Knobstone Trail

HARD 26 reviews

Knobstone Trail is a 40.4 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Salem, Indiana that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
40.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
6945 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

backpacking
1 month ago

Fantastic trail. I started north from Deam Lake on October 19th around 3:45 pm and made it about 12.25 miles before setting up Camp around 9pm. October 20th was a long day; I made it about 23 miles in 12 hours hours. On the 21st, I started off about 9 am, took the trail around the north side of Delaney Park before ending at the around 5:30 pm. To round off my mileage, I hiked the trail south towards Elk Creek. Note: I did a few hours of night hiking before setting up camp each night. If you like night hiking as much as I do, make sure you have a good light and go slow.

The Delaney Loop itself was amazing. If you have just a day and want a good taste of the KT, I would recommend this loop. Again...it’s not easy and I would check with the park before before planning your day. Many trees were marked for harvest.

The weather for my trip was fantastic. Highs around 70, lows in the lower 50’s. I wouldn’t want to hike it in warmer weather but, that’s me...I naturally run hot anyway and due to the general lack of water, higher temperatures could have created problems or, excessively heavy water carries.

In all, the trail is amazing. It is very difficult and arguably dangerous in spots, especially once the leaves started falling. There were spots where the leaves hid the trail surface to the point that you couldn’t see what you were stepping on. There were also spots that weren’t marked very well and because the path was covered with fresh leaves, the obvious trail was hidden. About 6 times I had to stop, back up and find the blazes again before continuing on. Often around creek crossings, around recently fall trees and in two instances, where the KT veered off the forest road I had been on. In those case it was my inattention...I was just walking and wasn’t watching for blazes. In all cases, comparing a map to my All Trails track, got me back on track if I didn’t see the blazes.

Regarding water caches; the DNR map has a driving route between trailheads marked. I followed this to make my drops. Based on the distance between drops, 1 gallon per person was enough. I addition to the obvious locations, I would add the following: the New Chapel Trailhead is not on the KT. From the trail it was a short but, unnecessary hike up a hill to get to my water. Drive past the trailhead on Liberty Knob Road to the bottom of the hill. Cache your water where the trail crosses the road. It’s easy to find and you can thank me later. The Leota trailhead confused me as well. I didn’t see the actual trailhead while I was driving - when I was hiking it was obvious. I ended up pulling off the the side of a steep road (New Salem Finley Knob) near where the KT crosses, and cached water beside the guard rail. In actuality, the trailhead is just north of the road crossing and is a very short drive. You don’t need to park on the side of the road. I would also recommend making a drop at the Elk Creek trailhead, though it is a short walk from the parking lot. I thought I would have access to the lake in this area but, ended up passing the best access point near a campsite around mm 32. I was hoping for a better spot but, didn’t find one and ended up refilling from a spare jug at the trailhead. The last, not so obvious spot that I cached water, was off of West Point Road, on the back side of the reroute, just before mm 42. I did this to make sure I was carrying enough through the Delaney Loop. If you head towards Spurgeon Hollow first, you should be fine. For the record, when I got to my water, I drank as much as I could and left with 2.75 liters. I didn’t want to run out and need to drink a lot.

Regarding the reroute around mm 41: this project may be done soon from the looks of it but, who knows. As noted in previous reviews of the trail, there is a house on Pull Tight Road that has roaming dogs that will come out and bark. I talked to the owner and he said that he didn’t realize that they scared hikers and has been “trying to put them up if he thinks people are out.” I have been by the house twice and haven’t had any issues with the dogs, just keep walking. On the other side of the reroute, there is a house with some chickens, Guineafowl and a Doberman named “Smoke”. Both the owner and dog are harmless. One wants to sniff you, the other wants to talk to you. You’ll have to sort out the details.

If you have any questions, let me know. I am not an expert but, am happy to help.

Also, Tim from Snappy Shuttle Service is a nice guy. Call him ahead of time to arrange a ride if needed. His rates are fair and running his service helps him stay connected to the community since his health keeps him off the trail these days.

