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Turkey Run State Park

Updated on August 19, 2014

Exploring Turkey Run State Park in Indiana

I grew up in Indiana. My parents frequently took us to state park areas for the day and I grew to love the experience of hiking in the woods with the sights, sounds, and smells of nature replenishing my soul. Our excursions weren't limited to state parks but certainly, they were the most convenient and frequent trips we made.

Luckily there are a number of state parks to explore. Turkey Run is one of the oldest parks in Indiana and is still fairly popular. I was there recently, taking an afternoon off to enjoy the beauty that May brings before the heat and humidity of summer settles in for a long stay.

I took a few photographs which I'll share on this page, in fact I put a few spring wildflower photos into a short slide show for you to enjoy as well. Wherever you are, I hope this will motivate you to get out and enjoy something just as real and alive.

Getting to Know Turkey Run

A pparently, the land that originally made up Turkey Run was purchased around 1916 by the state, with the help of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Interesting pairing, huh? Anyway, the park is bisected by Sugar Creek. Many of the smaller tributaries to the creek run down from the surrounding hillsides to the stream, and, in their course, have gouged deep gulleys in the sandstone. These small canyons are home to a profusion of moss and fern amid the layered stone.

Above, however, are the wooded hillsides, some of them offering a nice lookout to the other side of Sugar Creek. There are picnic areas, a swimming pool, a saddle barn, nature center, cabins, a few hiking trails, and the Turkey Run Inn on the south side of the creek. However, many of the trails lie to the north. The Suspension Bridge (pictured here) is the only way for those on foot to cross the creek.

My Favorite Hike

I guess if I were to choose a favorite hike at Turkey Run, it would be Trail 3. It's 1.7 miles long and, for a portion of it, runs through a gulley created by a small stream. There are steep walls on both sides, often moss covered. It's a perfect hike on a hot summer day as it can be much cooler here. Of course it's quite damp, and in spring there's plenty of water to wade through.

You sometimes find yourself walking along a very narrow rock ledge, perhaps a foot wide, pressed against the cliff. Despite the dampness, the footing isn't overly slippery. At one point you do have to climb up, or down, depending upon your direction, a small cliff with just toe holds, but most people can manage it safely. I have a couple of pictures of the area here, but some of the more impressive spots I missed as I was concentrating more on my footing, enjoying the view, and keeping my camera safe! The size is certainly not overwhelming but it really is rather magical, especially on days when there's a rising mist or a bit of fog.

The Devil's Punch bowl is in the same area, and you merely need to turn off on trail 4 to get there.

More Hiking

T rail 3 to the west is interesting as well, but any hiker with small children or pets might be advised to stick with other trails. Certainly trail 10 can be picked up to complete your trip instead of taking this last, or first, bit of trail 3. The problem is ladders. They aren't extremely high, but if you have a fear of heights they could be a challenge and they're completely vertical. They're constructed with heavy timber and small hands won't really reach around them for a good grip. They get damp and a sandy residue accumulates on them, making the grip even less sure.

I can remember my father carrying our German Shepard up these ladders, so yes it can be done, but no, I don't really recommend it.

Other Trails

I also like trail 9. It takes you out into virgin woods, it's a bit rugged but it's only a mile long. If you're looking for something simple, trail 10 really isn't too bad. It starts off from trail 3 after you cross the suspension bridge. The only thing rugged about it is at the begining, where you hike up hill for about 1/10 of a mile. After that, it's fairly smooth sailing. You culminate at a point that gives a scenic view of an adjacent hillside, called Camel's Back. This hike is best in the fall of course.

Trail 11 is the shortest and easiest; only about a half a mile long. It takes you to an old log Church. Trail 6 then will take you over to an old log cabin and then up some stone steps and a lookout built in the 1930's by the CCC that looks out over Sugar Creek. That's a photo from the lower part of the lookout in the introduction above.

Along Sugar Creek

S ugar Creek runs through Turkey Run. Canoes are a frequent sight here and rentals can be found around the area. There are of course trails that run along the creek where some very large Sycamore trees can be seen. The area is also a great place to find wildflowers in the spring. I've included a few shots in a slide show here.

