One option for a long ride at Versailles State Park”
— Nate Hawkins
Dogs must be kept on leash.
This Ride offers a little bit of everything from buff, flowy singletrack to rocks and roots and technical obstacles.
Starting at the pool parking lot, begin riding Shadow Run clockwise and then connect to Cliffside
heading counter-clockwise. Connect to Center Loop
, and follow it counter-clockwise to Grandview Loop
. Follow it counter-clockwise, and do the same when you intersect with Creekside
and Turtle Loop
. When you return to Shadow Run loop, change it up and ride that one clockwise.
This route maximizes the fun downhills. You would want to ride this the opposite direction to maximize difficult hill climbs, and change the direction you ride Center Loop
to maximize distance.
All of these trails allow two-way traffic so always be on the lookout for riders going the other way.
Need to Know
Be sure to enjoy the pool in the summertime after a hot ride. The camp store is also nearby if you need an emergency snack. The town of Versailles is near the park, but it's pretty small. It offers the basic necessities but comes up short with regards to a variety of options, especially lodging.
For more lodging, head about 20 min north to Batesville along I-74.
For an extra treat, come in July and stop in Oldenburg, IN for the annual Feudenfest (German for "festival of fun"). Lots of beer, singing, and fun events for the family.
Most of this ride is high on the bluffs in the park, with great views of the valley below and access to cool breezes in the summertime. You'll want to make short work of the deep valley trails where it gets very humid and buggy...and rather uncomfortable for a rest break.
The short section of Shadow Run Loop
at the beginning of the trail is mostly uphill. Once you get on Cliffside
, you'll begin to encounter technical spots on the trail, mostly due to the limestone that is so common here. After a short spell with views and exposure, Cliffside
takes you into the forest, where the trail becomes flowy and more buff. You'll spend a short time on Center Loop
, and this section continues this character. The beginning of Grandview Loop
is also buff and flowy, but it is also interspersed with technical features and more rocks. Enjoy the fast downhill off the bluff, because it will be the last breeze you'll feel for awhile as you enter the bottoms of Henderson Bend.
You'll slowly make your way out of the bottoms of Henderson Bend and the last bit of still, humid air will be along the last service road climb that is in a steep-walled valley. Once you exit the service road climb, you'll return to open forest with access to the breeze again.
You'll soon descend into Creekside
, which has short ups and downs punctuated by a lot of rocks. Big, soft tires and a little bit of suspension tame this area pretty well. You may want to leave the race tires at home unless you're actually here to race. Stay on the lookout for optional technical lines that offer sessionability to this trail.
, you'll find yourself entering Turtle Loop
which offers a bit of a respite before the full climb on Shadow Run. Get this climb and its switchbacks out of the way early and you can end your ride with a long, fast downhill. Before you get there, though, you'll pass through the buff trails along the top of the bluff on Shadow Run. Watch for sinkholes, evidence of the area's karst geology. Some of them are right along the trail. Enjoy the fast downhill, and finish your ride with a dip in the pool, and the waterslide.
History & Background
Versailles State Park is Indiana's second largest state park. History in this area is rich and varied. During the Civil War, Morgan's Raiders passed through the area, and the town of Versailles was briefly held by the Confederate army.
The National Park Service acquired the land in the 1930's, hired the Civilian Conservation Corps to develop the land into a Recreation Demonstration Area, and gave the land to Indiana's Department of Conservation in 1943.