March 21, 2016
We spent a sunny afternoon exploring this LaGrange county park bordered by the Little Elkhart River. I had often taken my kids there when they were younger. I had heard it had changed but wow, what a surprise it was to actually see the changes! When we used to go years ago, there was a small playground, a large grassy play area perfect for flying kites, some trails, a wooden tower and lots of small picnic pavilions scattered around the park and along the river. The wooden tower is long gone and some of the small picnic shelters have been removed. The large open field is still there. The playground has been expanded and now resembles a castle. There are several large picnic pavilions (available for rent) and several benches. There is even a disc golf course available to entertain the adults and older kids. It is a family afternoon paradise!
But what about the trail? The trail has also been redone to make it easy walking and handicap accessible. It is stroller friendly and leashed dogs are fine. We parked in the playground parking area but in retrospect, it would have been better to have parked in one of the other parking areas along the gravel roads circling the grassy play area. The park is much busier than when I used to go and with the trail being a loop, there is no reason to take up playground parking space if the only goal is to walk the trail. The trail is well marked and travels through the open grassy play field, through the woods, along the Little Elkhart River and through a restored prairie.
The trail has boardwalks through the low areas and bridges for the water crossings. One large wooden bridge crosses the Little Elkhart River.
The total trail length was 1.85 miles which is perfect for beginner hikers or young kids. It was a little short for what we like to do so we simply hiked it twice! Runners, take note, this is a perfect running trail. If you live in or near LaGrange County, make sure you check out this beautiful park. Bring the kids and grandkids, they will love it!