Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Biking Indiana's Erie Lackawanna Trail

The Erie Lackawanna runs north from Crown Point to Highland, with another spur then running farther north to Hammond, for a total of 15.7 miles. We began at the start of the southern section by exiting I-80/94 at Kennedy Avenue and driving just 100 yards or so south and turning right at 178th Place into the Wendy's/Cracker Barrel lot.  The trail begins at the entrance to the parking area and takes you briefly on a well-maintained gravel dike trail alongside the Little Calumet River and then across a bridge to the start of the paved trail.

The trail runs along a power corridor and past schools and parks and then leaves the power corridor. 

This linear park has many young trees added in dedication to loved ones with plaques indicating the donors. Another parking area is about a mile south on Kennedy at the intersection with Ridge Road in downtown Highland.

In Griffith at South Broad Street (Route 73), turn right (south) and ride on the road bike lane as you cross seven sets of active tracks, then turn left at the first street (East Avenue B) and you'll see the trail resume at another trail parking area with pavilion and restrooms. You again ride along some nice parks and will see the railroad logo sign above the trail and inlaid markers on the trail.

There are frequent road crossings in the residential areas, but none posed any danger.  Some of the trail is shaded by tall trees on one or both sides of the trail, but you will still bake on hot summer days in many areas. The trail is mostly level as one would expect in Indiana.

To access the southern parking lot in Crown Point, from State Route 55 (aka Taft Street and Main Street), turn west on West 93rd Avenue. After about a 1/2 mile, when the street turns north onto Chase Street, continue straight to the parking area.

You can also park at numerous spots along the trail, and though many have pavilions, garbage cans, picnic tables, and benches, there are only a few washrooms or water faucets, so carry plenty of water.

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