Leonard Springs Nature Park in Bloomington, Indiana is one place I never took Karlie. Not because I didn’t think she would love it, but because the description said there were steep slopes and stairs to navigate. With her weakening back legs and mobility issues, I didn’t think she would be able to handle it. I was wrong. Although the trails are rugged, sloped, and have both roots and rocks, Karlie could have handled them and there’s only one section that requires navigating stairs. The park is similar to Wapehani Mountain Bike Park, which she loved.
In the early 1900’s the property was purchased by the City of Bloomington to store water for municipal use. By the early forties the city had other sources of water, drained the lake, and stopped using the property. Then in 1998 Bloomington Parks and Recreation purchased it and dedicated it as the Leonard Springs Nature Preserve in 1999.
The park is open daily and has a parking lot that can accommodate about 10 vehicles. There is a gravel walkway that leads from the parking lot to the end of the park where the restrooms are located. This walkway has trails off of it that lead into the woods. Because the trails have twists, turns, inclines, and descents, they are not good for most people or dogs who have mobility issues. The trail also is not accessible for strollers or wheelchairs. There are a lot of roots and stones on the trails, making it important to watch where you step. For most of the hike, it feels like walking through the woods. The trail that Sunny and I took didn’t have too many off shoots, making it easy to find our way back to the start. We walked for nearly a mile before turning around and we could have walked even further. Due to the inclines, descents, and uneven walk surfaces, this one is only recommended for those in good health.
Karlie never hiked at Leonard Springs Nature Park, but she would have loved climbing the hills and being in the woods. Sunny and I hiked this trail in September 2022 and she loved all the great smells and being in the woods. Although the Bloomington website indicates there are natural springs, we did not find them on our first hike. Since we did not find the water, we rate this trail 3 out of 4 paws up.
How do I get there?
Getting to the park is fairly straight forward. It’s located on South Leonard Springs Road in Bloomington, Indiana which is off West Leonard Springs Road. After turning on West Leonard Springs Road, it’s about a mile to the park entrance. The entrance is on the left side of the road and is easy to miss. There is a sign, but it’s a little hidden so drive slowly on West Leonard Springs so you don’t pass it.
For more information, check out the Bloomington Indiana website.