Peninsula Trail is one of the better hikes in the Deam Wilderness of the Hoosier National Forest. The trail begins at the Grubb Ridge parking area and follows the John Grubb Ridge out onto a peninsula that juts into Lake Monroe.
According to the Forest Service trail map, the total trail distance from trailhead to the shores of Lake Monroe is 4.8 miles, one way. This makes the round trip a good day-hike candidate.
Because camping is allowed at designated sites along the trail, off-trail locations, and at sites along the shores of Lake Monroe, it is also suitable for short backpacking expeditions. Expect to lose 350 to 400 feet in elevation your way out, and of course that will have to be regained on the trip back.
You can also expect to see horses or their consequences, though the damage I observed on my trips appeared to be rather minimal save in a few spots. The trails passes through a number of pineries, some of which have designated campsites.
My own recommendation for backpackers is to continue to the end of the trail and camp at one of the several sites along Lake Monroe. During a late-October weeknight trip I appeared to have the place to myself, and enjoyed a great sunset, views of the Milky Way, and the sounds of a coyote chorus somewhere in the distance.
Most of the sites along the lake have nice fire rings made of flat stones from the rocky lake shoreline, and the sound of the waves striking and jostling the rocks has a certain tranquilizing effect. The smaller stones are also great for skipping. Enjoy!
Monroe County. From the intersection of IN 46 and IN 446, go south 12.3 miles on IN 446, then turn left on Tower Ridge Road. Proceed 4.3 miles to Grubb Ridge.
North 39 01.982 West 86 20.468
(Grubb Ridge Trailhead)
North 39 02.968 West 86 21.691
(Intersect Grubb Ridge Loop)
North 39 04.413 West 86 22.570
(Trail's end, Lake Monroe)
Nearby Natural Areas
Bloom: Hiking Indiana; Page 194
Habeck: Wild Indiana; Page 108
McPherson: Indiana Best Hikes; Page 343
McPherson: Nature Walks in Southern Indiana; Page 342