We all need to get outside a little more these days, even during the winter months. Fortunately, there are several paths and trails around The Bend where you can bundle up and go for a walk. These are five of our favorites.
University of Notre Dame
The undisputed champion of places to get your steps in, even when it's cold outside. Notre Dame is home to unrivaled scenery and dozens of iconic landmarks — the Golden Dome, Touchdown Jesus and the Grotto are just a few Instagram-worthy stops. Plus the paths are routinely shoveled and plowed clean even after heavy snows.
At just over five miles, the Mishawaka Riverwalk loop is a local favorite. It slips past Battell, Beutter and Central parks with the St. Joseph River as the focal point. Great views and several bridges make for scenic walks.
Pinhook Park/Darden Road Bridge
You can cover a lot of ground on South Bend's Riverside Trail, but here is a specific trek with a payoff at the end. Begin at Pinhook Park and head north. After just over a mile, you'll end up at the Darden Road Bridge, which offers a panoramic view (like the one shown below) of the St. Joseph River. The bridge itself dates to the 1880s and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
There are a whole lot of paths around Howard Park, with the ice trail at its center. You can walk southwest on the East Bank Trail, ending up near the South Bend Farmers Market and Ironhand Winery. Head north and across the river to downtown South Bend with its restaurants and attractions.
Shiojiri Niwa Japanese Garden
This underrated Mishawaka park is best known for its beautiful spring blooms. But its tranquility transcends seasons. Four small bridges dot the park and the largest, painted in bright red, offers a nice contrast to the whites and grays of winter.