Turkey Run State Park
Camp Method is your go to resource for weekend adventures around the Great Lakes States. This late Winter getaway took us to Turkey Run State Park in Indiana for a most amazing hiking adventure. I have heard great things about Turkey Run and this visit exceeded expectations.
By Jim Donovan
It was cold, windy, rainy, and muddy. It was awesome. Our early March visit also provided us with plenty of ice formations and the melting ice and rain resulted in rushing streams and flowing waterfalls.
Turkey Run State park is located in West-Central Indiana near the town of Marshall. It is approximately 70 miles west of Indianapolis and 150 miles South of Chicago. The land was purchased in 1916 and became Indiana’s second state park as part of Hoosier State’s centennial celebration.
The history behind the park’s interesting name is uncertain but a display in the Visitors Center indicates that it probably lends itself to the flocks of wild turkeys native to the area that would gather at the bottom of the gorges or “runs” because it was warmer there. The Nature Center is a great place to start your adventure to learn about the animals native to the area and to check the trail conditions and planning your trek.
“The first parcel of Turkey Run State Parks 2,382 acres was purchased in 1916 during Indiana’s Centennial and was the state’s second state park”
The Sugar Creek winds its way through the land and the tributaries feeding into this river have carved the amazing sandstone gorges which you will experience on your hike. Just outside the state park you will find several liveries renting kayaks, canoes and inner tubes.
But Turkey Run is best known for hiking and the glacial formations provide the setting for what just might be the best hiking in the Midwest. I recommend Turkey Run for experienced hikers or beginners who are in good athletic shape. While there are a few easy trails at Turkey Run, most of the trails are rated from Moderate to Very Rugged. Early in our hike we veered off along a cascading trail and learned that their trail ratings mean business.
To learn more about Turkey Run State Park visit the Indiana DNR website.
Three unique features that you will love about Turkey Run
Suspension Bridge – This historic suspension bridge serves as a unique gateway to the hiking trails transporting you across the Sugar Creek to your amazing hiking adventure
Ladders – I hate to be a spoiler, because I wasn’t expecting these ladders on Trail Three but they sure are a fun way to see the waterfalls and cliffs up close and personal. The ladders definitely contribute to the high adventure nature of these trails but are not appropriate for children or hikers with dogs.
Stairways – The trails are well maintained and the stairways are no exception. Here is a picture of my favorite set of stairs appropriately named 140 Stairs.
Other notable features of the state park include the Lieber Cabin which dates back to 1848 and the Lusk Home and Mill Site, both of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
And for my fellow Geocachers, GC93 known as The Turkey Run Stash is the oldest unarchived cache in the state of Indiana which was hidden on 11/25/00.
What To Know Before You Go
Nature Center – Start your adventure with a visit to the Nature Center to check the trail conditions and water levels.
Trail Map – Do not attempt hiking these trails without a map. Rugged conditions and the hazard of flash flooding can easily force you to alter from your intended route.
Camp Ground -Turkey Run State Park offers 213 camping sites for tents and RV’s along with two rustic group sites. There are several privately owned campgrounds in the area too.
Not a camper? The Turkey Run Inn is located right on the State Park and features hotel and cabin accommodations.
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