Low Gap Trail

HARD 193 reviews

Low Gap Trail is a 10.3 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Martinsville, Indiana that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. 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
10.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1190 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

The Sweedy Hollow area on the southwest portion of loop is beautiful. There's even a stone cove in one of the hills. The northern part of trail isn't so thrilling because a lot of it is gravel road, which is tiresome to the feet. Also the part alongside Forest Rd is a bit underwhelming due to logging and erosion. Perfect length for a serious jaunt though.

30 days ago

Absolutely love this trail. I've used this trail as my training trail for the Appalachian trail, Continental Divide trail and Pacific Crest Trail. Definitely my favorite in Indiana.

hiking
1 month ago

Good fun trail, some nice elevation changes to burn the legs . Trail is marked fairly well,I would highly recommend this for a good dayhike.

hiking
1 month ago

Easily accessible trail for a day trip from Indianapolis. I completed the 10 mile loop at a quick pace and saw a handful of other hikers. Quite a bit of elevation variation which was fun. The campsites for backpackers are well marked and near streams.

Others mentioned hiking clockwise. I did not, but would agree with the recommendation if you want to get the “ugly” gravel road section out of the way earlier. To go clockwise do NOT start at the trailhead that says “trail begins here”. Go down the steps on the side of the parking lot where the cars are facing.

backpacking
1 month ago

Enjoy this trail immensely, there are a few small climbs that offer a bit of a challenge and a portion of the trail runs along a creek, which is always nice. The trail offers clean and somewhat secluded backpacking sites for overnight trips.

My one knock of this trial would be that a portion of the trail runs along private property and is on gravel road.

1 month ago

Hiked with our two middle school sons.. it rained for two days nonstop, However still great trail and the boys did great. Went counter clockwise but only made have the hike due to severe weather. Cut halfway by using lower gap road. We will be back and try it again next year.

backpacking
2 months ago

It was an enjoyable trail with great scenery and geologic features. But I’m surprised it is rated as rugged. I’m a novice backpacker and I’ve hiked harder “moderates” in Brown County. But I’ll hike it again for the scenery!

hiking
3 months ago

Low gap is my go to trail for anywhere near Bloomington Indiana. The 10mi loop trail averages the same elevation change per mile as the Appalachian trail and has a two mile extension in the rock shelter if you're interested in traveling further or wish to see something slightly different from the rest of the trail. I will note that the parking lot on low gap rd is probably best situated for hiking the best this trail offers. I will note that there are dozens of deer that bed inside of this trail, I've seen a puffball mushroom twice the size of my head, and I've seen a jack-o-lantern mushroom bigger than an ice cooler at the rock shelter extension trail head.

hiking
4 months ago

Did it as a long day hike. Challenging with lots of up and downs. Look forward to backpacking it. No wildlife sightings. Most of trail easy to follow, although there were a few tricky areas.

5 months ago

Nice trail. I went clockwise like the reviewer below. This saved the best part of the trail for last.

hiking
5 months ago

Great Hike! First time hiking this trail, and I had a blast. I went clockwise from the Forest HQ, and enjoyed keeping rock shelter for later in the hike. It was a great spot to take a break, on a beautiful day. Really enjoyed it, and looking forward to hiking it again.

hiking
6 months ago

Is there anywhere near the trail to set up a pop-up camper to boon-dock?

hiking
6 months ago

Great trail, well kept. like the addition of the log book.

6 months ago

Whew, this was a workout! Nice challenging hike, well-marked once you are on the trail, some minor blowdowns. A couple we came across mentioned that they spotted 3 rattlesnakes in Rock Shelter a month ago.

7 months ago

Great trail! Hiked out with my friends and found a great place to camp with trees perfect for all of our hammocks :)

backpacking
7 months ago

This is a nice trail with several alternative trails to complete a long week end. We parked at the south crossing of Low Gap road to hike into camp. This made it much easier to have a supply base at the car for water. The only water I found was at the Low Gap road and two ponds on the ridge east of low gap road. They were very green. The creak beds were dry, very dry. Yes the northern part of the trail was miserable with golf ball size rock making up the gravel road. We meet up with a Gentleman by the name of Cheesy. A very interesting younger guy that said he was 83 years old. We talked for a few minutes then he said he had to go and disapeared over the horizon. I would like to say I hope I am in that kind of shape when I reach my 80s but I couldn't keep up with this gentleman if I were on a bicycle now. Best wishes Cheesy. Other than the golf ball size rock on the road the trail was great. From the southern crossing of Low Gap road going east for about a mile and a half there are many camp sites on the ridge and through the valley. This Labor day week end there was a fair amount of traffic. We saw a dozen camp sites across this area. We meet up with at least 30 to 40 hikers over the week end. The southern part of this trail is also part of Tecumseh trail. We meet up with a lot of people thru hiking the Tecumseh. When doing this trail I highly recommend doing the rock shelter section of the trail as part of this Low Gap Trail. This is the south west partition on the map (Sweedy Hollow). It adds about two miles to the trail but is by far the best part of the adventure. I took my first major fall this year at the stone cove. (My own stupid fault not watching what I was doing) No broken hip so I am good to go.

