So I’ve become an pretty avid hiker and always trying to find the next best hiking trail that will knock my darn socks off with how beautiful the views are along the hiking trail. Let me tell you if you want your socks knocked off you must head to Turkey Run State Park. Also, with this hike you’re going to want to wear waterproof hiking boots or your socks will get soaked and you’ll have to take them off with out them being knocked off, because, who likes hiking in damp squishy socks?
When you visit Turkey Run State Park it’s a $7 entrance fee for Indiana residences. If you’re like me and visiting from out of state you’re going to be stuck paying $9. The park is open from 7am till 11pm everyday unless you book a room at the lodge that’s in the park or a campsite. When I got there I was just taking pictures of Indiana at the suspension bridge and ran into a family who suggested trail #3. They said it was the best one to do in Turkey Run and that it wasn’t really long either. There are 11 hiking trails you can choose from in Turkey Run State Park. I was only able to do 3 of the trails but I can tell you that I recommend all 3 of the trails. However, if you only have a short time to visit I would suggest doing trail #3 since it’s the best one. It’s only 2.1 miles round trip but it is also a pretty difficult hike if you’re not prepared with proper footwear or if you don’t like hiking with a ton of people in peak season/hours. When I hiked the trail it wasn’t peak season and I also wore my waterproof hiking boots. It was honestly my first time testing these suckers out in water and I was not disappointed! But I’ll have another review on my boots later on.
Back to my review of trail #3. I loved this trail so much I ended up doing it 2 times. When you first start the trail you’re following a wooden walkway then it goes into a huge area that you wouldn’t assume would be a trail. I started just exploring the area and other hikers went past me so I just followed them. Pretty much you follow this stream which turns into a waterfall that you must walk over then walk even more in the stream. There are some streamless options where you can walk up the side of these rock formations to pretty much overlook the stream. You also can veer off to the right and see the devils punchbowl which is a little waterfall in a rounded out rock formation. It’s a must see since it really isn’t out of your way at all. You continue your way though the stream and you will reach a set of stairs. Then must go up those stairs and for awhile you will be on land away from any water. You’ll go down another set of stairs only to go back up a huge set of stairs minutes later. This is where it gets interesting, you’ll get to a spot where you need to go down 3 sets of ladders. Since I had Indiana ladders weren’t going to happen. I ended up following trail #5, which lead me to a ravine that was a tad bit questionable if I could scale with Indy behind me so I could stay on trail #3. The issue with staying on trail #5 is that it loops back to trail #3 so regardless I’d either have to find a way to get past the ladders or go back the way I started. I decided to be bold and scale the ravine. Luckily for me it worked out to my advantage. We were able to continue the #3 trail back to the suspension bridge.
Once I was done with trail #3 I decided to give trail #1 a shot since it was on the way to see this covered bridge and it could turn out to be a cool photo opportunity with Indy. Trail #1 is a really easy trail. It follows the river pretty much the whole time and you really don’t go up or down any hills. You’re also not tripping over tree trunks or hiking though any water. If you’re not a major hiker but like walking around in nature this would be the hike for you. It’s especially nice if you like wild flowers. They were in bloom everywhere! I didn’t finish all of trail #1 because it was starting to get dark and I needed to find a place to car camp. Which also meant I wasn’t able to get all the way to see the covered bridge and take any photographs. The nice thing with trail #1 is that it runs into trail #2. If you’re bored with the really easy hike you can venture on trail #2 which takes you up into the rocks where you are going through caves and trying to avoid tripping over tree roots. You are also constantly going up and down hill so it makes it a moderate level hike.
McCormicks State Park was another park I decided to check out when I was in Indiana. The pricing to get into this park was the same as Turkey Run State Park. Which meant I got suck paying $9 for being out of state. This state park has 10 hiking trails that you can venture on all ranging from easy to rugged with the longest hike being 2 miles. I opted to do the 2 mile moderate hike which was trail #5. This trail will lead you to a cave called Wolf Cave. It’s a pretty small cave and you’ll have to do a lot of ducking but you can actually go from one side of the cave and end up on the other side of the trail. If you plan on hiking though this cave though don’t have a backpack on since it makes it harder to get though the narrow passages. Also have a flashlight! That or don’t have a flashlight so you don’t have to see the quarter sized spiders just hanging out with you. Seeing those were my queue to leave the cave. Not to mention the cave is closed when bats are in it to protect the bats since theres a huge outbreak going around that is killing bats.
