Stretching 10.5 miles, Monon Trail runs from 10th Street to 96th Street and connects to the Monon Greenway of Carmel, which spans another five miles.
Monon is one of the most popular trails in the city and one of the busiest in the country. In fact, it was used more than one million times in 2005.
This rail-trail was originally built in 1847 as part of a growing trend in America that transformed railways to greenways for commuter and recreational use. Monon links schools, commercial areas, the state fairgrounds, parks and several residential neighborhoods.
Completed in 2003, the Monon Trail offers direct connections to the Central Canal Towpath and Fall Creek Greenway.
The south end of the trail is urban in nature, with the path traveling under the ramps of Interstates 65 and 70, and meanders through residential zones as well as light industrial areas. At 10th Street, the trail connects to the Indianapolis Cultural Trail that stretches through five key cultural districts in Indianapolis.
At the 2.7 mile mark, you’ll encounter the trail’s first bridge. The bridge is hard to miss with its fire-engine red color, and was originally used as a railroad trestle.
Further on, you’ll come across the Indiana State Fairgrounds, a very large complex that’s also home to the city’s annual fair.
Just beyond the fairgrounds, you’ll move past the backyards of the city’s suburban area. Artwork is sprawled along the tree-lined corridor, which offers a unique experience.
At mile 11 (Broad Ripple Avenue), you can access Broad Ripple, a charming village with a red bridge. Several galleries, restaurants, shops and breweries can be found here.
The trail continues past two more red bridges and several quiet neighborhoods before crossing 86th Street. At this point, you’re just one mile from the 96th Street trailhead, which marks the start of the Carmel section of the trail.
Once you get to 111th Street, you come across the Monon Center, which is a new development that features a fitness center, water park, meeting facilities, and even a skate park.