If you hike along trail 4 to the east of the suspension bridge you eventually come to one of the park boundaries where you'll find the Narrows Covered Bridge. If you turn and go north just a bit you'll come to the Salmon Lusk home. There are tours available of the home for those of you who like the once luxurious homes of rural entrepreneurs from the early 1800's. The Lusks also had a mill and a small coal mine in the area which you can see. You can't enter the mine, and probably wouldn't want to since it's only 3 feet high, but it's also now reserved as a habitat for bats.

Wildflowers in Turkey Run - Click on Thumbnails to View Images

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Look Around Turkey Run - (Click Thumbnails to Page Through Photos)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Trail 3, just across the creek.More of Trail 3Nearing the Punch Bowl at the intersection of Trails 3 and 4.The Punch BowlAlong Trail 9Near the intersection of trails 3 and 5.Along Trail 1Trail 1
Trail 3, just across the creek.
Trail 3, just across the creek.
More of Trail 3
More of Trail 3
Nearing the Punch Bowl at the intersection of Trails 3 and 4.
Nearing the Punch Bowl at the intersection of Trails 3 and 4.
The Punch Bowl
The Punch Bowl
Along Trail 9
Along Trail 9
Near the intersection of trails 3 and 5.
Near the intersection of trails 3 and 5.
Along Trail 1
Along Trail 1
Trail 1
Trail 1

Spending Time at Turkey Run

A visit to Turkey Run can be just an afternoon visit or you could easily while away an entire weekend. Certainly there are campgrounds for campers and even rustic cabins that you can rent. For those who like more of the modern conveniences there's also the Turkey Run Inn. It has a nice indoor pool and restaurant of course. The link here provides some nice pictures of the Inn and all the information you might need.

Not far from the cabins and Inn are tennis courts, an outdoor pool, nature center, picnic grounds, and even an open meadow to enjoy whatever activity comes to mind.

The park is open year round but of course winters in Indiana can make hiking difficult if there's snow and ice on the ground. Steps, ladders, steep hillsides and gorges could make some trails treacherous. Trail 11 which leads to an old log Church is very easy and portions of Trail 1 should also be passable nearly anytime of year. Often, if there is significant snow or ice, the park is fairly desolate anyway and we walk along the deserted roadway to enjoy the snow covered trees. My personal preference is to visit in April and May or late September, October, or November for the best hiking weather. Warm weather offers the most beautiful flora but colder weather eliminates any energy sapping humidity and offers the ability to see a vaster area.

Turkey Run State Park in the Autumn

For More Information

T urkey Run State Park is located near Marshall, Indiana in the west central portion of the state. It has approximately 14 miles of hiking trails and offers horseback riding, fishing, camping a variety of other recreational activities.

Some hiking trails are quite short and easy, taking a route through relatively flat wooded areas. Other's are much more rugged and require you to walk in stream beds and climb small rocky cliffs with flowing water, ladders, and so forth. You can find a map of the park, a list of the rules and regulations, and more detailed park information at the Turkey Run site.

Finding Turkey Run

A markerTurkey Run State Park -
Turkey Run State Park, Indiana, 47859, USA
get directions

Have You Been To Turkey Run? Let Us Know You Stopped By!

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    • Commandrix profile image

      Heidi 5 years ago from Benson, IL

      I've been there a few times when I was a kid. It would be neat to go back.

    • LovelyMom77 profile image

      LovelyMom77 5 years ago

      I am in the process of visiting state parks in Georgia. It is very interesting what is seen and heard when you are in the woods and sourrounded by nature. Loved IT!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a great informative website,My wife and I have been visiting all the indiana parks the last couple of years and your site has provided us with the best info.WE will be going to Turkey run soon,Our favorite park so far has been Mccormicks Creek,we loved it....thank you...

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 6 years ago

      Ahh! Enjoyed my virtual tour of Turkey Run State Park...love all the green and a ~girly-swoon over the wildflowers. (Loving Google+ ;)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      "Wildflowers in Turkey Run" beautiful.

    • profile image

      eclimb88 6 years ago

      Great write up on Turkey Run SP. Definately a Hoosier Jewel! I have to agree if you are only going to do 1 trail, do #3. I'm from MN so I like heading to IN in the spring and fall. You folks warm up faster and stay warm longer. :) There is a good map of Turkey Run SP here:

      http://www.hikesearch.com/index_files/turkeyrunmap...

      Have you ever done any hiking on the Adventure Hiking Trail?

