Hey Midwest friends,
Here's a bit of info on the Low Gap Trail, a nice long day hike for anyone looking for a ramble in the woods of southern Indiana.
Location: Morgan-Monroe State Forest near Bloomington, IN
Length: 10.3 miles as a big loop OR 4 miles on the shorter loop to see just the most scenic parts
Dispersed Camping Allowed? Yes; All campers must register with State Forest Office via person, email at morgansf@dnr.IN.gov, at the kiosk, or phone (765-792-4654). Low impact only, no more than 6 people. Camp must be at least1/4 mile away from trailheads/access roads. LNT principles must be observed.
Link to the trailhead on Google Maps
I have Alltrails Pro, so I'm able to download the map for when I don't have service. GPS will still work without service, but if your map isn't downloaded, you won't be able to see where you are on the trail.
If you don't have an offline map app, make sure to at least download and/or print a map like the one below. Don't rely on Google/Apple maps.
PDF Map Download:
I recommend hiking with the 10 Essentials on long day hikes like this, just to be prepared.
Keep in mind that most adults walk at around 2-3 mph on relatively flat surfaces, so if this is your first 10 mile trail, know that this will likely take you 3.5-4.5 hours to finish if doing the whole loop. I think it took us around 4.5 with a lunch stop.
We hiked this clockwise, meaning that the most scenic part would be at the end. I like hiking that way when possible so that the payoff feels better when you get to the prettiest parts!
The northern part of this trail does feature more gravel road walking, but if you're looking for a nice long forested walk, that's exactly what you'll get! If you'd rather hit just the most scenic spots, take the Rock Shelter Trail instead - that cuts the loop down to 4 miles (marked in brown on the PDF map).
My tip for enjoying a long ramble in the woods? Pack lots of water and good snacks/lunch food :) I always budget at least a liter of water for every 5 miles I'm planning to hike. And it's a great idea to keep a water jug in the car in case you're super thirsty when you get back and there's no water at the trailhead.
Make sure to stop and admire all the little flowers and mushrooms you see along the way!
After winding your way through the woods, towards the end, you'll come upon a beautiful rocky hollow!
By the time we made it back to the car, we were all pooped!
Our plan was to try to get a walk-up campsite at nearby McCormick Creek State Park, since we had plans to hike there the next day. Unfortunately, all the spots were full.
Thankfully, a nearby spot to camp down the road was available at the primitive Fish Creek Campground, and it was only $13. If you camp, just make sure you have cash in case you need to pay the camp fee in the envelope.
Stay tuned for more info on McCormick's Creek State Park!