Bicycling Magazine South Bend, IN: Potato Creek State Park 

A fast and flowing singletrack through rock gardens, open fields and dense forest, this 7-mile loop in Potato Creek State Park is a rave-worthy fat-tire ride for both beginners and advanced riders.

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Author: Bicycling Magazine
Date: 26 Sep 2008 10:59:51 PM
Activity: Mountain Biking
State: Indiana (IN)
Distance: 7 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 855 ft
Total Loss: 853 ft
Net Change: 2 ft
Difficulty: 5 / 10
Tags: Indiana, North Liberty, South Bend
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

This counter-clockwise loop begins at the beach area on the north side of Worster Lake and climbs north for a gentle warm-up toward a 6.6-mile loop. This fast, flowing singletrack is great for beginners, but a few technical challenges—a rock bridge at mile 0.25 and a “baby head boulder” rock garden—might have true beginners occasionally walking. The trail flows through woods, past a few open fields (watch for deer!), under a wind-snapped tree (watch your head!) and down a steep, 10-foot armored drop before the trail’s only doubletrack section and a 100 foot gravel bridge.

The loop’s northernmost portion is an easy dirt track that whoop-di-doos through mature maple, oak, and hickory, and then skirts another field before turning south toward the campground and another trail drop-in. A gently sloping half-mile downhill leads back to the beginning of the loop where you can opt-in for another round, or roll slap-happy back to the parking lot.

-Mapped by Potato Creek State Park

TO TRAILHEAD: Drive 5-miles south of downtown South Bend on US-31 and turn right onto IN-4. Follow IN-4 4.7 miles before turning right into Potato Creek State Park. The road changes names several times as it winds 0.8 miles to a Y-junction on the north side of Worster Lake. Veer right at the Y-junction and continue 0.4 miles to the beach area parking lot.

Position Format: Datum:

Potato Creek

Distance: 7.00 mi Points: 4122
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi

Points of Interest


Location: 41.552438, -86.362345
The trail heads north from the Bathhouse parking lot and crosses the park road before beginning a counterclockwise loop.


Location: 41.554148, -86.361787
Turn right at the junction to begin the 6.6-mile loop. If you're pumped after round one (or two, or three) jump back on the loop for another spin on the trail.

Rock Bridge

Location: 41.554558, -86.360242
This rocky bridge a quarter-mile from the trailhead is the first technical feature.


Location: 41.558283, -86.355897
Continue straight at the 4-way junction, bypassing the connector hiking trail. Yield to hikers crossing the path.

Forest Trail

Location: 41.558981, -86.356680
The trail passes through open sections scattered in along the heavily wooded trail. © <a href="">NIMBA</a>

Rock Garden

Location: 41.559913, -86.357303
"Baby-head" boulders are embedded along this 15-foot section of technical trail. © <a href="">NIMBA</a>


Location: 41.561855, -86.356552
This wind-snapped tree is a natural addition to NIMBA-made trail features. © <a href="">NIMBA</a>


Location: 41.560378, -86.351917
This smooth, 10-foot drop is perhaps the trail's finest (and most fun) downhill.

Potato Creek

Location: 41.561534, -86.352432
An advanced rider speeds along the Potato Creek singletrack. © <a href="">Potato Creek State Park</a>

Little Hills

Location: 41.561470, -86.359985
Flowing ups and downs make this an easy beginner trail, but also fast and furious circuit for seasoned riders. © <a href="">Potato Creek State Park</a>

Alternative Access

Location: 41.559046, -86.361358
This post marks the alternative access point near the campground-area well house. The campground area also has a modern restroom.© <a href="">NIMBA</a>


Location: 41.559768, -86.362002
At mile 5.4, the trail begins a sweeping 0.5 mile downhill back toward the trailhead.

Close Trails

Location: 41.556621, -86.357667
Though the trail nearly touches in some places and comes close to campgrounds and hiking trails in others, it is lined with wild rose bushes placed to block trail views of other outdoor enthusiasts.


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