that area and know that corn fields are 'God's port-a-potties'
I rode the first half on Saturday and pretty much had the trail to myself, Sunday I passed 15 -- 20 riders during the 3 hours on the trail.
It's a great ride if you want a casual ride or if you're a serious biker and just want to let it rip for about 20 miles or so.
Tried this for the first time and really enjoyed our ride. Parked in Winamac and rode the trail to the end. The trail is nice and flat and also the smoothest we have ever ridden on. Very scenic and the wildlife came out to greet us along the way - chipmunks, plenty of colorful birds, groundhogs and a deer ran right across the trail in front of us. It was also nice that we were able to ride the entire length without having to stop since there was really no traffic. Only downfall would be no restrooms or water available so make sure you bring extra water bottles!
The Panhandle Pathway was a very nice trail to ride. The trail is wide and well maintained, the crossings are clearly marked, and the many benches are a welcomed relief during your ride. Very nice!!! Get out and ride this route if you can.
My sister and I rode this on May 25, 2014 beginning at the Winimac Trail Head. We did the round trip with a short stop in Royal Center at the Family Dollar for a beverage refresh. It took us about 3 hours round trip. It is a flat, smooth ride. Some small debris, mostly twigs and rocks. Very well maintained. We came across a dozen or so other riders and a few walkers. Will definitely do this ride again.
Enjoyed the 40 mile round-trip...nicely maintained and very pleasant ride. Please extend!
My husband and I traveled from Hobart, Ind. to Winamac, Panhandle Trail (Sept 19, 2012). Not yet Fall, but the weather was beautiful for a bike ride. (We ride a lot in our area of Northwest Indiana trails). We began our ride at CR150, there is parking access available. The trail hugs Rt. 35; your ride is right through the corn fields of Indiana. If you do travel this trail, be prepared for there are no restroom stops available. Star City small town; biked right through Thornhope blink and you are there and gone. Flat land ride, no hills of any kind. There are benches along the way for you to stop and sit awhile, if you so incline. We stopped at Indian Creek. Next time we will begin at Kenneth and ride to Indian Creek. There are no places to really stop and eat on this part of the trail. What was so great, we were the only two on the trail, really. This part of the trail was well maintained. We did see the DNR guy planting mums :-)Was it worth the 1 hour or so ride from Hobart, YES. FYI, we are a retired couple.
We rode the trail April 24, 2012. Started at the south trailhead and rode to Indian Creek then back, about 11 miles. Stopped and took some photos of the creeks we crossed along the ride. Very nice paved trail, small shops along the way in Royal Center, Marathon gas station where we stopped for a drink. Overall a very nice ride. On the drive up from Indy we stopped at Wilson Farm Market, 256th and US 31, very nice little Amish Shop. We bought sandwiches there, some jelly, fudge, drinks and breads. The apple dumplings there are VERY GOOD!!! Will stop there again when we do another ride up north.
I rode this trail from Winamac to end and back on July 27, 2011. A great ride. The surface is in pristine shape (a crew was out repairing a short stretch when I went southbound, and the repair was virtually unnoticable on my return trip) and the grade crossings are well marked. A small shelter at the south end for the picnic tabke would be a great addition.
We did this trail on two different occasions and as we discovered, if you look carefully you can view all kinds of wildlife including turkey, groundhog, chipmunks, swallows, orioles, deer and others.
The terrain in mostly flat or with slight grades and is easy enough for small children and the sedentary.
If you want to grab a bite or a drink I can recommend McGovern's in Royal Center. It is a bar/restaurant suitable for families. Hint: Try the thick and juicy breaded tenderloin sandwich, yum.
The trail offers what Indiana in known for, beautiful landscapes, corn, soybeans, wheat fields.
My niece and I did the loop this Saturday, almost 42 miles total. It was scenic and had several places to stop and rest. It is still in some stages of construction, some road crossings were not marked yet, but in all a very nice ride. We will definitely continue to use this trail!!!
This trail is one of the best that we have had the pleasure of riding. It's a new trail dedicated in in October of 2009. The trail development has been taking place at on accelerated pace. Making it's way from Winnimac south it travels through typical Indiana coutry side. The trail is flat and makes for an easy relaxing ride. It's perfect for the casual rider and great for a family outing. The Friends of the Panhandle Pathway have done a commendable job of constructing this trail. The new section from Star City to Royal Center is just now being finished and makes the trail perfect for an afternoon of riding. I predict that this trial will become one of Indiana's best trails. If you live in north west or central Indiana you've got to check out this trail. If your from outside the area come and enjoy the Hoosier hospitality.
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