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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.
We rode this trail south to north. We enjoyed it greatly. Only a slight steady rise (279 ft) in the 22 miles. It was very peaceful and quiet. No very many travelers. All in all a good ride.05302021.
We went south to north today. Great ride. Gained 279 ft in elevation. We will do it again.
Great ride. We rode south to north. Gained 279 ft in elevation. Very few people.
So close to a 5 star and it is a 5 star considering the location. We camped at Tippecanoe State Park to explore Panhandle Pathway, Nickel Plate, and North Judson trails. We parked downtown Winamac by the train depot. Street parking, even for our camper van, was not a problem on a Saturday afternoon. The trail was very well maintained. Any roots were marked. We rode 15 miles down and came back after stopping at Star City trailhead for a snack break where there was some parking, picnic table, and clean porta potty. We rode against the wind to start and you feel the wind on this trail!! It was a great cardio ride. The people around this area are so lucky to have these well maintained trails by them. (Ride the North Judson Trail, too, if you are in the area!) It is tough to give these regional trails 4 stars when they are 5 star for the area. I am judging the trails based on several Pennsylvania trails we have ridden with bridges and tunnels. You gotta love that one of the rules of this trail is you have to say hi to everyone you meet!
We rode the Panhandle Pathway on Saturday Oct 3, 2020, from Winamac to Royal Center and back, so this review applies only to that segment. Easy parking in downtown Winamac, at the northern trailhead. We had a gray, unusually cool day with steady low wind from the south. Very few other riders/walkers. Overall a very pleasant experience, kudos to the Friends of the Panhandle Pathway for their work.
It's a nicely maintained trail, mostly smooth pavement through flat countryside. North-to-south mileage is painted on the trail every tenth of a mile, so that's easy to keep track of. Water/snacks available off-trail at Winamac and Royal Center.
One important thing to know is that there's relatively little tree cover or canopy between Winamac and Royal Center, to protect against wind or sun. Factor this in if you have a windy or aggressively hot/sunny day.
Rode this trail 2020 August...trail is well maintained and in good shape. Bathroom at start of trail only in Winamac, however, you do go through a couple of other small towns with bars and restaurants which would have bathrooms, as well the trail is heavily wooded for the most part. Trail has a couple of nice bridges over rivers with seating/resting ares. Half the 22mi tail parallels Hwy 35, being approx 25 yards off same...so you have a lot of traffic noise. The trail ends basically in the middle of nowhere, with a picnic table, bike rake, and no bathroom or anything else. However, nice trail will ride again.
I enjoyed my ride on the Panhandle Pathway, but to be honest, there is really nothing unique or special about the trail that would make me want to go back and ride it again. It is straight as an arrow and offers little shade, so you may want to ride on a cooler day or one that has some cloud cover. There are some nice views of farms, but no towns to stop in along the trail. Even Winamac doesn't have a whole lot to offer for places to eat, etc. I guess the main use of such a trail would be exercise or training; there were not many other bikers on the path. The one thing I did enjoy as I rode in early August is the huge variety of butterflies fluttering around the flowers that line the path. That went on for many miles.
Great paved trail. Very peaceful and quiet, and it would be an easy ride for families with children. Very scenic if you really pay attention toon to all the wildlife and flowers.
Rode the trail July 13. I agree with other riders. Trail is smooth and very well maintained. Someone has even painted distance marks on the pavement every 10th of a mile! Do not expect restrooms or water along the trail.
This was a very good trail with a paved surface in great condition with almost no bumps, etc. Also a very straight and level trail with almost no hills. My 44 mile ride was with 20+ mph cross wind, cold temperature, and rain but still enjoyable. I did not take time to visit the small towns but could have easily done so and it looked like there were many interesting things to do. You should be very cautious with the road crossings. If you are used to racing across it is almost impossible to see in each direction at busy road crossings. Worth the 1 1/2 hour drive for me to get there!
I live in southwest Lake County, Indiana, so this trail is a little far for me, but well worth it. I've ridden it twice in two different sections, and it is an outstanding trail that cuts right through rural north central Indiana. It is completely paved, there are enough benches along its length as well, and, at least during the week, seems completely devoid of people. There are also a few small parking lots along the way. Check this trail out for sure.
Nice Trail It was alittle hard to find trailhead in Winamac drove right past it, but they were constructing what looked like a new one with facilities a block away.....be sure to update the directions Trail does run along side of hwy 35 Had a nice lunch at Jacks
When people ask me if I've ridden the "Hilly Hundred" the well known Brown County IN ride I respond: "No but I've done the 'Flat Forty' in Northern Indiana.
The Panhandle Trail runs from Logansport IN to Winamac about 22 miles. I like to start in Royal Center which is about half way between the two trail ends. I usually bike down to Logansport, up to Winamac and back to Royal Center, that makes if about a forty mile ride.
It's about as flat a trail as you'll find with a slight incline going North most noticeable coming out of Logansport (Kenneth) which is why I like to do that portion first. (Those under 60 won't even notice the incline).
There is now a nice parking area at the Logan end with a well kept porta-potty. The Royal Center Marathon station and store is a good half way stop for water, treats and facilities. Casey's General Store (near the Winamac trail head) has clean rest rooms and everything you need for your ride. There's a great Mexican Restaurant at the trail head as well.
The Winamac end of the trail has been extended about 2 miles which takes you to the old train station which is beautifully done and is in walking distance to downtown.
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 gives you a good feel for Northern Indiana. The most scenic portion of the ride is crossing the Tippecanoe river near the Winamac trailhead.
It's a well maintained trail and is 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 to find the southern terminus by following the map directions. Ended on a private road with no sign of the trail. Because I grew up in that area I was able to find the trail access point at CR 50N, not 50S like in the map. May confuse those counting on trail access from Berry Lane; there is none.
Another outstanding trail in north central Indiana for road biking - be aware of a few gravel road crossings and enjoy the scenery from Kenneth to Winamac and back or the other way around. Royal Center and Star City provide strategic respite and services.
Love this trail!!! Will definitely be riding this again!!!
I do love this trail! There and back netted me over 40 miles of awesome riding. There were two places, approx. 10 feet long, where the asphalt was missing and gravel in it's place, where I think maintenance was about to begin, not sure though. I bonked out and had no food in my bike bag, but stopped at a Family Dollar store next to the trail and got some Fig cookies and a Honey Bun. The Honey Bun did the trick! I wish I had a trail like this one where I live!
My wife and I found this trail for the first time today. It was a beautiful, scenic 20+mile stretch which was immaculate and well kept. The asphalt had zero cracks and looked brand new. Bridges over the Tippecanoe River and Indian creek were very nice. Got to meet some of the volunteers - Friends of the Panhandle Pathway. Very Nice people!. Drove 2 hours from Dyer Indiana to get there. It was definitely worth the drive.
The directions to the difficult to find Southern trailhead is go to 600 W off of Hwy 24 and go North. 600 W is 4.5 miles West of the Hwy 29 exit on to Hwy 24/35. Once on 600 W go 0.25 miles to 50 N at the Pisgah Christian Church and go East another 0.25 miles to the trailhead. The trail starts 0.8 miles South of this trailhead at a dead end. From the dead end the trail heads North around 22 miles to another dead end at 11th Street in Winnemac. There are trees along the trail for about quarter of the way and it follows Hwy 35. The trail is flat and paved asphalt. The trail is very picturesque
as it travels through the small towns between Logansport and Winnemac. If you are looking for a getaway from Indianapolis, it is about an hours drive to Logansport. You won't be disappointed.
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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