One of the best ways to explore The Bend is on two wheels.
The League of American Bicyclists in 2018 named South Bend a silver level bicycle friendly community. It’s only the second Indiana community to ever receive the silver designation. Here are a few ideas for getting to know The Bend via bicycle. And don’t forget, many of these trails can be walked or jogged too!
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Tackle Mountain Bike Trails
Bendix Woods County Park
Mountain bike through a forest at Bendix Woods, one of St. Joseph County’s parks. The park boasts 6.6 miles of mountain bike trails for beginners and experienced riders. Cyclist get everything from rolling hills to tight turns and log piles to hop over.
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Potato Creek State Park
Potato Creek State Park has 7.7 miles of mountain bike trail that’s well-known as great for beginners. Although there aren’t a lot of obstacle challenges, the trails offer an abundance of natural scenery. More experienced riders will find it a track designed for speed, so get ready for that adrenaline rush.
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There are also 3.3 miles of bicycle trail at Potato Creek. You can wind up and down wooded hills then pass through wetlands at a less heart-pounding pace. It doesn’t get much more scenic than our very own state park.
Rum Village Park
Rum Village Park offers about six miles of mountain bike trails for any skill level. Beginners can utilize about a mile of trail. Intermediate adds another two miles and advanced another three. Hills turn steeper and more challenging with every uptick in skill level. Steep drops and climbs await on the advanced section.
Follow the Indiana Michigan River Valley Trail
Catch some natural beauty without having to leave the city by utilizing one of the many trails that run adjacent to the St. Joseph River.
Dedicated in 2019, the Indiana Michigan River Valley Trail spans 17 miles from downtown Niles, Mich., to downtown Mishawaka. It serves as an umbrella name for several trails that come together to make the route, most of it running along the St. Joseph River.
Some notable trail sections are listed below.
East Bank Trail runs about 3.5 miles, starting on Angela Boulevard just west of Burke Golf Course near the University of Notre Dame. Soon after, it crosses North Shore Drive and brings riders next to the river, opposite Leeper Park. The southern end point is near Veterans Memorial Park. But you need not stop there.
Near Veterans Memorial Park, you can connect with Northside Trail. This adds another 1.65 miles. It takes riders along the river still, past Indiana University South Bend and toward Mishawaka. The Logan Street Bridge serves as an end point for this trail. But, again, it doesn’t have to end there.
Northside Trail then connects to the Mishawaka Loop, which utilizes both sides of the river and multiple city parks over another 2.5 miles. The Mishawaka Riverwalk is well known as one of the best showcases of the river.