The Knobstone Trail is Indiana's longest footpath. It traverses part of, and is named after, the Knobstone Escarpment, a prominent geological feature in southern Indiana that runs from Clark County to Morgan County.
Visionaries foresee a trail that ultimately runs along the entire length of the escarpment, but for now the Greater Knobstone Trail is restricted to the southern Knobstone Trail segment and a northern segment, the Tecumseh Trail.
Many sources cite a length of 58 miles, but that figure seems to include the mileage along a variety of approach trails and loops. A typical thru-hike is a bit over 45 miles, and I can attest that it is a challenge. Some authorities refer to the KT as similar in difficulty to Appalachian Trail, though obviously much shorter.
Deam Lake Trailhead
The trail is marked with rectangular white blazes similar to those found on the Appalachian Trail. The DNR has also placed mile markers on the trail. The zero mile marker is at the southern terminus of the trail, located just east of the Deam Lake State Recreation Area.
The trail heads north through Clark State Forest, then jogs west through the Elk Creek Public Fishing Area, then north again into the Jackson-Washington State Forest. The northern terminus is at Delaney Park, a Washington County park.
My own thru-hike in April 2006 was accompanied by lots of rain, and water was frequently and sometimes excessively available on the trail. That is not always the case, particularly in the summer and fall. Hikers are advised to cache water supplies at strategic points along the trail.
Poison ivy can be abundant, as can biting insects and ticks; the area is also home to copperheads and timber rattlesnakes. Hunting is allowed in season. Camping is permitted at many locations along the trail. Horses, bicycles, and motorized vehicles are forbidden.
Spurgeon Hollow Pond
Despite the increased odds of precipitation, hiking in the spring can have a number of advantages besides the chance of better water supplies. Cooler temperatures make hauling yourself and your gear over innumerable hills much more tolerable. The poison ivy has often yet to leaf out, and neither have most of the trees, making for better views. Choose your time carefully, and you may be treated to impressive wildflower displays and the drumming of grouse.
Kudos to DNR and the volunteers who've given countless hours to create and maintain this trail.
Nearby Natural Areas
Bloom: Hiking Indiana; Page 225
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
McPherson: Indiana Best Hikes; Page 383
McPherson: Nature Walks in Southern Indiana; Page 156