Discovering Indiana’s Most Unique Hiking Trail by Mistake

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Do you have a horse? No? Me either… But have no fear! Your own two legs will get the job done!

  • Location: Norman, IN
  • Trail Length: 12 miles

Tucked away in the Charles Deam Wilderness, Blackwell Horsecamp has 12 miles of trails. And guess what? They’re not just for horses; they made sure we two-legged hikers could enjoy them too. Pretty generous, right?

While walking through the quiet woods, I spotted a group of horse riders in the distance. I paused to watch them come closer, moving together smoothly—like they were part of a dance.

As they got near, I threw them a friendly “hello” and told them I was impressed by how well they rode. They were really nice and happy to talk about their horses and the trails.

One of the riders, Sarah, invited me to walk with them. I was thrilled! Sarah and her friends, Jill and Mike, knew a lot about the area. They told stories of their rides and pointed out places where you might see wildlife. They made sure I didn’t miss out on any of the cool spots along the way.

Blackwell Horsecamp Trail Riding

Walking with them felt like joining a new club. We shared laughs and stories. They even introduced me to their horses, who were friendly giants.

As we walked—them on their horses, and me on my feet—I felt right at home. We enjoyed the beauty around us and I learned a lot about horses. By the end of our time together, I had made new friends and gained a new view on the bond between horses and people.

Before I knew it, our walk was over. I had started alone but ended up with great memories and new friends.

When I said goodbye, I thought about how lucky I was to meet them. Going for a hike by myself led me to these wonderful people, reminding me that trails are more than just paths in the woods—they help us meet others.

Now, every time I go back to the wilderness, I remember the horse riders who showed me how fun the journey can be, whether you’re on two legs or four. And I’ve got a new joke to share: Why did the horse sit in the corner? Because it was a little hoarse!

My Personal Tips & Tricks For Tackling This Trail

Blackwell Horsecamp Trail

While you may not have a horse to bring along, nothing’s stopping you from enjoying the equestrian vibe. Grab a spot at the picnic shelter, watch the horses, and imagine you’re part of the elite horse-owning club. Who knows, you might even pick up some horseback riding tips just by observation!

Hike the Extensive Trail Network

With 12 miles of trails winding through the Charles Deam Wilderness, you have plenty of ground to cover. Each trail offers its own unique beauty, from dense forest canopies to open vistas that reward your uphill struggles with breathtaking views. Don’t just stick to one trail; try to explore as many as your legs will allow.

Wildlife Watching

The Charles Deam Wilderness Wildlife Watching

The area’s rich ecosystem supports a variety of wildlife. Bring your binoculars and keep a stealthy pace; you might spot deer, foxes, or even a rare bald eagle. Early mornings or dusk are prime times for wildlife sightings, offering a serene experience as the forest comes alive.

The Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve in Evansville, renowned for its lush canopy and winding trails, provides a haven for various bird species, including vibrant warblers and elusive owls, adding a symphony of calls to the tranquil dawn chorus.

Photography

With its picturesque landscapes and abundant wildlife, Blackwell Horsecamp is a photographer’s paradise. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or just snapping pictures on your phone, you’ll find plenty of Instagram-worthy shots to commemorate your visit.

As the day draws to a close, my secret spot for sunset views in Indiana offers a serene vantage point for capturing the stunning colors painting the sky.

Nighttime

Blackwell Horsecamp Nighttime

Stargazing If you’re up for an overnight stay, the minimal light pollution in the area makes for the BEST stargazing opportunities. Lay back and look up at the stars—there’s something truly relaxing about watching the stars in such a peaceful setting.

Explore Nearby

Attractions While the camp itself is a draw, the surrounding area of the Charles Deam Wilderness offers additional attractions like Monroe Lake. It’s perfect for a day of kayaking, fishing, or simply lounging by the water. The proximity to Bloomington also means you can enjoy some urban pleasures before retreating back to nature.

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