Turkey Run Hiking

Step into a world of natural wonder as you hike through the lush forests and beautiful ravines of Turkey Run. This isn’t just any old hiking destination – this is Indiana’s ultimate playground for outdoor enthusiasts! Turkey Run hiking offers experiences that cater to all preferences, from a leisurely stroll through the woods to a heart-pumping, rugged trail adventure. As you explore the trails, you’ll be treated to a diverse landscape of breathtaking Mansfield sandstone cliffs, adventurous canyons, and a rushing waterfall that will take your breath away.

Updated: April 29, 2023

Turkey Run State Park Trails

It’s important to note that some of the trails can become flooded or otherwise impassible due to water, so be sure to pack your waterproof hiking boots. Trust us – one minute your feet are dry, and the next minute you’re walking through a stream! And watch out for slippery rocks, especially if you’re hiking during or after rainfall. Some of the trails require walking on narrow rocky paths that can be challenging, but the rewards are well worth it!

Trail 1

If you’re searching for a slice of tranquil paradise, you can’t miss the Big Tree Trail at Turkey Run State Park. This 3-mile trail is a full of natural beauty, with stunning black walnut trees that tower over you as you wander through the woods. And trust me, you’ll be in awe of the impressive sycamores and a charming covered bridge along the way too. While the trail can be slightly rugged, it’s definitely manageable for most hikers, so don’t worry! Just keep in mind that portions of the trail may be impassable during high water, so plan your visit accordingly.

Trail 2

If you’re an adventurous hiker looking for a thrill, then Trail 2 at Turkey Run State Park is the trail for you! This rugged 1-mile trail takes you along the edge of the sandstone cliffs, offering a bird’s-eye view of the riparian areas and wetlands near Sugar Creek. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the mesmerizing Box Canyon and Gypsy Gulch, making for an unforgettable hiking experience. While the trail is pretty rugged, it’s definitely worth it for the breathtaking views and sense of adventure. And the best part? You can easily combine this trail with a variety of others to vary your hike and create an unforgettable day trip at Turkey Run State Park!

Turkey Run Hiking Trail 3

This rugged 1.7-mile trail offers some of the most unique hiking opportunities you’ll come across in Turkey Run. Along Trail 3, nicknamed “The Ladder Trail”, you’ll pass by the popular visitor spot, Ice Box, and traverse through two hollows, Rocky and Bear, where the cliff walls tower above you. The highlight of this trail is the three ladders that will take you back up to the cliff tops, offering some truly stunning views of the surrounding scenery. And if that’s not enough, you’ll also encounter the mesmerizing Wedge Rock and the impressive Punch Bowl, a pothole that was scoured out by glacial erratics caught in the swirling backwash. If you’re ready to experience some of the most breathtaking scenery in Turkey Run State Park, then Trail 3 is the perfect trail for you!

Wedge Rock
Source: TurkeyRunStatePark.com

Punch Bowl
waterfall in punchbowl formed in sandstone cliffs
Waterfall in the Punch Bowl
Source: Michfun.com

Trail 4

Get ready for a hike that will take you through a journey of history and natural beauty! Trail 4 at Turkey Run State Park starts with a hike through a small valley that takes you past an old coal mine, reminding you of the park’s rich industrial past. As you make your way along Sugar Creek, you’ll come across a charming covered bridge and eventually reach the Lusk Home, where a pit toilet is available for hikers. But the real treat is at the end of the trail, where you’ll be taken through Rocky Hollow before returning to the suspension bridge.

For those seeking an adventure, the 2.0-mile trail offers a perfect blend of nature and history that cannot be missed.

Trail 5

Turkey Run Trail 5 may be a short hike, but don’t be fooled – it’s packed with excitement. This 0.7-mile trail is nestled within a lush wooded area and includes a staggering 140 steps, which will test your endurance and offer an excellent workout. Connecting to Trail 3 at the ladders, Trail 5 is usually hiked as part of the popular 3-5-9 loop. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or new to the trails, Trail 5 is a fantastic way to add a challenge to your Turkey Run hiking experience.

Trail 6

Step into the natural wonderland of Turkey Run Hollow with a half-mile loop trail that will leave you breathless. With towering cliffs curving and surrounding you, the moderate to rugged trail offers a short but unforgettable hiking experience. Keep an eye out for turkeys roosting on the ledges, as the trail takes you past Sunset Point, Lieber Cabin, and Overlook Cabin. The stream crossing on stepping stones adds an element of adventure, and the loop ends at the road to the Turkey Run Inn. But beware, high water may make the trail impassable, so plan accordingly for this magical journey through Turkey Run Hollow.

Trail 7

Starting at the campground, this is a moderate 0.7-mile self-guiding nature trail forming a loop through virgin wood and hemlock trees. It offers nice hilltop views of Sugar Creek.

At one point the trail descends into a canyon leading to where the Turkey Run stream joins with Sugar Creek. Here you can cross a footbridge and join up with Trail 6 near Lieber Cabin and the Turkey Run Inn.

Turkey Run Hiking Trail 8

Trail 8 offers a tranquil hiking experience as you meander alongside a peaceful creek that’s not Sugar Creek. To access this trail, you can start from several points along Trail 4, but a popular starting point is the parking lot near Newby Gulch shelter. From there, you can take Trail 1 or 2 towards the suspension bridge, cross over it, and then pick up Trail 8 at the old coal mine. This serene 1.5-mile trail is perfect for those seeking a peaceful escape in nature.

Trail 9

If you’re up for a real challenge, the Falls Canyon Trail at Turkey Run State Park is not to be missed. This trail is known as the most rugged hike in the park, and for good reason. You’ll navigate through both Falls Canyon and Boulder Canyon, encountering steep terrain and rocky scrambles.

But the highlight of this trail is Boulder Canyon, where you’ll be rewarded with the sight of a stunning waterfall and some thrilling rock scrambling. Be prepared to climb steps created from the boulders and immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of this trail.

Trail 10

Trail 10 is a must-do hiking trail for anyone interested in unique rock formations. At almost 1.5 miles in length, this trail leads you to Camel’s Back, where you’ll get breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. But it’s not just the destination that makes this trail special. Along the way, you’ll encounter Crevice Rock, a fascinating rock formation that looks like it’s tipping over and even has a staircase inside its crevice. As you make your way through the trail, you’ll also come across other unique rock formations that are sure to amaze you. Don’t forget your camera, because you’ll want to capture the memories of this remarkable hiking experience.

Trail 11

Embark on a leisurely stroll with Trail 11, a short and easy 0.5-mile hike high above Turkey Run Hollow. Starting from one end of the Turkey Run Inn, the trail will lead you across the Old Highway Bridge, where you’ll enjoy scenic views of the surrounding wilderness. As you make your way towards the Lieber Memorial and Log Church, take in the peaceful atmosphere and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. This trail is perfect for a quick getaway or a peaceful morning walk.

There you have it, fellow adventurers! Turkey Run State Park offers a variety of hiking trails that cater to all levels of hikers. From the rugged and challenging Trail 3 to the serene Trail 8, you’re sure to find a trail that suits your preference. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or a thrill-seeker, Turkey Run hiking trails have got you covered.

Turkey Run Trail Map

The official DNR issued Turkey Run Trail Map.

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