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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Bloomington's Five Most Unique Hikes

Categories: Outdoors, Family Fun

Southern Indiana is full of hidden gems that create magic within our landscape. Whether you're looking to explore secret waterfalls or romp around a wetland preserve, Bloomington has hikes full of beautiful sights and memorable outdoor experiences in store.

Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve

Beanblossom Bottoms

Designated an Indiana State Nature Preserve by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and an Important Bird Area by the National Audobon Society, Beanblossom Bottoms is a great place to do some bird watching, go frog hunting (with your eyes only), and explore the beautifully-preserved wetland. A raised boardwalk and multiple observation decks allow hikers to get a unique view of the habitat and provide a way to admire the preserve’s 20 endangered species from above.

Charles C. Deam Wilderness

Deam Wilderness

The Deam Wilderness is a beautiful section of the Hoosier National Forest, full of trails for hiking and horseback riding — 37.3 miles of trails, to be exact! Climb the Hickory Ridge Fire Tower before sunrise to watch the world light up from above the canopy — it'll be a moment you never forget.

Leonard Springs Nature Park

Leonard Springs

Beautifully rugged, Leonard Springs Nature Park was acquired by Bloomington in the early 1900s as a source of water for the area. When water started coming from other sources in town, the artificial lake on Leonard Springs' 95.5-acre property was drained — but there's still plenty to see in this area! Leonard Springs Trail, a rugged 1.1-mile trek, will take you past Leonard and Shirley Springs, a wetland, two caves, and a variety of animal and plant life for observation.

Lower Cascades Park

Lower Cascades Winter

Cascades is Bloomington’s largest park, so it only makes sense that it has some impressive natural features. Lower Cascades has a beautiful little waterfall that's fun to splash around in on a hot summer day and to marvel at when it freezes in the winter. Get your steps in by trekking the park's 2.7-mile paved trail, and check the Cascade's Park website for any upcoming naturalist-guided hikes.

Morgan-Monroe State Forest


The beauty and remoteness found in the midst of this state forest will make you feel like you've stepped back in time. Featuring two 10-mile trails full of hills and two additional trails outfitted with environmental education information, Morgan-Monroe State Forest is a destination you won't want to miss if you're looking for some solitude among Earth's beauty. 

Alyssa Davis

Alyssa Davis

Alyssa is the Digital Content Coordinator at Visit Bloomington. She's a proud Indiana University alumna, mom to four cats, and Formula 1 enthusiast. When she isn't at work, you can find Alyssa checking out the newest restaurants in the area with her husband, curled up at home with a great book, or planning her next trip to a destination near or far.