Putnam Parks & Pathways, in collaboration with the National Road Heritage Trail and the Putnam County Visitors Center, has officially opened the Hamrick Station Trail segment, a three-mile-out and three-mile-back extension of People Pathways’ county-wide trail system. Starting at Manhatten Road and West County Road 575 South, the trailhead to the new rustic footpath sits on the west side of Manhattan Road, with an information kiosk and small parking area.
The new People Pathways segment extends 3.1 miles west along the abandoned railway corridor and has a grass “floor” specifically designed for foot or mountain bike use. Coming up to the banks of Big Walnut Creek, the 12-foot-wide trail through a heavily wooded area of the county may be the most beautiful stretch to-date.
The trail is named for Ambrose Dudley Hamrick, a Putnam County Representative to the Indiana Legislature, prominent agriculturalist and postmaster of Hamrick Station, among numerous other titles. A small two-story depot once stood where the trailhead was installed, and the area around the depot was once known as Hamrick Station.
This segment, which leads toward Reelsville, helps make Putnam County’s portion of the National Road Heritage Trail one of the longest in the state. The goal of the National Road Heritage Trail is creation of one continuous section spanning the width of Indiana, from Richmond to Terre Haute, along or near US-40, also known as the National Road.
People Pathways already connects Hendricks County to Greencastle in one continuous trail segment. Continuing the trail, from Greencastle to Limedale and Reelsville and on to Clay County, is part of Putnam County’s five-year outdoor recreation master plan. This Hamrick Station Trail addition extends People Pathways to nearly 21 miles and brings the National Road Heritage Trail closer to a continuous pathway across Putnam County.
Members of the Big Walnut Bird Club have already traveled the new three-mile segment and report a large number of birds living along this somewhat remote stretch. Big Walnut Creek runs alongside this new section of trail and, about two miles west of Manhattan Road, a large beaver colony makes its presence known via many felled trees and chewed tree stumps. Putnam Parks & Pathways will oversee trail maintenance, including regular mowing of the trail bed, making this segment easy for families, hikers and mountain bikers to enjoy.