geocaching
2 months ago

Lots of spiders right now and no water. Wait until middle fall to late fall to hike this trail

backpacking
6 months ago

My wife and I are beginner backpackers and decided on the Knobstone Trail for our first experience.....FAIL!!! This trail is a great trail...but very challenging. You need to be in good shape. We did not prepare well enough. On our way to the trail we cached water at Elk Creek and at Oxley trail heads. We stayed the night at Delaney Park the night prior to our hike and had a shuttle ride to Leota in the morning and then preceeded to hike back north to Delaney. Day one was punishing... constant up and downs...I mean CONSTANT. We were hurting. We only made it from Mile Marker 25 to about 31 1/2. We found a killer established campsite overlooking ElkCreek Lake. Got up the next morning and headed towards Oxley for our next water cache. We were hoping for easier time...however 2nd verse same as the first... UP and DOWN... climb -descend and repeat. It was painful. My wife was ready to give up. We finally got to our cache at Oxley and someone/something had messed with one of our jugs so we only had one. We decided to keep going for a while and made it to another awesome campsite at about Mile Marker 40. Our bodies were broke by this point. woke up in the morning and headed out to complete our hike at Delaney. The 3rd day was perfect hiking for us. There were a couple of ups and downs...but there was alot of flat walking which we really enjoyed. WARNING!!!!! There is a reroute around 40 1/2ish mile where you have to walk down a gravel road. There is a house on this road and there are 4 dogs that will come out barking and growling. Just keep walking...don't look at them and don't mess with them... we just walked right on through them and they left us alone. Funny story short... we had been passed by 3 DNR officers before the dog issue and then we ran into the same officers later and they said... "see you survived the dogs" What the ****!!! you guys could not have warned us. Anyways... great hike the rest of the way to Delaney and bam we were done. This was soooo hard...but I feel awesome now. I loved it and I plan on finishing the trail soon. My wife, well she says she will never step foot on the trail again :). FYI... if you buy the Knobstone guide book off Amazon.. it is old and the mile marks are off. There was also plenty of water for us to filter if we needed to.

6 months ago

Very challenging hike but worth it.

backpacking
7 months ago

Great trail. We hiked from Deam Lake to Spurgeon Hollow approx 45 miles. Parts of the trail could use some up keep due to fallen trees but overall great conditions.

backpacking
8 months ago

Parked at the Deam Lake trailhead and hiked north to the Oxley Memorial trailhead on E. Banes Hollow Rd. 4 days 3 nights on late March. This trail was no joke with how steep the climbs were. Had some weird areas of what looked like an abandoned logging site for a few miles so there were just a whole bunch of cut down trees everywhere but for the most part it was good. Some good view as well. Also if you plan to do this trail, there are established campsites along the trail that i wish were marked somewhere. Most of them are at the tops of climbs and some have some amazing views for sunsets and sunrises. Not an easy trail.

8 months ago

I'm down to about 16 miles of this trail left.

backpacking
9 months ago

Backpacked between Pixley Knob Road and Deam Lake Trailhead. There had been some really nasty storms go through so we were not suprised to find several downed trees. Most could be climbed over but several required hike arounds. Trail was very clearly marked. Some significant climbs on this stretch. 2012 tornado damage area was spectacular to see.

hiking
11 months ago

nice trail, if blow down from tornado is removed will be even better. Lots of elevation change.

backpacking
Monday, August 08, 2016

It's a good challenge. Lots of hills. The clear cuts that the trail goes through were terrible. No markers in those areas( all the trees with markers were taken down) and easy to get turned around in. Kind of makes you wonder why they call it resource management. Could definitely use some basic maintenance, but overall a good trail.

hiking
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Just hiked from the Oxley to the elk creek trailhead. The map said it was a little over 5m but my garmin gps showed almost 10m. We never got lost or went off trail so I'm not sure what is up with that. This is a challenging trail by the time I reached the last hill (felt like a mountain) I was beat.

hiking
Monday, April 13, 2015

Ok, this one got my heart beat up a bit!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Not for beginners. Great challenge, and good scenery.

camping
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Great trail can't wait to hike the whole thing.

hiking
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Great trail if your are a hiker/backpacker. Very hilly, 300 feet up and down the entire length. We love it. Its a good trail to train for long hikes else where. This trail is just part of the Knobstone Trail (KT). No section of this trail is flat. It has great veiws. Try this section and you will do the whole trail, bring lots of water in the summer.

hiking
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Very well maintained. Be weary of the side trail that goes north when the trail goes west only about a half mile from Leota. It will add about a mile to the trip. Believe when it says strenuous.

hiking
Monday, April 25, 2011

The whole Knobstone Trail is great! This trail is a great trail to train for longer trails like the Appalachian Trail. The water is easy to find and the tenting is great. The trail is well marked and is very enjoyable. If you start from the North and end in the South you see the best scenery I feel at the end. I recomend that you are a more advanced hiker and this is not a good trail for any beginner that does not have a experienced hiker. I you do not like short steep climbs this is not for you. Great Trail!!!

hiking
Saturday, March 05, 2011

The knobstone is a hike that let's you enjoy the challenges the glaciers left as they retreated. This section is a nice thru hike to the next trail head at Elk Creek.

hiking
Friday, November 14, 2014

6 times 4 stars

2 months ago

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