Spring is the perfect time to go outside and play, and Wayne County offers many ways to explore the great outdoors, even while social distancing measures are in effect.
Take a hike
Stretch your legs and get a little fresh air with a leisurely stroll or an active hike on your choice of area trails. The longest paved rail-trail in Indiana, the Cardinal Greenway begins at the south trailhead in Richmond, running 58 miles north through Muncie to Gas City through wooded sections and bucolic natural scenery. To move along at a faster pace, bike rentals are available through Cycling and Fitness Warehouse in Richmond and at Bar B Cue King in Webster.
Although the nature center is presently closed, 16 miles of hiking and biking trails are still open at Hayes Arboretum during regular business hours. Populated with old-growth beech and maple trees, these forested grounds are home to a diverse range of regional flora and fauna to observe. Just south of U.S. 40 on Airport Road between Richmond and Centerville, Cope Environmental Center maintains three miles of hiking trails and a self-guided labyrinth walk, a balm to soothe weary spirits during these uncertain times. Both Hayes Arboretum and Cope Environmental Center also offer nature playscapes for younger visitors to enjoy.
Step back in time
Carved into a crevasse of ancient shale and limestone, the Whitewater Gorge is home to one of the oldest fossil beds in the Midwest populated with the remains of previous inhabitants like corals, snails, trilobites and bivalves. Just to the south of the scenic Thistlethwaite Falls, visitors of all ages can engage their imaginations and unleash their inner archeologists by combing the 445 million-year-old territory for discoveries. Don’t forget to pick up a free Fossil Trail Passport at the Old National Road Visitors Center or the Joseph Moore Museum at Earlham College.
Smell the roses
The Instagram-worthy Richmond Rose Garden at Glen Miller Park is a popular location for summer weddings when the flowers burst into full colorful blooms. Elsewhere in the park, hiking trails, picnic tables and shelters, a playground, a skate park, a summer splash pad, golf facilities, natural spring water stations and a band shell offer everything you need to make a day of it.
Take to the water
On the north side of Richmond skirting Middleboro Pike toward I-70, Middlefork Reservoir covers an expansive 177 acres with an additional 100 acres of surrounding land. Avid anglers can cast their lines for bluegill, bass and crappie from the shore and docks, or BYO boats. A fish cleaning station on site facilitates processing your catch; paddleboats, canoes and kayaks are also available to rent.
Bring a pair of binoculars and keep your eyes peeled for appearances by a number of fine-feathered friends. And feel free to bring Fido along; the reservoir maintains Richmond’s only off-leash bark park.
Reach new heights
Immortalized in the recent Netflix release “All the Bright Places” based on Richmond native author Jennifer Niven’s young adult novel, Indiana’s Highest Point (a.k.a. Hoosier Hill) sits pretty at 1,257 feet above sea level 15 miles north of Richmond in Bethel. A stone memorial marks the spot.
Even if you're stuck home and unable to travel to Wayne County, start planning that trip! Now is the perfect time to dream about your next vacation and start building an itinerary of things to do. Dream Now, Visit Later!
To learn more about these and other outdoorsy Wayne County destinations, visit our outdoor recreation page here.