Southern Vigo County is home to a phenomenal trail system. But you may be surprised to know this trail system isn’t for walking or hiking, it’s for biking. The Griffin Bike Park has attracted biking enthusiasts, professionals and novices from all over the world. The Park hosts several series and races each year and is recognized by famous athletes, including world-class mountain biker Jeff Lenosky.
Lenosky explored Griffin’s trail system in 2019 and instantly fell for the park’s community and mission. Inspired by the geography, Lenosky has spent the last year creating a new trail.
“I’ve done a lot of trail designs for different competitions,” Lenosky explained, “But to be able to build something that is permanent, something that will make an impact, it’s just really cool.”
Lenosky worked carefully with the Griffin family and the park community to design the Black Diamond level, AWOL Trail. The mile-and-a-half trail is made of 10 features, three of which are signature to Lenosky. Features range from Intermediate to Expert and the ramps, bridges and drop offs will leave riders breathless.
“The terrain is unique,” stated Lenosky, “Wherever you ride, it’s like a giant roller coaster.”
Shepherds of Griffin, a 501C3 foundation born of the park, is currently working on fundraising efforts and grant opportunities. Friends of Griffin, a second foundation focused on park maintenance, has since broke ground on phase 1 of the expansion plan. Park officials hope to revitalize and bring lighting to the pump track and host ribbon cuttings for new tracks every six months.
“We’re just blown away. It’s a God thing,” stated Owner Gene Griffin.
The Griffins, a family of avid trail riders, created the park in honor of their son Dale, a US Army Sergeant who gave his life in Afghanistan in 2009 during Operation Enduring Freedom. Since its opening in 2016, the park has become an international phenomenon of hope, gratitude, service and adventure.
Griffin Bike Park hosts athletes from all over Indiana and even the world. It’s hard to ride through the trails without thinking of the sacrifices our servicemen and women give every day.
“At Griffin Bike Park, every day is Memorial Day,” Griffin said.
A popular trail, the Warrior Trail, offers riders a unique trail experience. Indiana is one of eight states in the U.S. with an American with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible trail. Griffin Bike Park is the only park in Indiana open to riders of all abilities. Both sides of the ADA compliant trail are adorned with the names and photos of those brave service members, ending with a memorial for Sgt. Griffin.
“This Park is not for the money. It’s not for the gain or recognition,” explained Griffin, “It’s for the men and women who have given everything.”