“Spring has sprung, with Mother Nature beckoning to anyone who enjoys fresh air and sunshine, and Wabash County is the ideal place to play outside.”
“Wabash County is a destination for outdoor adventure enthusiasts,” said Biz Bishop, content manager at Visit Wabash County. “We have a variety of experiences and events available year-round.”
One reason for this is the Wabash River Trail, a seven-mile paved stretch connecting Wabash and neighboring Lagro that serves as a hub for like-minded trail lovers. Locals and visitors alike can walk, run, bicycle, push a stroller or move by wheelchair without cross traffic, and the trail is the gateway to lots of other al fresco activities, too. Including Wabash Run The River half marathon, 10K and 5K.
The Wabash River Trail was the brainchild of Wabash resident Amy Ford, who cycled between the two towns and dreamed of a trail that would follow the Wabash River. Meanwhile, Justin Gillespie was looking for a way to start a business that would benefit the residents of the Lagro area where his family has lived for generations. The two teamed up, and local residents joined in to create a pastoral thoroughfare that has lead to the transformation of a community.
The main trail gives rise to scenic and historic points of interest. This means more opportunities for bird-watching and photography. The Eilts’ Hideaway near the Hill Street trailhead, for example, is a great place for viewing bald eagles and other river wildlife, and the boat launch in Lagro provides opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing.
Several new businesses have sprung up along the river trail that make a visit here even more enjoyable. Gillespie and his family and friends renovated an abandoned 19th-century house to create the 950 Speakeasy Bistro, which serves pizza and cocktails and provides live entertainment on the weekends. They also rescued an 1815 “canal house,” one of only six remaining and the only one with its original structure built by Irish immigrants who had come to work on the Wabash and Erie Canal. Today it is a rustic-chic Airbnb accommodation that has been renamed Riparian House.
White Rock Recreation is a white-glove service kayak and canoe rental business that also features amazing ice cream, smoothies and sundaes. Opening for the season in April and running through early fall, White Rock Recreation can handle groups of any size and it’s a great way to enjoy a float either on the Wabash River or in a glass with rootbeer!
For community members and visitors seeking outdoor activities, Alley Cat Outfitters, started by Luke and Melissa Kalbfell, is set to open in Wabash in June 2023. Located just off the trail, the shop will provide everything you need to go on an adventure. Whether you want to go camping for a weekend at Salamonie, build up your endurance to ride in the Dam to Dam Century ride, or simply rent a bike to ride to Lagro for ice cream at Canal Creamery, Alley Cat Outfitters will have you covered.
Wonderful as the trail is, it isn’t the only place to enjoy the out-of-doors in Wabash County. Several waterfalls and their environs also await your discovery. Hathaway Preserve at Ross Run also offers reef fossils, exposed bedrock, and cliffs as high as 75 feet. You’ll find Kissing Falls tumbling over rock formations at the end of a 1.5-mile hiking loop in Kokiwanee Nature Preserve, and Charley Creek Falls is located in Wabash City Park. Plan to bring a picnic and take the kids to the playground while you’re here. Salamonie State Park offers camping, fishing, hiking, and bridle trails in addition to the must-see falls, and Matlock Falls along Treaty Creek are accessed by way of Matlock Cemetery, both named for Wabash’s first mayor. A good place to wind up your day in the open air is Charley Creek Gardens, which have a waterfall of its own and is also located right in town.
Whether you prefer your trail paved or natural, Visit Wabash County’s website will set you on the right path to experience the great outdoors in the most memorable way.
This article was written in partnership with Travel Indiana and Visit Wabash County.