Your outdoor recreation guide for walking and hiking in Columbus, IN is here! Now that warmer weather is here, it’s time to get out and experience Columbus in all its beauty. From waterfalls to scenic trails throughout the city, Bartholomew County offers something for everyone at any skill or accessibility level.

Mill Race Park

Mill Race Park, an 85-acre riverfront park is one of the top 100 parks in the nation for design, reputation, and accessibility. This park is a perfect place to take a stroll to admire the river and the art installations throughout.

Designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh and featuring structures by Stanley Saitowit, the park connects to our it includes an 84-foot observation tower, a covered bridge, people trails, fishing at two lakes, picnic shelters, playground equipment, horseshoe pits, basketball courts, and an amphitheater that hosts concerts and performances.

People Trails

Any people powered mode of transportation is welcome on the more than 27 miles of paved trails. Connecting all of Columbus’ city parks, the route through townand into the countryside is a pleasant way to enjoy the outdoors. The paths run alongside three rivers, two creeks, plenty of green space, and productive Hoosier farmland. Great for leisurely exercise with a distraction or two.

This looped trail has no beginning, but a great place to start your journey is in Mill Race Park! 

Anderson Falls

This beautiful cascading waterfall is only 12 feet high, but about 100 feet wide. The amount of water pouring over the falls will depend on the rainfall, but it is likely to have water flowing all year round. The waterfall is right alongside the road, with parking nearby, and visitors can easily access the limestone bed at the base of the falls.
The far side of the creek is a forty-four-acre nature preserve with two hiking paths of 1.75 mi and 2.25 mi. You will have to walk across the creek above the falls to reach the trails.

Pauline Crump Nature Preserve & Trail

This one-mile loop trail is perfect for a leisurely stroll through the woods. You’ll see a low head dam along the trail, and it is connected to the People’s Trail between 25th Street and Rocky Ford Road along Marr Road. Making it perfect for bird watching, running, and fishing.

The trail was developed in honor of Pauline Crump by Ed Niespodziani and the Columbus North Environmental Club.

Touch the Earth & Tangeman Woods

Touch the Earth

Located conveniently near State Road 46 just west of Columbus, this preserve is one of the larger protected natural areas in Bartholomew County and is an excellent spot for hiking and bird watching. Sycamore’s Tangeman Woods preserve is less than a mile away, just on the other side of State Road 46.

A mowed parking area along County Club Road provides access to two miles of mowed trails through scenic woods and former farm fields that have reverted to nature. The trail features several benches and an observation deck. Dedicated neighbors volunteer to keep the trail and parking area mowed for visitors.

Sycamore Land Preserve’s Tangeman Woods is less than a mile away, just on the other side of State Road 46.


Tangeman Woods

Tangeman Woods is a beautiful mixed hardwood forest with intermittent creeks, located on the eastern edge of southern Indiana’s rugged Norman Upland. The Outdoor Lab nature trail, created by the Bartholomew County Soil and Water Conservation District in the 1970s, is still used for school field trips. 

The Outdoor Lab trail features bridges over shallow but steep ravines, which have been repaired and enhanced by several Boy Scout service projects. Sycamore Land Trust staff have worked to enhance the forest by controlling invasive bushes including privet and burning bush, and monitor annually for garlic mustard near the trailhead.

Located less than a mile from Touch the Earth