It is easy to be lean and green in The Circle City. Indianapolis is home to more than 200 public, urban parks some with easy to moderate hiking trails. Indy Parks and Recreation maintains more than 10,000 acres of public spaces. Most are free for visitors and residents. Here are five family friendly parks ideal for an afternoon hike.
Eagle Creek Park & Marina. At 5,200 acres, Eagle Creek is the sixth largest municipal park in the United States. It welcomes park visitors to fish and kayak during warm months, and hike (moderate) or photograph the forest in cool weather. Boat and kayak rentals ensure marina enjoyment. Zip line through the suburban tree tops with Go Ape! Hayrides are popular September through November. An annual pass is worth an adventure or two.
Garfield Park, Arts Center & Conservatory. History lovers, hike (easy) in Indy’s oldest urban park. Garfield Park covers over 120 acres. The grounds include an aquatics park, public library and arts center. Explore the beautifully designed conservatory and sunken gardens. Adventures abound in wild landscapes between Bean Creek and the Pleasant Run Trail.
Holliday Park & Nature Center. Enjoy wildflowers, hills, public art and trickling springs at Holliday Park. Over 3 miles of hiking trails (moderate) twist along the White River’s banks. The nature center and playground are favorites of children. It also boasts The Ruins, a former New York City skyscraper.
Marott Park & Nature Preserve. One mile north of Broad Ripple, Marott Park spans nearly 100 acres of woodland. Hiking trails (easy to moderate) wind around Williams Creek. Collage Avenue and 75th Street feature parking lots with trailheads. The Monon Trail invites pedestrians to explore via accessible access points. A picnic shelter is available.
Southeastway Nature Park. Half of the 188 acres of this suburban park are forest. Hiking trails (easy to moderate) hug Buck Creek. Multiple playground, numerous picnic shelters and accessible trails, Southeastway are ideal for family reunions and afternoon outings.
Locations and amenities
- Eagle Creek Park & Marina, 5901 Delong Road Indianapolis, IN 46254. Bike and boat rentals, reservoir, nature centers, picnic shelters, playgrounds, zip lines, forest. Pedestrians $3, Vehicles $5.
- Garfield Park, Arts Center & Conservatory, 2505 Conservatory Drive Indianapolis, IN 46203. Pool, playground, library, pagoda, amphitheater, shelters, conservatory, tennis courts, Pleasant Run Trail. Free, suggested donation.
- Holliday Park & Nature Center, 6363 Spring Mill Road Indianapolis, IN 46260. River, ravine, nature center, playground, forest. Free, suggested donation.
- Marott Park, 7350 N College Avenue Indianapolis, IN 46240. River, picnic shelter, Monon Trail, forest, accessible trails. Free.
- Southeastway Nature Park, 5624 S Carroll Road Indianapolis, IN 46163. Picnic shelters, playground, activity center, accessible trails, pond, river, forest. Free.