hiking
7 months ago

great hike!

backpacking
8 months ago

Great, fun trail. Lots of camping spots, but water sources were pretty scarce. Only spot we found to refill our water bottles was near the parking lot at Low Gap Road on the south end of the trail. Also the gravel road was kind of a drag, but luckily we weren't on it for that long.

hiking
8 months ago

It's a nice trail...reviews from here helped but there were a few things I wish I'd known that I will share. We hiked to the Rock Shelter first and then crossed Low Gap Rd to camp by the creek. There are actually two creeks, one by the road with 4-6 big open campsites (looks like where the locals party.) But just beyond these sites you cross another creek with several backcountry sites along that .5-1 mile stretch, even a few nice campsites up on the ridge just beyond the low land of creek--or just before you get to the creek if coming the other way. There were NO campsites after Rock Shelter until crossing the road. We were exhausted after crossing the road so we set up camp before crossing the other creek (bc we didn't know it was there!) and ended up disappointed to hear cars all night.

There was quite a bit of gravel road walking...but overall, we were on trails the most.

The biggest disappointment was a technology glitch, I assume. According to AllTrails we had hiked the 10.2 miles just after reaching the Low Gap/Tecumseh split. But, we had over two miles to go!! (Backpacking with two teenage girls, so you can imagine the drama this imposed. ;)

trail running
8 months ago

Excellent trails. Well groomed and great scenery.

hiking
8 months ago

One of the best trails for backpacking in Indiana. Very secluded and the climbs will get your heart pumping. Most elevation I've seen Indiana yet. Reminds me of the Appalachian Trail in some sections. Great trail to train on. Did the 10.5 loop just over 3 hours with some stops. Not a fan of the gravel road walking.

hiking
9 months ago

Hiking on gravel gets old pretty quick, but the rest of the trail was great.

9 months ago

I do love Low Gap!
As per usual it was absolutely beautiful! There weren't many people on the trail despite being 77 degrees and dry.
The only downside on this hike was the spider webs... the west side of the loop that runs parallel to the road was littered with spider webs. Even after using a stick to try and rid them I still easily wore over 40 spider webs... I found 3 spiders crawling on my arms (so who knows how many were on me that I didn't see).
Still, it is the best hike in central Indiana. I still highly recommend it!

backpacking
9 months ago

Glad it allows backpacking but gravel road walking is no one's idea of a good time.

What a waste!!!!! Who ever decided to gravel a trail is dumb!!!!

hiking
9 months ago

Was a nice hike in the woods. Took me right at 4 hours with a couple short breaks.

hiking
9 months ago

Really nice hike! We only saw two people the entire time, not crowded or busy. The majority of the trail is hiking up and down. The shale cove was really cool as well.

hiking
9 months ago

This is a great trail! Beautiful scenery and points of interest. Backcountry sites were very nice. The trail is well marked and in great shape. We hiked in May and had plenty of water sources. Well worth the time to complete!

10 months ago

Nice hike in the trees!

backpacking
11 months ago

Hiked counterclockwise from the parking lot near the Drapers Cabin trailhead. Other reviews hit it spot on about the scenery. It's better (IMO) to take the trail clockwise to get the flat gravel out of the way first. Didn't encounter any snakes (only deer and frogs), and only passed a handful of people. If you're wanting to camp, plan early to find a secluded campsite in the backcountry. There were several camps taken by people that drove to the closer parking lot on Low Gap Rd (many were drunk when we passed them). Be careful walking around obstacles from last week's rain fall, a couple of them are slick.

backpacking
11 months ago

Hiked from the park HQ parking lot to bear lake, saw a 4' timber rattler right on the path. Be careful, they are out there! I never saw it and almost stepped on it! It was not aggressive as it was chilly. Still shook me up pretty good!

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