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suspension bridge at Turkey Run State Park

Located on State Route 47 in Marshall, IN, just 25 miles southwest of Crawfordsville, Turkey Run State Park offers many family-friendly outdoor activities.

The hiking trails here are renowned, and visitors will be rewarded with a variety of sights and experiences, such as the impressive sandstone canyons and ravines formed by Sugar Creek; mature hemlock, walnut, and sycamore stands; the park’s renowned suspension bridge over the creek; and many historic structures, like the ~1840 cabin belonging to the founding father of Indiana’s State Parks, Colonel Richard Lieber—as well a memorial at his perpetual resting place.

This 2,382-acre park is also home to a visitor’s center, a planetarium, many picnic areas, a pool, a 213-site campground, and the Turkey Run Inn.

Activities

Offering a diverse expanse of rugged, natural beauty and many historic points of interest, Turkey Run State Park is a day-hiker’s dream, featuring 11 trails of varying difficulty. Sights like the Punchbowl on Trail 3—a sandstone “pothole” formed by glacial meltwater—or the Log Church, built in 1871, await.

Swimming is not permitted in Sugar Creek, but the park’s Olympic-size pool is a welcome respite from summer heat from Memorial Day through early August.

long exposure shot of Punch Bowl Falls at Turkey Run State Park

Hiking at Turkey Run State Park

Hiking opportunities abound here—there are over 14 miles of trails—and it is one of the most popular activities at the park. Open from dawn to dusk, bicycles are not allowed on any of the trails, the majority of which utilize ravine-bottom stream beds and may become unusable during flood seasons or following severe storms.

Be sure to check the website for alerts and weather-related closures, and always stay on the marked trails.

Here are just a few of the trail options at Turkey Run State Park:

  • Trail 1 (or “The Big Tree Trail”) – 3 miles long, moderately difficult with old-growth forest and a covered bridge.
  • Trail 3 (or “The Ladders”) – 1.7 miles long, very difficult, and featuring wooden ladders along the deep ravines that lie at the bottom of Rocky Hollow and Bear Hollow.
  • Trail 6 – .5 miles, moderately difficult, built along a stream at the bottom of a steep canyon. Note that it will be necessary to use stepping stones.
  • Trail 11 – .5 miles, easy, meandering past the Lieber Memorial, Turkey Run Hollow, and the Log Church.

Boating at Turkey Run State Park

Canoeing, kayaking, and tubing are permitted along Sugar Creek; a parking permit is required for the lot at Cox Ford Canoe Ramp at the west end of the park. There is another canoe ramp at the eastern border, but it is for access only, and no parking is available.

the bank of Sugar Creek at Turkey Run State Park

Swimming at Turkey Run State Park

Because Sugar Creek poses seasonal high water dangers, swimming is not allowed. The park offers a manmade option, however: An Olympic-size pool. Featuring lifeguards, a wading pool, bathrooms, showers, and changing rooms, this is a much safer way to cool off in the summer months; a small fee is required per person.

Horseback Riding at Turkey Run State Park

Turkey Run features an extensive network of trails reserved exclusively for horseback riding; 50-minute guided trail excursions are available for riders 8 years and older. Pony rides for younger children (parents must walk alongside) are also on offer. The “Saddle Barn,” where these rides originate, was built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in 1935.

Sports at Turkey Run State Park

There are two full-size basketball courts, two tennis courts, and a sand volleyball court available for public use; you must bring your own equipment for these first-come, first-served facilities, and all courts close at sunset (no lights).

Fishing at Turkey Run State Park

Fishing from shore or a non-motorized boat is allowed in Sugar Creek; bass and bluegill are just two types of fish you’ll find here. A state fishing license is required, and two boat ramps are available.

red covered bridge spanning sugar creek at Turkey Run State Park

Nature & Wildlife at Turkey Run State Park

While you might spot a deer, beaver, or fox in this ecologically diverse park, you’ll certainly see all manner of birds. An official stop on the Indiana Birding Trail, some of the hikes here will reward you with sightings of water thrushes, tanagers, belted kingfishers, bald eagles, and screech owls, among many others.

Pets

Dogs are allowed in the park but must be leashed to 6’ at all times, including at campsites (dog fences cannot replace a leash); some of the inn rooms and cabin options are pet-friendly.

Camping

Open year-round, the 213 RV- and tent-friendly campground sites at Turkey Run all feature electricity hookups, fire rings, and picnic tables. There are communal showers and bathrooms, and drinking water nearby. A well-stocked camp store is on-site (only open Fri-Sat during the off-season), and there is also a youth tent campground for non-profit groups.

Lodging

The affordable, Turkey Run Inn was built in 1919 and offers 61 rooms, available to rent up to one year in advance; there are also 23 cabins available. The property is located right in the park, and amenities include a full-service restaurant, an indoor pool, a gift shop, a game room, and a fire pit.

Park Location

Turkey Run State Park
8121 East Park Road
Marshall, IN 47859
Phone: 765.597.2635

Park Website
Reservations

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Turkey Run State Park: