Route: Knobstone Trail (IN)

Indiana, US
50 mi
Vertical Gain
9,500 ft

"The Knobstone Trail is Indiana’s longest natural surface foot path.  It is a popular backcountry trail that runs along high ridges which offer great views across the wooded hills of southern Indiana, and on clear days, even glimpses of Louisville and the Ohio River. The Indiana DNR manages and maintains the trail, with occasional assistance from a variety of volunteer groups, including the HHC."

This trail is relentlessly hilly, accumulating close to 200' of gain and loss per mile. The FKT route follows a "backward S" shape on the figure-8 at the north end, to reach a full 50 miles by the mile markers on the trail. Most attempts have followed Russ Goodman's northbound lead, but the FKT can go either direction. The DNR shares information about trail closures and reroutes here:

Russ Goodman posted (5/29/2013) briefly about some possible FKTs: "There is a small group of us Indiana trail runners that still meet every April to run the KT. It used to be a 50 mile "run," but the last few years we've been too busy drinking beer to run that far. There was tornado damage from last year and numerous re-routes due to logging over the years. We would always start at the south end and run north to finish at a cabin in Delaney Park. To get 50 miles you need to do a backward S on the Spurgeon and Delaney loops. As far as I know, I have the fastest known time at 9:30. That was 2004 or 2005. I also did a solo double crossing for a 100+ miles in 2009 in 27:59."

GPS Track


Is there currently a listed official FKT on konbstone? 

Sam, good question. I asked Peter Bakwin for clarification, and here's what he said: "Technically the comment doesn’t really constitute a valid FKT. If it was me, I would certainly want to beat the stated time. But, if he submits a slower one we can add it as the verified FKT." To be clear, Russ Goodwin commented in the old proboards forum about his 9h30m time on a 50-mile route he describes there, in 2004 or 2005 (plus a solo out-and-back he did). So we would add any new FKT submitted with verification, while encouraging supported males to aim for under the 9:30 mark. All other categories appear wide open at present.  -Nathan Broom, volunteer Midwest regional editor

Should an FKT attempt follow the "backwards S" 50 mileroute as described by Russ Goodwin? It seems to me the logical FKT northern terminous should be the Delaney Park trailhead but since there are a figure 8 of trails that are officially recognized as the Knobstone Trail in that area, could an FKT attempt simply choose the best route between Deam Lake and Delaney along the Knobstone? It appears the backwards s he described was an attempt to reach 50 miles but doesn't exactly make sense in the spirit of the FKT. (For the record, the mapped route shown on this page shows the direct route between Deam and Delaney)

Mark, fair question. There's some leeway on this one, with good points going both ways. Tradition matters in FKTs, which is an argument for Russ's 50-mile backwards S... as is the appeal of a 50-mile route (and a 100-mile out-and-back). However, that 2004/5 run wasn't apparently intended as an FKT. Technically, the first FKT has yet to be posted on the Knobstone, which leaves some discretion for whoever submits the first one. The FKT site allows for multiple route variations, though I can't imagine the site founders would approve 48-mile and 50-mile variations.

Going for the FKT this weekend. I'll be doing the "backward S" variation at the north end of the trail. I'll shoot for the 9:30 mark, but I'll be glad to just get a verified FKT on the board for this trail. Looking forward to sharing results!

Congrats Peter on the FKT! 

Going for the FKT tomorrow, will follow route laid out in Ethans post, will update how it goes in a day or two. 

I'm planning to take my own shot at this one tomorrow, supported.

I had a happy day on the trail chasing Peter's strong mark, and I came up about an hour short (or long). Grateful for the excellent support I had, and the creation and maintenance of this trail. We got to cheer in another 50 miler finisher at Delaney--Alex found this route on this site, and made it his first 50 miler.

I plan to run this tomorrow unsupported.  

Trails were dry and the creeks were wet.  It was a great day for an unsupported run.   I had 20 Huma gels, hammer bar and a PB&J for calories.  I also started off with Perpetuem in each soft flask.  For water I used a 3L Beefree bladder with filter cap to refill my 2 soft flasks with creek water. Family was at the finish, great times!

Awesome run, Mark! 

Checking this out tomorrow! Spur of the moment, but I’ll post an update if I finish. Cheers!

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Next weekend my wife, daughter, and I are camping at Deam Lake. I will complete the run through unsupported on Friday - I’m excited to see the full trail and hope to put a good one together.

Awesome to hear Sean, it's such a great trail!!!   


I also ran the Indiana 100 and you crushed it! 


Have fun and keep going! 

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Thanks Mark - I appreciate the kind words! I saw that you dipped under the 24-hour mark at IT 100, so congrats on that accomplishment. I know this trail has some serious elevation gain and I'm excited for the challenge. Thanks again for the support and best wishes!

I wanted to share a quick update on my unsupported attempt. I stopped at 38 miles (Oxley Trailhead), so unfortunately, I didn't get through the whole trail. I was on pace to run just under 9 hours most of the day, which is good and all.

Here' a BIG learning on my end that will help me get through this trail next time. I carried all of my liquid and nutrients on me (Tailwind). I had a 3.0-liter Camelback, two hand helds (20 oz), and two more 20 oz. tucked in Nathan's running waste belt. This was a total oof 180 oz or about 11+ lbs. I underestimated the impact that carrying that extra weight would have on my performance. Having that weight on the climbs and decent was a bit too much and it became obvious to me at the very beginning.

