The Pumpkinvine Nature Trail is a beautiful trail that runs through Elkhart, Goshen,
Middlebury, and Shipshewana, in northern Indiana. You can bike it, walk it, or just do
parts of the trail, like we did!
The Pumpkinvine Nature Trail is named after the railroad that once went through the
area. Part of the current trail is in the same vicinity of the original track. The rail route was called the
Pumpkinvine because of the many twists and turns between Goshen and Middlebury.
We started the trail in Goshen, after renting a tandem bicycle at a bike shop about
2 miles from the trail head at Abshire Park. We only rode about 5 of the current 17 miles and
then turned around, because it was going to get dark. They have plans to connect more of the
trail to make it a total of 25 miles eventually.
Much of the trail goes through gorgeous countryside. You can see Amish and English
Farms, animals, forested areas, and small towns. The trail is marked well and has maps and
occasional bathrooms/port-a-potties. We saw many other people along the trail. There were mostly
people riding bicycles. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail. The majority of the
people were exercising or just out for a nice ride, like us. Some Amish children rode along on
their way home from school, and several Amish families were using the trail as well. We rode the
trail in August. Everything was green and incredibly gorgeous!
All of the towns that the Pumpkin Vine Nature Trail goes through are great places
to stop. They are all very bicycle friendly too! Many Amish people ride
bikes, so there are usually bike racks and access paths, if you decide to detour in a town and get a bite to eat,
or check out a tourist place. The trail can be picked up anywhere along the way, so it would be easy to do just a
portion at a time.
The portion of the Pumpkinvine trail that we were on was very
easy. There were no major hills or busy streets. Our 7 year old had no
trouble at all. Our 5 year old had a little bit of a hard time keeping up with us at times.
Mainly because his bike is so little, and didn’t have adjustable gears. His kept saying his
little legs were tired! But, he kept going! Between the oncoming darkness and
the little one’s legs getting tired, that’s why we quit when we did. We all agreed that we want
to go back in the fall to see the beautiful trees!