Wabash & Erie Canal Trail (Evansville)


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Wabash & Erie Canal Trail (Evansville) Facts

States: Indiana
Counties: Vanderburgh
Length: 0.4 miles
Trail end points: Wesselman Park tennis courts and Wesselman Park's northeast service road (crossing the railroad tracks to McDonald Golf Course)
Trail surfaces: Dirt
Trail category: Canal
ID: 6015702
Trail activities: Walking

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Wabash & Erie Canal Trail (Evansville) Description

Evansville's Wabash & Erie Canal Trail travels through a dense hardwood forest in Wesselman Park, next to the Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve, a 200-acre National Natural Landmark and State Nature Preserve. Some of the park's trees are hundreds of years old and the area is abundant with wildlife, including gray foxes, coyote, whitetail deer, woodpeckers and owls. Visit the Preserve's Nature Center to learn more about the unique surroundings.

Running 460 miles from Evansville to Toledo, Ohio, the Wabash and Erie Canal was the longest ever built in North America. This short hiking trail runs along the berm side of the old canal, which here cannot be distinguished except as a shallow, undrained ravine. The unfinished dirt trail can be a hiker's challenge with uneven ground and obstacles to step over. The path is not mowed and little is done to clear plant encroachment on all sides.

Parking and Trail Access

From the East Lloyd Expressway (Route 66), take the exit at Boeke Road and turn north. Go 0.4 miles and enter Wesselman Park to the right. Continue eastward on the park road until it turns north and then back west. Park on the left and look for an interpretive sign about the canal, located at the edge of the woods on the north side of the road. Enter there and proceed straight ahead to its junction with the main trail running east and west.

Wabash & Erie Canal Trail (Evansville) Reviews

This trail is not part of the nature preserve. It is kept up and maintained by volunteer effort. The trail is only a 1/4 mile long and follows some of the berm of the original canal. It was named because it has noticeable historic features of the canal. There are no signs because of vandalism. As with any trail in a freeze/thaw area, there is going to be mud.its a nice trail separate from the preserve.

This trail was a major disappointment. It is very short. At best it's a moderately difficult hiking trail. No quiet walk in the park here. Bicycling is out of the question. It's hard to find and very little used. Not even the locals working at the park and nature preserve knew anything about it. There is no vantage point for seeing the remnants of the old canal; only glimpses through the woods of its muddy and stagnant pools of runoff rain water. There are no signs on the trail; and towards the western end, it's intersected by a maze of looping paths one could easily get lost in. Unless you're up for an adventure, it's best to stay on the main trail all the way to the end, where it turns toward the only opening into the clear at the park tennis courts.

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