    • Cheryl57 LM profile image

      Cheryl57 LM 6 years ago

      This lens made this ole Hoosier gal a little homesick; its been many a year since I camped and hiked in Turkey Run!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Spent many happy hours at Turkey Run State Park when I was younger. The hiking is wonderful! Took my one and only canoe trip down Sugar Creek at Turkey Run. Although it was beautiful, I much prefer walking the ground.

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 7 years ago from London, England

      Excellent lens. Sounds like another wonderful state park to visit.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Looks like a beautiful place, excellent work Mulberry! Squid Angel blessed.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 7 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Gorgeous lens!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Wonderful lens, nicely presented and great pics and information. 5* and fave.

    • raswook profile image

      Jeff Wendland 7 years ago from Kalamazoo, MI

      Thanks for sharing this one Tipi on Squidu

      5* and squidangel blessing

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I love your state park lenses! You know, Indiana is one state I've never been to. Looks like I'm missing out!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This is such a beautiful state park and lens. I knew it had to be because you created it, your lenses are a delight to visit. I love state and national parks and can't go to them all, so this is a great way to see different parts of the country, through the eyes of the beholder...and you brought the beauty to me. Thank you for this adventure and I'm over-joyed to bless it!

      Best wishes to you and my you prosper and be in good health! You have a great soul!

      Susie

    • profile image

      QueSea 8 years ago

      I enjoyed your lens very much. Like others have said, your photographs are beautiful and make a great addition to the rest of the information you have on your lens. Good job.

    • Commandrix profile image

      Heidi 8 years ago from Benson, IL

      I think I remember visiting Turkey Run when I was little. That was when my family and me lived closer to the Illinois/Indiana border, so it was a shorter drive to get there. It is a very nice park & it's awesome that somebody created a Lens about it. I wouldn't have thought of it!

    • profile image

      qlcoach 8 years ago

      Nicely crafted and relaxing lens. Well written too. Gave it 5 stars. Met you on Squidom. Hope you will visit my new lens about emotional healing. Gary Eby, author and therapist.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Absolutely wonderful!

      Thanks for sharing

      Lizzy

    • NatureMaven profile image

      NatureMaven 8 years ago

      Turkey Run looks like my kind of place, but I'll probably never get to Indiana. Thanks for sharing Turkey Run with the world. *****

    • sittonbull profile image

      sittonbull 8 years ago

      Beautifully done Mulberry! Places like Turkey Run are a treasure to be frequented and enjoyed so thanks for showing it to us on Squidoo.

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 8 years ago from Idaho

      Beautiful photographs, looks like a wonderful place! Thanks for sharing! Linda

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Fantastic Lens brought back memories!

    • profile image

      jaye3000 8 years ago

      Looks refreshing ~ great lens :)

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 8 years ago

      No I have never been there but you sure made it enticing. Loved the pictures and the flowers.

    • Sensitive Fern profile image

      Sensitive Fern 8 years ago

      Beautiful lens! The layout is very nice, especially the wildflowers. Turkey Run looks very similar to parks we have here in Iowa. 5*

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Haha...we took our labrador out there and got stuck at one of the ladders. We were trying to get him to climb it and he would run and launch himself at it! Then hang on, halfway up. He was too heavy to carry, but with one behind and one above encouraging and holding his harness, he eventually figured out how to climb that ladder! I have canoed there since a child. Love it.

    • bigjimj profile image

      bigjimj 8 years ago

      Great job, Mulberry. I'm originally from Indiana and know about Turkey Run, but I've never been there. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Yeah, what rockycha said! ;) It looks absolutely captivating -- particularly the wildflowers which are so beautiful. That Google Map makes it look quite large.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 8 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      This was a peaceful interlude in my day. I've never been to Turkey Run but right now I wish I wasn't a couple thousand miles away. What a beautiful state park treasure you have there! spectacular! 5* and an Angel blessing for this lovely lens!

    • profile image

      Vacation-In-My-Head 8 years ago

      Very nicely done, the pictures are beautiful!

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 8 years ago from Sweden

      When I first saw the name of the lens, I thought it was a race for turkeys. Now I know better. Thank you for educating me =)

    • profile image

      rockycha 8 years ago

      Totally love Turkey Run - what an outstanding view into this lovely park! Big fat fives and I wish I could bless it, but I ain't an angel no more... Great Job!

    • oneskms profile image

      oneskms 8 years ago

      The pictures look awesome ! I would love a weekend in one of their cabins