Become an Explorer: Fort Wayne Trails

I stepped out of my apartment determined to become a runner. I stretched my legs against the tan siding of my new independent life and started to run. I found myself running on the trails surrounding the golf courses at Shoaff Park. I was drawn to go back to this park during more and more runs. On one of these journeys, I took notice to a foreign trail that “T’ed” off from the path around the park, and I wondered where it might lead.

While I was becoming a runner, I also started to become an explorer. I followed the uncharted trail to become acquainted with what I might see along the way. Without realizing it, my curiosity helped me run farther and faster than I ever had before. I was pleased to find myself plowing through piles of crispy October leaves and being swallowed by a cave of trees that lived alongside the St. Joe River.

I realized that this path was going to allow me to go on forever; there was no end in sight. I found that I could travel past IPFW, through Johnny Appleseed Park, and through the heart of downtown on long connected trails. From past biking experiences, I knew that from downtown I could travel the Greenway to New Haven or to Fox Island Park on the Towpath Trail.

I was driven to find a map on the Fort Wayne Trails website that highlighted these seemingly endless paths. Upon seeing the map, I discovered that they actually were endless and that I could travel to almost any part of Fort Wayne on these scenic trails.

Fort Wayne’s Parks and Recreation department has a mission of “enhancing our vibrant and healthy community by developing an ever-expanding network of trails,” and the detailed map of these interconnected trails is very organized, making it easy to reference important areas along the paths. Fort Wayne may not have all the benefits other large cities have, but what we do have is the means to jump on a bike or step out for a walk to explore most of Fort Wayne without getting into a cramped car.

The Fort Wayne trails allow anyone to be an explorer of our city with 81 miles of free travel space. Fort Wayne Trails, Inc. is a nonprofit company that funds these trails with races and other events. To find out more about the trails or learn how to donate, visit, and start your exploration.


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Kayla is a writer for Pique: Fort Wayne Art & Culture. She is currently living in Salt Lake City, UT and works part-time for a non-profit called Learning for Life. She works with partner organizations to run after-school programs for Kindergarten and first grade students. She also helps to plan and run day camps where students of all ages get to rock climb, hike, and do STEM activities. Her heart will always be with Fort Wayne as her original home, but is really enjoying the outdoors scene in Utah!


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