Here's a holiday you probably never knew existed: National Trail Mix Day. Celebrated on Aug. 31, trail mix comes in a wide variety of flavors and taste sensations. From peanuts to pretzels, craisins to raisins, this delectable salty-and-sweet treat can be enjoyed just about anywhere. However, as its name suggests, perhaps the best place of them all is from the quiet, serene confines of the woods on a nature hike.
The following are some of the most beautiful hikes you'll find in all of Indiana for to enjoy either in the summer that remains or perhaps as the months wind down when the leaves change to the brilliant shades of color we've come to expect from autumn.
Turkey Run State Park
At roughly 9.2 miles long and near the town of Marshall – where the population is less than 1,000 – Turkey Run State Park is an ideal place to take the whole family, as the terrain is pretty tame. You don't have to be an expert to comb the area; you just have to be someone who loves what state parks have to offer, including a lake, lookout points for nature viewing, and even a suspension bridge that's practically straight out of "Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom." But don't worry, the path is much more structurally sound and void of bad guys hurling arrows.
Low Gap Trail
With a name like Low Gap Trail – located in Martinsville and within Morgan Monroe State Forest – you get what you might expect, as there are a number of places where you'll have to traipse carefully to avoid getting your feet wet when crossing streams and brooks. It's for this reason that experienced trail goers are better off trying this 10.8 mile trek on for size, ideally those who are in good shape. Reviewers at AllTrails.com describe Low Gap Trail as a "good workout" and "challenging."
Clifty Falls State Park Loop
Looking for a trail to take your four-legged furry friend to? This place will welcome him or her with open arms. A hop, skip, and a jump away from Madison, Clifty Falls State Park Loop Trail courses over roughly 6 miles and has just about every backwoods feature you can imagine, including a waterfall, wooden bridge overpass and bubbling brooks. Long-time Indianans describe Clifty Falls as one of the best park take-ins in the Hoosier State that has a little bit of everything. However, the winding course can be quite rocky in some areas, so you may want to leave this nature hike to you and your significant other.
Hemlock Cliffs National Scenic Trail
Here's a trail to take if you're looking for a walk that won't last you the morning or afternoon. At a very reasonable 1.2 miles in length, Hemlock Cliffs National Scenic Trail – deep within the heart of Hoosier National Forest – is well maintained, with loads of signs that will help you find your way through the serpentine tapestry of forested landmarks, which includes a waterfall. Plus, it's pet-friendly so you can take your pooch along with you and the family.
Three Lakes Trail
Martinsville is teeming with trails, and Three Lakes Trail is one of the most trafficked ones in all of Morgan Monroe State Forest. You get a little bit of everything on Three Lakes Trail, areas that are densely wooded, as well as those that are wide open, great for watching the sun rise or set. But if you want to get everything in before the sun goes down, make sure to start your trek in the early afternoon at the latest, as the 10.2 mile hike takes roughly three hours to complete from start to finish.
All of these trails are open year-round. So, what are you waiting for? Grab that trail mix and pack your backpacks for a great day out in the Indiana wild!