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The Big 4 Trail is a developing rail-trail route across Boone County that will one day span 50 miles. Currently, three disconnected segments of the rail-trail are open. The name is a reference to the Big Four Railroad, which began serving the region in 1852. In 1861, Abraham Lincoln traveled this route on his way to his presidential inauguration.
This section of the Big 4 Trail—previously known as the Farm Heritage Trail—runs from Lebanon to Colfax in Clinton County, passing through a canopy of Indiana hardwoods, fields of corn and soybeans, and at its northern end, over the scenic Sugar Creek on an iron bridge. A mural celebrating the Big 4 Trail and its railroad history can be seen under the I-65 overpass near the Lebanon trailhead.
The portion extending north of Thorntown, which is occasionally referred to as the Keewasakee Trail, is paved. Work was completed in 2020 to extend the trail out to Colfax, the former midway point of the railroad between Chicago and Louisville. Currently, an equestrian path begins at Serum Plant Road, just south of Thorntown, and parallels the trail for 4 miles with more horse-friendly segments to come. The trail segment heading south towards Lebanon from Sarum Plant Road is currently not paved, with the City of Lebanon planning to begin renovation of the trail in 2023.
The trailhead in Lebanon is located off of Sam Ralston Road. You can reach this trailhead by exiting Interstate 65 at State Route 32 and heading east. Sam Ralston Road is the first cross street; take it north past the Denny's restaurant for 0.5 mile to reach the trail.
The northern section of the Big 4 Trail can be accessed in the town of Thorntown. Parking is available at Lions Club Park just north of Main Street. The adjacent equestrian trail can be accessed off of Hazelrigg Road just south of Thorntown.
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