Load your mountain bike and prepare for some single track fun in Northeast Indiana. There’s a growing culture of mountain biking in the area and over the past decade the trails have continued to grow and evolve into some pretty amazing trails that are enjoyed by the locals and riders from across the state. These three bike trails are located relatively near one another and would make a great weekend of riding fun. All three are considered intermediate but there’s plenty of green or beginner trails for riders of all levels.
Many have no idea that tucked in the woods just past the entrance of the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo are some of the area’s best mountain bike trails. Follow the signs to the back parking lot at Franke Park and you’ll find the mountain bike trails – popular for hikers, runners and bikers (3411 Sherman Blvd, Fort Wayne).
There are multiple access points so you are able to customize your ride depending on how many of the 10 miles you would like to tackle. Although there isn’t a great deal of elevation change in the park, the designers have done a fantastic job of maximizing skill and fitness level. There’s plenty of quick up and downs, log jams and bridges. Make sure you cross the creek or you’ll miss several miles of trail but save your strength for Derby Hill in the center of the park as the climb seems to go on forever! The trails are well marked with trail names and a color coding system for difficulty. Franke Park is a solid choice for area riders and there are plenty of group rides to challenge yourself and learn the trails.
For trail information and to communicate with other riders, join the Facebook page Franke Park MTB.
For additional things to do in the Fort Wayne area, check with Visit Fort Wayne.
Nestled on both sides of US 30 in Columbia City are the Morsches Park Mountain Bike Trails (1035 IN-205 #205, Columbia City). Enter off East Van Buren St. and you’ll find the parking lot and the trailhead off to the north.
The trail has a total of approx. 7-8 miles of single track. Once y0u enter the woods, the trail wraps around the hillside, across the park, under the road and then you are able to ride several more miles of trail on the other side of US 30. The trails have a clover leaf-type flow with all levels of riding and climbs. The trails are well maintained and the split location adds a level of adventure to the ride. Not aware of specific group rides but whether riding by yourself or friends, it’s well worth hitting up Columbia City for a single track ride. Visit their local Chapman’s Brewing Company for a post ride drink when you finish so that you can swap stories from your ride.
There is a Morsches Park Facebook page that contains information on all park activities but none specific for the trails that I have found.
The Winona Lake Mountain Bike Trails are located just past the Village at Winona off of Boys City Dr. (410 Boys City Dr., Winona Lake)
Head down the paved path and then at the split head to the right to get started. You’ll love the fast flowing sections of the trails and Winona has plenty of climbs and unique challenges for you. The paths are well marked so you should have no problems navigating through. There are close to ten miles of trails that wind through the woods, out in “The Field” that is a tight twisting path, and then along the creek with some fun rollers. One of my favorites is the “Goat Hill” with some tight flowing hillside trail action and a fun downhill.
The area just outside the mountain bike trails includes places to shop and eat, plus a bike shop, Trailhouse Village Bicycles, in case you flat out and need a new tube or just want to check out their selection. Our group always takes time to stop at Shoop’s Hamburgers on US 3o for burgers and milkshakes…just a suggestion.
Winona has a very active group maintaining the trails and they post trail conditions and closings on their Facebook page “Winona Lake Trails.”
For additional things to do in the area and on their annual “Fat and Skinny Tire Festival” visit the Kosciusko County Convention and Visitors Bureau.