The depot and gift shop will be open this Saturday from 9:00 am to 12 noon CST (Chicago time).

Trails & Recreation

The most popular attraction at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum is a ride aboard one of our open-air cars. These cars offer passengers the unique opportunity to take in the sights, smells, and sounds of the world around them as our trains pass through the rural landscape surrounding North Judson.

If you love being outside, there's so much more to see and do around North Judson. We have trails, parks, and preserved wetlands that are primed for watching wildlife. We encourage you to visit the wonderful places listed below.

North Judson Erie Trail

The North Judson Erie Trail is a multi-use path established in partnership with the Prairie Trails Club on the railbanked right-of-way of the former JK Line Railroad. The route extends 11 miles between North Judson and Starke County Road 700 East near Bass Lake. Another disconnected section known as the Monterey Erie Trail is located in town of Monterey along the same railbanked right-of-way.

Plans call for the eventual connection of these two trails. Once complete, the Erie Trail will comprise a 16 mile long corridor of horse, biking and walking paths - becoming an integral part of landscape in Starke and Pulaski Counties. The Erie Trail is part of the American Discovery Trail - a network of trails crisscrossing 15 states between California and Delaware. The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum is an important trailhead along the northern tier.

The area along the Erie Trail consists of mostly bucolic landscapes of the Kankakee sand country, oak groves, little sand prairies and pocket prairie marshes. The trail gives you an especially good view of the surrounding landscape since most of the trail isn't near major roadways, lots of power lines, or residential development.

The serenity of the Erie Trail is highlighted by the diverse wildlife that lives along the path. Animals can be seen from the trail including deer, turkeys, waterfowl and songbirds. A diverse assortment of wildflowers, grasses and trees also grace the trail. When visiting the Erie Trail, please stick to the path and be respectful of the wildlife and our neighbors.

North Judson Parks

North Judson has two nearby parks located in town: Norwayne Field and Town Park. The two main parks in town make up an area just over 18 acres. Both parks serve the community with different recreational opportunities. Norwayne Field hosts many of North Judson's public events, concerts, and other entertainment in the downtown area. There is also a splash pad at Norwayne Field. Town Park is reserved for sporting events and has a playground. There is a dog park in the northeast portion of the park.

Kankakee River National Water Trail

The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum passes over the Kankakee River with many of its train excursions. It is the highlight of the trip for many passengers. The railroad crosses the river at English Lake using an open-deck steel girder bridge that is just over 500 feet long.

The bridge over the Kankakee River is situated near a public access site managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. This site is at the confluence of the Kankakee and Yellow Rivers. The Kankakee River National Water Trail provides 133 miles of water recreation with paddling and fishing.

Kankakee Fish & Wildlife Area

The Kankakee Fish & Wildlife Area consists of more than 4,000 acres of land, open water, marshes, riparian timber, periodically flooded crop field, and 11 miles of river. The entire area is managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and is a small remnant of the vast Grand Kankakee Marsh. The area is perfect for wildlife watching and birding as well as fishing, hunting, and trapping. 

Our excursion trains pass very near the Kankakee Fish & Wildlife Area, which is situated just east of English Lake. Be on the look out for deer, wild turkey, ducks, geese, hawks, and bald eagles. Wildlife watching from the train can be fun!