Length: 2 miles (more with side jaunts)
- Spring Mill Inn
- Pioneer Village (pets not permitted)
- Hamer Cave
- Hamer Pioneer Cemetery
- Donaldson Cave
- Wilson Monument
- Several picnic areas and restrooms located along the trail
- Concessions available by the Pioneer Village
Parking lots are available at the Spring Mill Inn, Sycamore Shelter near the Pioneer Village, and close to the Donaldson Shelter. You can hop on the trail at any of these points to make a full loop or simply go out to your favorite highlight and back.
To include all the points of interest listed above, you’ll need to depart from the trail for a few short jaunts to follow Mill Creek up to Hamer Cave and hike the creek bed up to Donaldson Cave. You’ll take Trail 1 for a short distance to get up to Spring Mill Inn, if this is on your itinerary. Trail 4 intersects with the Stagecoach Trail, Trail 7, and Trail 3. If you cross the parking lot by the Sycamore Shelter, you can hop on Trail 2 as well. Keep your map handy so you can navigate these intersections appropriately. Best For: Families and history buffs. This trail covers a little of everything in Spring Mill, so it’s a great pick if you’re only visiting once.
Though the official DNR map calls this a rugged trail, we had no trouble getting a 3-year-old to walk the entire route. We started at the Spring Mill Inn, took Trail 4 north toward the Sycamore Shelter parking lot, and stopped to thoroughly explore the Pioneer Village.
After the Pioneer Village, we went up to Hamer Cave, then followed Trail 4 back toward Hamer Pioneer Cemetery. When we hit the creek just after the Trail 3 intersection, we followed the water up to Donaldson Cave, though we didn’t climb in (this time) since we had the smallest of the boys in tow. After Donaldson Cave, we completed the loop and headed back up to the Inn.
All our side jaunts added some extra distance to the trail. My Fitbit clocked us at somewhere around 4 miles, while Map My Hike called it 6.4 miles. Either way, the route was easy and interesting enough that we won a reluctant 8-year-old over to our side (hiking is fun after all), and kept the littlest going to the end (crackers helped). It took us just under 3 hours to finish the whole trip. This is definitely a trail worth repeating.