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Midwest Hiking: Turkey Run State Park, IN

Enjoys some of the best hiking in the Midwest at Turkey Run State Park in Marshall, Indiana.

Hiking at Turkey Run State Park

Last weekend Diana went to Indiana with friends and went hiking at Turkey Run. She enjoyed herself so much that we decided to take a weekday off work and go hiking as a family.

2 people hiking on Trail 6 at Turkey Run State Park

Hiking at Turkey Run State Park

Turkey Run State Park is one of the oldest state parks in Indiana. This 2,382-acre park is located about 75 minutes west of Indianapolis off Hwy 41. It has a large campground, an Inn, and family cabins for rent. The park is open year-round and is best known for its hiking trails.

colorful creek in the fall

We visited the Park on a Thursday in late October and the fall foliage was great. It was a dry year, so the colors were not as varied as they might be in a wet year. Sugar Creek was on the low side but we still saw people in canoes.

Sugar Creek in Indiana

Hiking South of the Creek

The Sugar Creek runs through the middle of Turkey Run State Park. There are trails north and south of the creek.

Trail 6

We started the day walking trail 6, which starts and ends near the Inn. This short moderate trail follows a canyon bed with high walls.

man next to begin trail 6 sign
tree across a canyon
walls of a canyon

Trail 7

We took the trail 7 loop off trail 6. Trail 7 connects to the campground. These are good trails to take if you are short on time or if the main trails are crowded.

Trail 1 (the part from the nature center to Inn) and 11 are best for people who can’t do stairs. The Lieber Cabin, which is located behind the Inn, has a lot of history of the park and of state parks in Indiana in general.

forest at Turkey Run State Park
man hiking down Trail 7 at Turkey Run State Park

Trail 2

Next, we took trail 2 which is a loop with a tail that goes across to a covered bridge.  This trail is marked as rugged because you pass through “gypsy holler”.  It has many pieces of Mansfield Sandstone that have fallen off the main outcropping and litters the trail. 

Several times we had to put a hand down to get over or down from some of the bigger rocks.  We chose to cut the trail at the covered bridge.  The bridge was erected in 1882 but is in excellent shape now. 

2 people climbing wooden stairs while hiking
rock overhang
difficult hiking trail at Turkey Run State Park
rocks on the side of a hiking trail
Indiana covered bridge from 1882

Hiking North of the Creek

pillars of a suspension bridge

Trail 4

We crossed the bridge across sugar creek and headed back towards the signature piece of architecture at the part which is the suspension bridge along Trail 4.  Trail 4 just follows along the creek from the covered bridge to the suspension bridge.

wooden stairs at a hiking trail
people crossing the wooden suspension bridge across Sugar Creek at Turkey Run State Park

After lunch, we stopped by the nature center to see some animals and the wildlife viewing room, then headed back across the creek.

Trail 3

We headed to trail 3 which is one of the most rugged in the park. This trail runs through deep canyons. It has a series of secured ladders to help you scale the canyon walls.

We recommend that you do this trail clockwise so that you climb up the ladders, rather than down.  You will want to wear shoes or boots that you don’t care to get wet or muddy if you happen to hit the trail after a recent rain.

Trail 3 at Turkey Run
2 people climbing ladders on Trail 3 at Turkey Run
smiling woman climbing a hiking ladder
2 people hiking through a canyon

On the way back we cut off trail 3 at trail 10 as it is a more direct path back to the suspension bridge.  All and all, we got in 17,000 steps or about 8.5 miles over the 5 hours in the park.

We’ve camped here before, but this was truly was a magical day! We will definitely return to hike the rest of the trails. Have you been to Turkey Run?

Man hiking through a canyon at Turkey Run State Park in Indiana
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