When you think of Indiana, you probably think of corn and cows, not hiking. You are mainly right, many Hoosiers are involved in farming, with livestock, corn and soybeans near most urban areas. But hidden within all the agriculture is a real gem. You could drive by, and not realize what’s actually within Turkey Run State Park. It’s located in western Indiana near Bloomingdale, and I have spent numerous weekends there hiking the trails, enjoying the scenery, and enjoying friends and family.
The park itself is humongous, with 11 separate hiking trails to go on, canoeing, fishing, tennis courts and a swimming pool. Typically my family would go there on a Sunday afternoon, stay until the sun started to set and then head home. I would say that 90% of that time I would pass out on the way home from exhaustion after an action packed day. The entire park is wonderful, but I’ll stick to hiking and detail some of the trails that the park offers.
We aren’t going to consider trail number 11 a trail; it’s more of a hike from the parking lot to the
huge wooden bridge that extends over Sugar Creek. The other side of that bridge is where many of the trails (and the fun) all start. As a kid I always loved that huge wooden bridge. It’s wide enough to have a line of people going each way, and it’s thin enough that if you jump up and down, and shake it side to side like crazy, you can scare the heck out of your parents and make them yell at you. Pictured below is that bridge, although it’s really not a great shot to show how historical and grand looking the bridge looks from the ground.
So that leaves us with 10 total trails. I’m not writing a novel, so I will probably just touch on trails numbered 3, 9, and 10 which are my favorites. I’ll start with the best trail, which is trail 3. If you are a fan of rugged and hard hiking, this one is for you. It’s slippery, muddy, about 1.7 miles long, uphill, downhill, and it’s quite the hike. Number 3 is laid out in a way that makes you repeatedly cross and walk through a small shallow stream. If you are on this trail you basically stay on one side of the water until you run out of ground to walk on, and then you cross over to the other side and repeat the process. My favorite part about this trail is that there really is no set way to traverse it. You kind of make your own path. Should I cross the stream now over this log, or should I try and hop across 30 yards ahead. It’s just an interesting trail that’s sort of like “a choose your own adventure” book. At one point during the trail you have to climb up a ladder, cross over on another ladder, and then climb back down a ladder on the other side (sort of in the shape of an “n” if you can’t imagine it). This trail is not for the faint of heart, but rather for those who enjoy a great challenge.
Trail 9 starts out as an average hiking trail, but the end is where the real treat is. It’s a little less than a full mile, and it’s fairly rugged. Most of the trail has you in between two large walls of rock, where you would think a creek or would exist. However, this trail actually keeps you dry, and you mostly have to navigate rocks and logs. For most of the trail you walk with a hand on the rocks to keep your balance, but at the end the trail opens up and turns into what is called “boulder canyon.” At this point the trail is basically rock, and you have to take your time and be careful to choose the right rocks to step on. I love this trail because of the change of pace that it throws at you midway through.
The last trail that I will talk about in detail is trail 10. This is a great starter trail, because at its midpoint it brings you up to the top of “Camel’s Back,” which is basically an overlook to the entire park. As a child I remember collecting rocks and seeing if I could throw them from this vantage point all the way down to Sugar Creek. Looking back, I probably could have killed people who were canoeing, so that probably wasn’t the best idea in the world. This trail is a mile and a half long, but besides a lot of stairs, it’s a pretty straight forward hike.
This covers only three of the trails at Turkey Run State Park. All of the trails are really well kept, and clean. I highly recommend this park in western Indiana to anyone near the area who loves hiking. It’s a well kept secret of Indiana, shrouded by corn and cattle. The park is $7.00 to get into and considering all the park holds, that’s quite the bargain. I hope that you consider Turkey Run the next time you visit the state of Indiana!
Author: Mark Clements of www.rainponchosonline.com