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Pedestrian, Bike, and Nature Trails

USI boasts many miles of multi-use trails on its scenic 1,400-acre campus open to the University community and to the public.  Trails are open at dawn and close at dusk.

USI Bent Twig Trails

Springtime water fall

The USI Bent Twig Trails were established by the Westwood Garden Club in 1971. Members of the club and scouts from Boy Scout Troop 371 followed deer paths through the woods, streams and bluffs surrounding northwest side of University property. They found the area to be full of pecan trees, a rich diversity of birds and a natural lake that had been used as a swimming hole for the farm kids who lived close to the property. An old rope hanging from a tree off one of the bluffs attested to the lake's use as more than a place cows drank from. 

The Bent Twig Trails have several geological points of interest including the sandstone lined stream beds, Meditation Rock and Inspiration Point and two small waterfalls. In the spring, Bent Twig is the home of many wildflowers. 

Today, the Geology Department, uses these trails as a starting point for research and field experiences. Physical Education students learn about reading a compass and hiking. Education students look to the woods as inspiration for science teaching. Biology students have done research in the woods and in the lake. Over the years, it's become a place or rest, recreation and scientific study.

Trailheads are located on Bent Twig Lane and end behind the Griffin Center. You can find several letterboxes hidden along the trail. In the search box, just enter Evansville and scroll down to the University. The trails border Reflection Lake, go through the woods and around a small peninsula.

USI Disc Golf Trails

The Disc Golf Trails follow along USI's Screaming Eagles Disc Golf Complex. Currently home to USI's club team, the Men's Ultimate Frisbee team. Most of the year, the 18 hole complex is busy with recreational disc golf players. The upper trail skirts along the woods of the course as it goes downhill into a valley.

In the spring, both upper and lower parts of the trail can be quite muddy. Both sides of the upper disc golf are full of the invasive multiflora rose and autumn olive and are home to many types of pollinating bees.  You'll also find wild black berrries growing along the upper trail. 

As the lower trail enters the woods and moves past the disc golf course it follows along the old National Championship Cross Country Trails. Keep a look out for the cross country/track and field shoe tree. Here local student athletes fling their old tennis shoes over the branches. There is usually a litter of shoes around the base of the tree as laces rot. The trailhead opens up at the Broadway Complex.

Parking is available at both ends of this trail on USI's campus in parking lot F at USI or at the Broadway Complex. 

USI South Tails

The South Trails are another set of former deer trails that have steep inclines and declines. You can enter the trails at many locations. There are four major trail heads along the USI-Burdette Trail. You can also enter the South Trails at the Bent Twig Outdoor Education Center behind Eicher Barn. This tail head is located to the north of the baseball field. 

The trails converge deep in a valley that has two stream beds that converge into a Limestone stream bed When the stream beds are dry in the summer months, they can be hiked upon and if you look carefully, can see many small fossils embedded in hard rock.

The longer, main trails: Oak, Beech and Maple are wide and fairly easy to traverse. Many of the smaller trails are clogged with tree roots and have rugged slopes worn away by erosion.

A set of trails are also on the opposite side of the main south trails which wind behind campus housing and follow along Fountain Lake. Two picnic tables can be found on this trail.

Wild turkey and white tailed deer are often seen in the valley of the South Trials. Spring and summer find many different wild flowers inside the trails. Just outside the trails is a large unmowed pollinator field. Parking is available in the baseball field parking lot or Broadway Complex.

USI-Burdette Trail

The most recent trail is the USI-Burdette Trail, completed in 2012. This three-mile paved trail is the result of a USI/Burdette Park partnership. It is a diverse, interesting, and educational route for hikers, bicyclists, and runners. The scenic trail allows users to witness Southwestern Indiana’s natural beauty while connecting a picturesque park with one of the nation’s most beautiful college campuses. The trail is a key connection to an area of river bottom land, with an additional 37 miles of paved roads currently signed for bicycle use south of Burdette Park. The USI-Burdette Park Trail is a designated destination point of the American Discovery Trail, which passes through Southern Indiana. The trail also has been named a National Recreation Trail by the Secretary of the Interior.

The trail begins at University Boulevard between the Physical Activities Center and the Recreation, Fitness, and Wellness Center, and also is accessible at trailheads to the side of the baseball field, at the Broadway Recreational Complex, and via a paved connecting path from the end of Rochelle Lane.

Campus parking is free and convenient to most of the trail systems. Follow marked restrictions. Parking also is available in Burdette Park by the Discovery Lodge.