Adventures from Mild to Wild Distinguish Bloomington

By Pamela Coyle on April 28, 2011 at 6:06 pm EST
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PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Young

Bloomington got its name from springtime and that season’s flowers and blossoming trees, but all four seasons get attention here.

Indiana University gives Big Ten sports enthusiasts plenty of action. Men’s basketball tickets are tough to get, but they aren’t the only team in town.

Outdoor recreation is plentiful and as varied as the fall foliage. Griffy Lake is a 1,200-acre nature preserve with a lake, and canoes, rowboats, kayaks that can be rented on site. Private boats are welcome, though the lake is restricted to people-powered vessels or those with electric trolling motors only.

Griffy Lake is run by the city’s department of parks and recreation, with 10 miles of trails that traverse woods, ravines and ridges around the lake.

The city also maintains Clear Creek Trail, a 2.5-mile paved path with landscapes that include woods and farm fields, connects to the Bloomington Rail Trail.

Biking is big here; much of the movie Breaking Away was filmed nearby and National Geographic Adventure cites a 50-mile route through hills around the city as a top U.S. excursion. The Bloomington Bicycle Club and Bloomington Hikers are also very active.

Indiana’s largest lake is about 10 miles southeast of the city. Lake Monroe is 10,000 acres of swimming, boating, fishing and water sports fun. Protected state and federal lands surrounding Lake Monroe include campsites, resorts, trails, picnic grounds, top-flight bird watching and a nature center.

Golfers can have a go at Cascades Golf Course, a 27-hole public course on 200 acres; Eagle Point Resort, with an 18-hole PGA Championship golf course; and Taylors’ Par 3 Golf Course, a great spot for beginners.

In the mood for something edgier? The city opened Upper Cascades Skate Park in 2004. Hoosier Heights Indoor Climbing Facility has walls and rental equipment; Balloon Safaris and Vencel Hot Air Balloons offer bird’s-eye views.

If that’s not enough, IU Outdoor Adventures can set you up to climb real rocks or jump out of real airplanes.

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