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Author Topic: Owen Putnam State Forest MTB Trail  (Read 7147 times)

Nemhed

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Owen Putnam State Forest MTB Trail
« on: May 28, 2012, 11:25:07 AM »
Being a glutton for punishment and living fairly close, I try to ride this trail at least once a year when conditions permit.  With the recent dry spell, the trail is currently about 90% ride-able, if you count the section that is technically closed for logging.  I rode it yesterday morning so there was no logging going on plus there was plenty of evidence the horse riders had also been on these sections.

Surprisingly the sign at the trail head is still intact.

There were plenty of these four legged hardhats out on the trail.

Sign doesn't actually say anything about bikes. ;)

Some sections make it all worthwhile, even with the the horse bogs!
I like to post about this trail every now and then in the hopes of generating some interest.  A little armoring in the worst sections could make some huge improvements.  Of course it might not be worth it in the long run.  The trail was never built with sustainability in mind and the horse riders are going to ride in any conditions.  Still, as is the trail is a fun challenge when the conditions are right!  The trail is probably best ridden counter-clockwise from the trail head.  If you decide to ride the closed sections you'll want to steer left when you get to the clearing with the logging equipment towards the north section of the trail.  This will put you back on the main trail.  Avoid all the newly cleared logging paths.  They're probably doing their cutting during the week so stay clear of this section if you hear equipment or chainsaws.  Also, don't even bother if its rained within the last week or so, trail is really only ride-able during dry, summer/fall conditions. Post up if you decide to ride this unpolished little jewel.
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Dave G.

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Re: Owen Putnam State Forest MTB Trail
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2012, 06:49:28 PM »
A few of us from SWW rode it a couple of years ago in the dead of winter.  It was quite the challenge in the snow, sub-freezing temps and pock-marked trail.  It would be fun, so long as you don't go into it thinking it's at all like Nebo Ridge.  It is like an exercise in climbing and just riding for the sake of riding and sightseeing.

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bikapelli1

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Re: Owen Putnam State Forest MTB Trail
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2012, 10:26:05 PM »
I did a ride in Owen-Putnam many years ago when I had just started mountain biking.  My experience would not inspire me to ride there again.  The map was pitiful, and the horse riders had torn down all of the mountain bike trail markers.  I ended up getting stuck in there, not being able to find my way back to my car.  Eventually, myself and another rider (also in the same predicament) found a local (scouting hunting locations) with a good map.  A short fire road trip (with a lot of hike-a-bike) and I was back at my van. 

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rpmarheine

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Re: Owen Putnam State Forest MTB Trail
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2012, 07:48:09 AM »
Sounds like our AHT at OBannon woods. Unpolished but rewarding. What kind of mileage is there?
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Nemhed

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Re: Owen Putnam State Forest MTB Trail
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2012, 10:10:28 AM »
The main loop is around 7 miles.  There are plenty of side trails and fire roads also.  Plenty of opportunities to get lost but the main trail is still fairly well marked.  And yes the official map sucks!  Most of the trail markers still have horse and bike symbols on them, although some "pranksters" have removed the bikes from some markers.  Also at one spot a turn arrow had apparently been peeled off and turned the opposite direction causing many riders to take a wrong turn. Some kind soul had corrected that problem. All good fun!
If you head north from the trail head going counterclockwise, all the markers have a horse and bike.  Once you reach the far northern end and start to turn back south, the markers have a horse in a shelter symbol.  I don't mean to go on and on about this place but it is only 15 minutes from my house.  There wasn't a soul out there on a Sunday morning either, big plus to me!
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Board Wargamer

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Re: Owen Putnam State Forest MTB Trail
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2017, 10:27:00 PM »
I would guess 90% of riders would not like this trail, however, I have been riding it a lot and have been enjoying it. This is a mountain bike trail and horse trail, so ride during a drought or below freezing, otherwise, it will be extremely muddy due to horses.

I am not sure of the mileage of the loop, but it takes me about 1 hour and 45 minutes. It is about 80% singletrack, 10% doubletrack, 10% fireroad.

This is a ungroomed/ back country / bush wacking trail. I recommend long pants, long sleeves, full fingered gloves and eye protection due to overgrown pricker bushes and thorn bushes on the trail. This trail does receive some maintenance. Big logs / trees are removed from the trail.

I like this trail because of the adventure / journey / challenge I got from figuring out the trail loop. It took me about five rides to figure out the loop.

From Indianapolis: I-70 west, south on 231 (Cloverdale exit) for 18 miles, right or west on 46 for 5.0 miles, right on Fish Creek Rd for 5.0 miles, left on Hale Hill Rd for 0.7 miles, park on the right side next to mountain bike trail sign.

If you ride only groomed trails (e.g. Brown County State Park), try something different and you may find getting lost in the woods can be fun. Just make sure you have plenty of drink, food and daylight.

Allen Edwards

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Re: Owen Putnam State Forest MTB Trail
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 11:18:19 AM »
If you like the unpolished backcountry trails then OP is worth a trip. It's a really beautiful forest.

But as everyone else has mentioned, go when it's extremely dry or frozen. Even then the trail is lumpy from the horses. But that just adds to the challenge!

mbeaver

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Re: Owen Putnam State Forest MTB Trail
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2018, 12:50:34 PM »
Can someone download the map to MTB Project. Would help people who are not familiar with area and trails

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Allen Edwards

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Re: Owen Putnam State Forest MTB Trail
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2018, 09:21:19 PM »
I just posted the OP map to MTB Project.

We rode the loop yesterday. It was pretty awful! But a lot of fun. They are obviously working on the trail; most of it had been scraped and somewhat cleared by some type of tracked vehicle (driven by someone who has little or no experience with trailbuilding).

It kind of looks like they might be trying to build Hickory Ridge-style horse trails. If they move in that direction that would be a great thing for both horse riders and mountain bikers since this is such a beautiful forest. Hopefully the property manager will find someone with some trailbuilding experience to help out.

 

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