Also word of advice, dogs should be leashed in state parks. While I got to this hike really early and there was only one car in the parking lot when I started my hike I figured, hey I could have Indiana off leash since the trail isn’t super packed. Well due to that mind set I ended up traumatizing this poor boy (not really) but here’s what went down. I saw one woman on the bridge over looking the cave. I figured ok that must be the people in the one car up in the parking lot. I asked her if she was ok with dogs or if I should put Indiana back on his leash. She said she was ok and I proceeded to walk towards the cave to check it out. They said bats usually frequent this cave and if you know me I’m in love with bats! Well little did I know there was a man in there with his two sons. Indiana bolted in the cave while I was still following behind and I heard, “OH MY GOD IT’S A WOLF!” The young child then started crying, “WOLF GO AWAY! LEAVE US ALONE!” While the father kept telling the young boy that it was a dog that wasn’t going to hurt him. I called Indy immediately when I heard the child yell wolf the first time and put him on his leash. Indy was completely oblivious that he scared this child, wagging his tail thinking he was going to get to play with these kids in this cave. I apologized to the father and the kids telling them they could pet him if they wanted just so they wouldn’t be scared of him. Since that incident I’ve made sure Indy is on his leash even if there’s only one car in the parking lot besides mine. However, I will let him off leash on occasion if I’m the only one on the trail or if the trail is riddled with mud or water where having my dog tethered to me is more of a liability for me and having him trip me.
The rest of trail #5 is pretty much boring to be honest or well not boring but there’s no major features to be seen after you see the cave. There’s a very little waterfall near the stream but that’s really about it. Either way if you just walk to see the cave and turn back around it’s going to be close to a 2 mile hike or you can just continue to follow the loop for a 2 mile hike. It also says the hike is a moderate hike. I would honestly dare to say it’s more of an easy hike. Once I was done with my hike I got back in my car and drove by a sign that said “Falls” with a bunch of cars in the dirt parking lot. Since I’m obsessed with waterfalls and it looked like it was a must see attraction in the park I decided to investigate.
Getting to this waterfall was insanely easy. You will go down some steps and then its up to you if you want to brave some rocks and rock jump yourself closer to the falls. It’s also a great place to swim since there’s a big body of water that is created a few yards away from the waterfall. The water isn’t super crazy deep or at least it wasn’t where I was since I was wearing leggings and didn’t want to have the water hit my waist. However, it was just a great place to hang out and meet some locals and have Indiana off leash so he could learn how to swim for the first time as well as play with these two girls dog. Again I only had Indiana off leash since he was good with the other dog and there weren’t other people around besides me and the two other girls with their dog. Common sense is key when having your dog on leash or off leash.
While there are many state parks in Indiana these were the only two I had time to explore. The nice thing with these state parks is that they both have a ton of hiking trails so you’d really need to be there longer than a day to fully experience what these state parks have to offer. If you only have time to visit one state park though, I’d suggest going to Turkey Run State Park over visiting McCormick’s State Park. Turkey Run offers 11 hiking trails vs McCormick’s 10 trails. The trails are also a little bit longer than the trails McCormick’s has to offer.
Dog Friendly Rating
Turkey Run State Park: Turkey Run gets 5 paws for being really dog friendly. You do need to keep your dog on a leash at all times and clean up after them. However, due to the nature of hiking on trail #3 I did run into a lot of dogs off leash so just be aware of that and make sure if you’re doing that trail that you’re hiking with a friendly dog.
McCormick’s State Park: They also get 5 paws for being dog friendly. Again, dogs must be on a leash and you need to clean up after your dog. Also avoid having your dog run into Wolf Cave so that they don’t traumatize small children in the dark cave.
Indiana’s Final Thoughts