Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest is a 1.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Heltonville, Indiana that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
The trail head is not marked so I found via gps coordinates; it is across from a catholic church on us 150 just outside of Paoli Indiana. The parking area is small, but the trail was in great condition. As others have mentioned, it starts as an abandoned forest road; I crossed a nice bridge with a great creek. Lots of birds chirping, several species of butterflies; various wildflowers lining the path. I did stop at the unused parking lot, as the rain had the nature trail that continues a muddy mess and I wasn't dressed for that type of hike. I met several families hiking and everyone was enjoying themselves. Some of the trees are huge and one gets a sense of how Indiana once was. Very glad the forest has been preserved. Will go again when I'm in that area.
I run this trail every day. it is located in Paoli, IN. Not Heltonville.
I did try to upload photos, but they aren't appearing on the AllTrails website. Anyway, Pioneer Mothers' Memorial Trail offers the best example of a relatively intact forest an hour's drive from Louisville. The trail is short at 1.2 miles one-way and easy, especially the section beginning from the smaller parking lot off of U.S. 150. Here, the trail follows a paved section of disused road up to another abandoned parking lot, making this portion of the trail accessible to those using wheelchairs or children in strollers. There are a few benches lining this route also. Unfortunately, the best bit of forest is beyond this section as the trail becomes a dirt footpath ascending the hill. About halfway up the hill, there is the masonry wall monument for whom the forest is named. This section of the trail, which leads eventually to the larger parking area on Indiana state road 37, is where the largest trees are located. It's a shame there are only 88 acres. But I guess we should be thankful to have at least this much to enjoy.
What needs to be said about a beautiful virgin old growth forest. Not only does this trail take you through Indianas only virgin forest, but you pass by the ruins of an old native American settlement as well.