Spring Mill State Park
Discover Spring Mill State Park in Indiana
Spring Mill state park is located outside of tiny Mitchell, Indiana in the southern part of the state. It was established in 1927 and includes a nature preserve that is home to a variety of wildlife from the endangered blind cave fish, turkey, and blue herrons to whitetail deer, coyotes, and more. It's also where you can find trees as old as three hundred years. The area of Spring Mill covers 1,358 acres of land. Vistors can enjoy boating, camping, hiking, and bicycling as well as a trip back in time at the Pioneer Village.
Learn more about this park, it's trails and sights, right here on this page. You can even take a tour via a few of my photographs of the area.
Visitors to Spring Mill can choose to visit for an afternoon or for a period of days. There's a rustic Inn and full service restaurant on site. An olympic size swimming pool, campgrounds, and nature center are also available.
Aside from some hiking, Spring Mill also features:
- a historic pioneer village,
- some small lakes where visitors can boat,
- a handful of caves,
- a small museum dedicated to a local native, one of the original NASA astronauts, Virgil "Gus" Grissom.
The park hosts a number of educational and entertainment events throughout the year. Fall provides a number of popular activities in particular which center around the Pioneer village. Hayrides, star gazing, grist mill demonstrations, and other activities are common occurrences.
The Trails at Spring Mill
Spring Mill offers approximately 9 miles of hiking trails and a two mile mountain bike trail for visitors. (Bike rentals are offered.) I would consider most of the trails to offer moderate to easy hiking.
Trail 5 is pictured here. It's an easy to moderate 1 mile hike around a small lake and borders the nature center. It hooks up to trail 2 which is a fairly easy half mile hike that takes you westward to the Pioneer Village.
Trail 1 is mostly a connecting trail. It provides hikers going to or from the Spring Mill Inn, access to trail 4 going to the Pioneer Village or the ability to hike eastward to the lake. It's only .375 miles long but requires a fairly steep ascent/descent going to and from the Inn.
The easiest hiking in the park is Trail 6 which is a flat, paved trail which takes you through a wooded area alongside the Virgil Grissom Museum, near the park entrance.
Trail 4 is probably one of the most traversed trails in the park and is 2 miles long. It's a loop trail which runs mostly east/west. The Spring Mill Inn lies at the eastern edge of the trail while the Pioneer Village and Grist Mill lie at the northwest end. Hamer Cave lies just a short walk south of this at the west end of the trail while the Hamer Pioneer Cemetery lies along the southern leg east of there.
Hikers can walk along the millrace at this west end, with the rushing water providing a cool spot to enjoy in the summer months. The Hamer cave opening can be viewed but not explored. Donaldson Cave lies near the southeast end of the trail.The hiking is fairly moderate with good footing and only a few major ascents and descents.
Trail 3 is the longest trail at Spring Mill. It's also a loop trail and runs 2.5 miles from the south end of the Inn, southward to the park boundary. It passes through the nature preserve and gives hikers a view of the Twin Caves, Bronson Cave, and Donaldson Cave.
Brief tours of one of the Twin Caves are available by boat. It's opening is pictured here. The tour itself only lasts about 20 minutes but gives you the chance to see some interesting cave formations and is generally worth the $3/Adult admission fee.
Hikers can find a trail map for Spring Mills state park here.
The Pioneer Village
The Pioneer Village lies toward the northwest end of Spring Mill state park. It includes a number of structures for visitors to explore. The focal point of the village is the Grist Mill which operated during the 1800's. The mill is still operated for demonstration purposes each day and visitors can purchase products produce at the mill.
Other structures include a variety of log cabins, an apothecary, blacksmith shop, mercantile, carpenter shop, a tavern, and several other buildings. Interpreters are often present to provide historical accounts and special events which involve the entire family are hosted periodically.
You can find information about the calendar of events at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources site for Spring Mill.