Pros and Cons of The Monon Trail

The Monon Trail is one of Indianapolis’ most well-known multipurpose pedestrian trails. Year round, residents and visitors enjoy the 27 mile paved trail for running, biking, or just taking a stroll. Thinking of moving to Indianapolis and are curious about living near or on the Monon Trail? Then here are a few pros and cons you should know about Indy’s most popular path.

About the Monon Trail

The Monon Trail garners its name from the original train route it follows north from Indianapolis all the way to Sheridan, Indiana. The trail stretches approximately 27 miles, weaving through residential areas, wooded landscape, and even through one of the most popular parts of the Indianapolis Metro, the Arts and Design District in Carmel, Indiana. The trail continues to grow and is projected to be even longer in the future. At almost thirty miles, it is certainly Indianapolis’ longest recreational trail.

The Monon Trail is well maintained, and provides a paved, safe place for pedestrians to travel by foot (or wheel!) Along the trail are various resting spots with benches and sometimes water fountains. The trail is generally kept very clean and is not overgrown or suffering from potholes or cracked pavement. The city of Indianapolis takes great pride in The Monon Trail and this is reflected in the upkeep of this city hotspot.

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Pros of The Mono Trail:


There are many trails and walkways throughout the Indianapolis area. Some are paved, some are painted to create lanes for bikers, and some are just quiet little walking paths. Most of these trails are relatively short, however, with few being longer than a couple miles. Stretching almost thirty miles through the city and some of its suburbs, the Monon Trail is the longest pedestrian path in Indianapolis.

If you are a distance runner, or like to get in a good long bike ride, the Monon Trail is the place to do it. If you start at one end and do an out and back trip, you’ll have gone nearly sixty miles!



The lush, shaded pathway that creates the Monon Trail winds beneath a beautiful canopy of trees. During the hot Indiana summers, this shade provides a much-needed respite to beat the heat. In the fall, the leaves of the deciduous Indiana forests transform into brilliant hues of red, orange, and yellow. There is no doubt that a walk or ride down the Monon Trail will be a pretty one. Parts of the trail are more tranquil and quiet, while others are busy and urban. If you’re down for a longer trip, you can get a glimpse of a little bit of everything.

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The Monon Trail provides not only a beautiful place for runners, walkers, and cyclists to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, but also a safe place. Of course, no one should go running alone in the middle of the night through isolated parts of the trail, but this could be said about nearly any recreational place. 

The Monon Trail travels through safe residential areas, as well as highly trafficked, busier parts of the city. There are a few places along the trail where it travels alongside the road, but most of the trail is far from traffic.  The pedestrian-only nature of the Monon Trail makes it particularly appealing to families. That’s because there is little risk for children to find themselves near fast-traveling cars and other traffic hazards.

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Cons of The Mono Trail:


Perhaps surprisingly, one of the greatest drawbacks of the Monon Trail is its accessibility, or more accurately, its lack thereof. While the Monon Trail is long, there are relatively few places for people to access it. A great deal of the trail travels through residential areas, and you can’t exactly walk through someone’s backyard to hop onto the trail. Because most of Indianapolis does not live right on the trail, this means many have to drive to it. Finding a place to park, and then a place to access the trail can prove tricky, especially at the southern end of the trail, which is almost entirely private, residential areas.

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Though the Monon Trail stretches through quite a few suburbs, it does not branch out east to west at any point in the trail. A couple of trails connect to the Monon Trail, such as The Canal Trail in Broadripple, and The Midland Trace Trail in Noblesville. But for the most part, you can only travel north/south along the Monon Trail. It would be nice if more of the Indianapolis suburbs could be interconnected with the Monon Trail so it could be more easily utilized by Indy residents. But much like the accessibility of the trial, it can be a little misleading as to where you can actually travel if you are on it.

Limited housing along the trail

If you have decided that living right on the Monon Trail is a must for you, get ready for housing options to be limited. There is only so much real estate to be had that touches the Monon Trail, and of that, even less is for sale at any given time. 

Due to the age of the trail, most of the housing built along the trail is relatively old. If you want to live right on the Monon Trail and have a brand-new home, that might not be an option. Homes range from quite old, to a couple of decades old, and there’s a noticeable predominance of early 2000’s homes built on the trail. 

If you like the idea of buying an older home that you can fix up over the years, however, then you might find just what you are looking for.

If you are thinking of moving to Indianapolis and would like to live near the Monon Trail, reach out to me at Compton Realty today. I would love to help you find your perfect home in the Indianapolis Metro Area.