Moving forward, I need to begin dabbling in filtering water on the run. I have not explored this option yet - I've been putting it off, but this run encouraged me to do so. I'll definitely be back another day, but will most likely be doing some combo of carrying my liquids and nutrients, plus filtering some water and mixing with Tailwind to cut down on the total carrying weight. Great day and area of Indiana - My family and I really enjoy staying at Deam lake in their campground cabins!…


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I am planning on making my first unsupported effort for an out & back this coming weekend. My plan was to take off early on Sunday morning (3/5), but with these long storms, I may delay until Monday morning for the trails to dry some and make the creek crossings a bit more manageable to keep the feet dry.


I'll be using a Salmon XT 15 as my pack with two flasks to drink and a sawyer mini filter. I've got about 9,000cal packed for my fuel. Pack is weighing in at 12.8lbs. I plan on tracking with my Coros Pace 2 as well as my Gaia gps app + Zoleo PLB.


Here we go!

Greetings friends,

I'll be running this trail this Saturday March 11th.  I'll probably start at about 6ish.  Goal is to lower my unsupported time.

Water filtering I'll use:

1L Befree filter 

Sawyer micro squeeze

I also plan to start fully loaded with water:

80oz in bladder

34oz between my 2 soft flasks.  

Ideally the water will slow me down at the beginning because last time I blew up at the end and walked a bunch.  This amount of water should hopefully get me to the Elk Creek area.  


5 packets of Hammer Perpetuem

5 packets of Mauraten 160

12 Vfuel gels

2 Mauraten Chocolate bars

2 Mauraten gels with 100g caffeine


Anyone know how the creeks are looking?  Are those 2 alternate routes still in place?   I believe they were both just south of Elk Creek last time I was out there.  I'll make sure to post a follow up on Sunday to answer these same questions.  

Time for some purifying pain!


Made it!  I'll submit my stuff tomorrow.  


Be advised there are 30+ downed tree's throughout and the last 5 miles were a mess with trees as well.   I discovered I'm not in good tree climbing shape :)  I saw a DNR worker and he said they had gusts of wind up to 70mph a couple weeks ago.  

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There is a new detour at Deam Lake, the sign said okay on weekends so I followed the KT this weekend but have followed the alt route before and generally horse trail/gravel. 

Oh my... it got into the 80's and you stuck with it....proud of you Lauren!!!  Unbelievable performance!  That's one hell of a trail.  


Thanks for the update about the detour at Deam.

Thank you!! It was toasty for sure, mid day the sun came out from an overcast morning and I ended up drinking nearly 3 gallons of water overall, glad I had a filter figured out! A crazy trail, a run I’m very proud of, the trail is a feat for sure!

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Third time is the charm! This past weekend I began a solo self-supported effort from Deam Lake for an O&B and finally tasted success!


I fast packed it with about 18# to start for all my gear, food, and water. Heavy rain storms rolled in Friday night, so I stopped at Elk Creek kind of early and hunkered down for 11hrs until they blew over. More rain all through Saturday on and off and lots through the night with chilly temps! Finished on a beautiful day Sunday.

Ran this unsupported yesterday 12/1/2023. Unfortunately, in my brain fog, I made a wrong turn in the dark at Delaney with 3 miles to go. I still went the same distance and finished in 10:35. So that's about what I think I would've finished the actual route in had I gone the correct way. Doesn't count though. Disappointed, but I got everything I wanted out of the experience except my name on the website

Just wanted to correct my previous post after gaining the insight from running the correct route 12/21. The three miles I ran at the end on 12/2 were significantly easier and faster than the true route. I would not have finished in 10:35 on 12/2. I think my time 12/2 would’ve been slower and more comparable to what Nathan and I ran 12/21.

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Hello all, I will attempting my first ever FKT on the Knobstone Trail on Monday, February 26th. Going to start at Deam Lake and head north. Will be carrying 4 Salomon soft flasks, 2 with tailwind, 2 with water in my Salomon vest, I'll carry a bunch of different real food and my Sawyer filter and water bag to restock on water as I need, along with more powdered tailwind in plastic bags to mix as needed. Going to start around 8 or 9 am and I'll be getting dropped off and picked up by mom who will be staying in Louisville with my dogs waiting for me to finish but I'm going completely unsupported and carrying everything I need the whole way with no help. I will be going for around 10 hours exactly for a hopefully new unsupported FKT. I'll be live tracking on my Wahoo ELEMNT Rival watch and cross posting to Strava as well, @CaseyRote on Strava. I'll bring my old Amazfit watch in my pack to get backup GPS data as well. I'll be using Peter and Nathan's Strava route which I imported onto my watch to navigate! I'm originally from northern Indiana(around Fort Wayne) but I've lived in Michigan for 5 years now and have fell in love with trail running! Never been on the Knobstone but have hiked a lot in southern Indiana! Did a Winter 50 mile race called the Yankee Springs challenge here in Michigan and had a good day there in January and been putting in big training weeks! I have a 24 hour race coming up in May where I want to get over 100 miles so I'm using this adventure as my big tune up "race." Anyway, the weather is supposed to be absolutely beautiful out there with the low being low 50s and high being 68! I feel it's my duty as a Hoosier for this to be first foray into FKT attempts though, I'm going to give it my absolute best shot for sure! Should be an epic day out there, stay tuned! 🤙🤠

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Going for the Unsupported Deam to Delaney Backwards S, also known as the Knobstone, on 4/20


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Since Lauren's female time is unsupported, does that still leave it open for a supported and self supported time - or does she, by default, hold those places as well?