hiking trails near mishawaka indiana

Hiking Trails near Mishawaka, Indiana

Whether you live in or near Mishawaka, Indiana or you are visiting from out of town, you might be surprised to learn we have great hiking opportunities near The Mish

In this hiking guide, I will break down the hiking areas based on the drive time distances from Downtown Mishawaka. The majority of the links will lead to an AllTrails listing. 

Before I launch into the entire list, I'll first mention two urban trails you must be aware of along with our nearest National Park, which is my top choice for hiking near Mishawaka. 

trails mishawaka indiana

Urban Trails

I would be remiss to not acknowledge the paved hiking & biking paths around the St. Joseph River known collectively as the Mishawaka Riverwalk, South Bend's East Race, or the Indiana Michigan River Valley Trail. 

st. Joseph river riverwalk indiana

The St. Joseph River 

Near Downtown Mishawaka, if you are looking to explore the St. Joseph River in an urban setting you can't miss the Mishawaka Riverwalk Loop.

You have many options for parking, but most people park at Central Park or at Beutter Park near the outdoor Ball Band Biergarten

You can easily spend 1-2 hours exploring, there are also several playgrounds for kids & restaurants nearby. Of course, you can visit our shop InRugCo, which is across the street from Central Park. 

east race south bend indiana

An easy 10 minute drive from the Mishawaka Riverwalk is Howard Park & the East Race near Downtown South Bend. You can park at Howard Park to access the paved pathway along the St. Joseph River. 

Much like the Mishawaka Riverwalk, in South Bend near Howard Park is the area known as the East Bank Village. Visit South Bend has written an excellent guide to exploring Howard Park

There are several restaurants & shopping options all walkable from the park. In the summertime, don't miss whitewater rafting near Howard Park at the East Race Waterway

 Indiana Dunes National Park Hiking Trails

Indiana Dunes National Park 

One hour drive from Mishawaka

Located at the southern tip of Lake Michigan, my top choice for hiking trails near Mishawaka is easily Indiana Dunes National Park

Did you know the biological diversity within Indiana Dunes National Park is 4th among all of our national parks? Near the immense Lake Michigan you have woodlands, sand dunes, bogs, prairies & beach all supporting a variety of flora & fauna. 

Admittedly, to love Indiana Dunes National Park is to understand the unique juxtaposition between this nature preserve & the history of industrial manufacturing. Like many topics, this is a complicated history. A great starting point is the documentary Shifting Sands

There are many great trails to choose from, you could easily spend 1-2 days exploring the park. I would first stop at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center. 

Cowles Bogs Trail is one of my favorite trails. 

potato creek state park hiking

Potato Creek State Park

30 minute drive from Mishawaka

Potato Creek State Park is the only state park that is accessible from Mishawaka in under 30 minutes. Locals refer to this park as PC, which is home to 327-acre Worster Lake, old fields, mature woodlands, restored prairies, and diverse wetlands. 

You can easily spend a full day exploring the trails that PC has to offer. The Nature Center is a must-visit to learn more about the park.  I typically park at Porter Rea Cemetery then take Trail 4 near Worster Lake and then connect with Trail 2. 

Potato Creek State Park North Liberty, Indiana

Other 30 Minute & Under 

After Potato Creek, you best bet for hiking trails under 30 minutes are county parks & nature preserves. Most of Michiana was flattened due to glaciers, but just because most of our hiking is relatively flat doesn't mean it isn't interesting.

How many different trees & plants can you identify? How do the trails change with our seasons here? Many of these trails offer outstanding opportunities for birding if you are paying attention. Learn more with the South Bend-Elkhart Audubon Society.

Here are some notable county parks with good hiking. Typically, these offer between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours worth of hiking. 

where to hike near mishawaka indiana
30 Minutes to 1.5 Hour Drive

If you are willing to drive a bit, we have a nice variety of hiking trails worth visiting.  State parks offer more solitude & mileage compared to county parks. 

Here are some of my favorites.

hiking trails near mishawaka indiana 

2 Hours & Beyond Drive - Backpacking

The nearest trail to Mishawaka for backpacking or backcountry camping would be the Salamonie Lake Bloodroot Trail located near Argos, IN. 

Learn more at - https://www.in.gov/dnr/state-parks/files/Bloodroot_trail_map.pdf

(If you are invested in learning more about backpacking, please send us an email at hello@indianarugco.com. I have given backpacking clinics through the Elkhart County Parks Department and I am happy to share tips & tricks I've learned from backpacking all over the US.)

hiking trails near south bend indiana

For those willing to drive several hours, other destinations for hiking include Brown County State Park in southern Indiana, Turkey Run State ParkSleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore near Empire Michigan, & the Manistee National Forest

If you have any questions regarding trails in those areas, feel free to reach out to us at hello@indianarugco.com 

brown county indiana

Written by Clark Richardes 

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