Thursday, February 21, 2019

Turkey Run State Park, Marshall IN

Over the past several years, we've been blessed to hike some pretty awesome trails. Turkey Run is, at least for now, my favorite hike of all time.

Turkey Run State Park has a lot to offer nature enthusiasts. You can stay at the Inn or at the campground, which are both open year round. In addition to canoeing, horseback riding, swimming, and fishing, various programs and events are available. Be sure to call ahead to the Visitor's Center to get an idea of what's being offered when. 

There's a covered bridge and a few historical sites at the park that are worth visiting depending on the interest level of your group, but the hiking hiking trails are one thing that every visitor should make time for. 

Or at least one hike in particular.

Trail 3 was amazing! You cross a swinging bridge over the river near the beginning of the hike, which is always a good way to start off an adventure. Once on the other side, the fun really begins.

The trail was easy to find at first and we followed it down into the canyon. All of the sudden it seemed that the trail was gone. If I hadn't heard about this trail from a friend I would have assumed that the trail had been washed out and turned us back. There wasn't a sign, but I trusted my gut and simply followed the canyon floor for a little while. After a while, we caught up to some other hikers, and then later on we did run into some signs. Whew!

We were there early in the year so there was a small stream running through the canyon. Sometimes the trail crossed the stream, at other points the trail was the stream. We wound through some fairly snug spaces, over fallen trees, and even up some rough hewn rock steps embedded in a cliff wall.

My MIL on the ledge steps

We followed Trail 3 up out of the canyon to where it intersects with Trail 10. (Tip: don't bother with the lookout. There's literally nothing to see!) We followed trail 10 to the lookout and then back to finish Trail 3 down into the canyon via some neat wooden ladders. 

The trail loops back through the canyon and around to the swinging bridge which took us right back to the parking lot. 

What you need to know

This trail was a lot of fun and very adventurous. I'd only recommend it for kiddos who are able to walk and climb well. I would think that babywearing would be extremely difficult if not dangerous on some stretches of Trail 3. 

The trail was maintained just enough that you could navigate it safely. Large trees were used as foot bridges, the wooden ladders were solid, but rustic, and there were a couple of places with sturdy steps to ensure good footing. Otherwise, it's not overly commercial and fussy. It was a perfect combination!

Wear shoes that are sturdy and can handle getting wet. 

There are some steep areas, as you can see in the picture above, that don't have any sort of railing. It's a decent drop!

Trail 3 was rugged, but since it clocks in at under 2 miles, it's not particularly grueling and it's nice an cool down in the canyon!

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