Looking to get outside a little more this summer? Being surrounded by nature is an excellent way to boost both mental and physical wellbeing while enjoying the fresh air and blooming flowers. Fort Wayne has over 100 miles of multi-use trail system leading to various destinations sure to satisfy any local explorer — there really is something for everyone!
Here is a quick overview of the scenic tranquility and fun the Fort Wayne Trails have to offer.
Key Fort Wayne Trails
Trek, pedal, or paddle? The Fort Wayne Trails exist in urban and country settings in order to connect communities, enhance quality of life, and encourage economic development. They provide access to parks, increase health and fitness, and are a recreational activity for all ages and abilities.
Recognized as a National Recreation Trail, the Rivergreenway is a striking 30-mile linear park that is part of an increasing network of trails in the cities of Fort Wayne and New Haven. You’ll get tons of stunning water views as this trail runs along the riverbanks of the Maumee, St. Marys, St. Joseph Rivers. Consisting of three main pathways, the Rivergreenway connects 15 city parks, historical attractions, waterways, and neighborhoods.
The northern part of the trail runs from Shoaff Park south to downtown Fort Wayne along the St. Joseph River while the southern branch starts past Tillman Park at Southtown Centre, and runs along the St. Marys River.
Enjoy a leisure walk, bike, hike, jog, or go for a nature study along this linear park. There are drinking fountains and restrooms offered in various parks along the trail such as Tillman Park and Foster Park.
Amenities: You’ll find tennis courts, a large playground, golf course, pavilion, and an award-winning flower garden at Foster Park. At Tillman Park, you can take your pick from the tennis courts, frisbee golf, softball diamonds, and a small playground.
Paddle Adventure: If you’re up for a paddle trip to experience Fort Wayne’s three rivers along the Rivergreenway, there are three featured water adventures available through Fort Wayne Outfitters.
Johnny’s Rope Swing Adventure starts from the boat ramp at Johnny Appleseed Park and is great for beginners. From the this point, you’ll float downstream to the Confluence where the three rivers meet, and from there you will take a right and paddle upstream for a mile ending at Fort Wayne Outfitters.
Intermediate paddlers looking for more adventure should check out Curly’s Suspension Bridge Trip. It leaves from Foster Park and goes downstream to the Fort Wayne Outfitter’s Bike Depot.
You can also opt for the Shoaff’s Mighty Portage route. Beginning from Shoaff Park, this trip requires a portage around the Johnny Appleseed Dam about 3 miles into the trip.
Nearby Landmark: Swing by Historic Chief Richardville’s House just south of Foster Park off Bluffton Road. It is recognized as the oldest Native American structure in the Midwest and is a National Historic Landmark.
Nearby Dining: Cool off and grab a bite to eat with a visit to Crescendo Coffee and More, La Fogata, 07 Pub, or Hall’s Original Drive In located at the north end of Foster Park. If you’re craving ice cream, take a quick trip down the Poka-Bache Connector to The Stand!
A path surfaced with crushed stone where mules once led barges up an adjacent canal used to occupy the site of the Wabash and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Eventually, the canal banks became unviable and the eroded portion in Fort Wayne was filled in and found new life as a route for interurban passenger rail service to Huntington. It was opened to pedestrians and bicyclists in 2011.
The Wabash and Erie Canal Towpath Trail is 5.5 miles long and begins in the north at Rockhill Park. It emerges into a mixed environment of open fields, and woodlands after extending south through residential neighborhoods.
Continue on to a short boardwalk section that will take you over sensitive marshland. Eagle Marsh is one of the featured destinations on this trail, a 716-acre wetland preserve where you have the chance to see herons, waterfowl, frogs, even bald eagles! This route is great for nature viewing and bird watching.
Eventually, the trail turns north, crosses W Jefferson Boulevard and heads to Lutheran Hospital, making it a popular route for commuting.
This trail gets its moniker from the historical nickname for a steam locomotive. Currently, almost 7 miles of the Pufferbelly Trail have been constructed. The north part of the trail starts in the Pentolina Grove neighborhood and leads south towards downtown Fort Wayne.
One of the main highlights of the route is the passage through Salomon Farm Park, where the Pufferbelly connects to a loop trail. The farm park offers opportunities to explore a living history farm in an urban setting. Another featured point along the trail is the historic airfield, Smith Field.
Amenities: Picnic tables, a large playground, and restrooms are available at the YMCA.
Nearby Dining: After adventuring around the Salomon Farm trail loop, take the Pufferbelly trail south to get a sweet treat and other refreshments at Cookie Cottage.
With an average of 550 trail users per day during trail season, the Salomon Farm Loop is the most heavily used trail in the network. It is a 1.65-mile loop on the city’s northwest side that offers a great setting for runs, walks, and biking. Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be leashed.
Take a detour off the paved path and explore the south half of the Salomon Farm Park by hiking along Beckett’s Run Creek. Here, you’ll pass the “Bridge to the Future” — a pedestrian covered bridge, a creek, new growth forest, meadows, and prairie. Want to extend your hike? Follow the 1.7-mile loop around the farm. You’ll find restrooms at the Learning Center, and the loop connects to the Pufferbelly Trail.
Currently, the Six Mile Creek Trail has a 2-mile trail that extends from Tillman Park heading east to Lamar Drive. It offers easy access to more than 80 businesses and organizations, and other great destinations to residents from the south side. The future phases of the Six-mile Creek Trail will run east along Tillman Road to Trier Ditch. The remainder of the loop will meander along Trier Ditch, then connect to the eastern end of the existing Rivergreenway Trail in New Haven’s Moser Park. It would be perfect for conducting marathons, or for residents who just want to enjoy the trails daily.
Explore more than 18 miles of trails in southwest Fort Wayne along the Aboite Trail which connects the Indian Trails Park and the Towpath Trail. Those who love a challenging workout will appreciate the hilly environment. Trailhead parking areas are located at the Towpath trailhead at Engle Road and Statesmans Way, as well as the Indiana Trails Park trailhead on Aboite Center.
There is actually a beautiful backstory of how these trails came to be. The vision began way back in 1974 when the first mention of proposed trails for our community was included in the Fort Wayne Master Plan Phase I. The goal was to create 17 miles of bicycle trail along the city’s riverbanks and through the parks. One year later, the community’s first paved multipurpose trail was finished — the Foster Park Bicycle Path.
Eventually, three local trail groups — the Rivergreenway Consortium (develops trails along local rivers), the Aboite New Trails (focuses on solving lack of pedestrian and bicycle facilities), and the Northwest Allen Trails — merged and established Fort Wayne Trails Inc. in 2011.
Fort Wayne Trails Inc. is a non-profit organization, a community partner, and advocate that pushes the development of a connected, multi-purpose system of trails in Allen County.
Want to make sure you hit all the hot spots this summer? Check out the Fort Wayne Outdoor Pass — an online choose your own adventure guide to the areas most beloved natural and urban scenes.