If you’re into sunshine, hiking or the outdoors in general, Bloomington has you covered. From hiking to exploring thousands of acres of wilderness preserve to hanging out at local parks, there’s something for every outdoorsman.
Those looking to test their hiking skills or find a lakeside view for a picnic can check out Griffy Lake Nature Preserve, less than 10 minutes from campus. The 1,200 acres of preserved land is crossed by eight hiking paths, ranging in difficulty from the 0.2 mile Wetlands Trail to the 1.7 mile Hiking Trail. Those with a valid Indiana fishing license can cast their line into 109 acres of water stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, largemouth bass, channel catfish and crappie.
The preserve welcomes visitors from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. There is no entrance fee to get in.
For anybody really wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Indiana’s only national forest is a 30-minute drive away from campus. Hoosier National Forest is made up of over 200 thousand acres, including 13 thousand acres of “wild and primitive” wilderness area.
Hoosier National Forest visitors can go hiking on one of eight trails ranging from 1.2 to 12.5 miles, camping in dispersed tents, campsites or cabins, rock climbing, fishing and horseback riding. The grounds are also the site of the historic Hickory Ridge Fire Tower, a 110-foot-tall tower offering a bird's-eye view of the forest.
If you want to stay a little closer to home, don’t worry! Bryan Park, located just south of campus, has a baseball field, basketball and tennis courts, three playground areas and an open field area. The park hosts events throughout the year.
Another option is Switchyard Park, which opened in 2019. Switchyard hosts the Bloomington Winter Farmer’s Market and Winter Palooza as well as music and arts festivals throughout the year. The B-Line Trail, 5.1 miles of light-lined path, also runs through the park.
So, the next time you want to step outdoors, don’t look too far. There’s plenty to see around Bloomington.