Turkey Run State Park is in west central Indiana on State Road 47 two miles east of U.S. Highway 41. The park and the Turkey Run Inn are open year-round. This state park is one of the most popular in the state and can be very crowded on summer weekends and especially around holidays like the 4th of July.
The state founded its park system in 1916, that same year they purchased Turkey Run, making it Indiana's second state park. The region of and around the park is known for its population of wild turkeys, and many believe the park got its name when the turkeys would head to the canyons during the winter to shield themselves from the cold, then pioneer hunters would use the canyons as funnels, and chase the turkeys for an easy catch. The area was also used for a mill and coal mining for a time.
Turkey Run is most famous for its beautiful sandstone cliffs and canyons. Mansfield sandstone was carved over time by eroding glacial waters. Gravel and glacial erratics from Canada are found throughout the canyons, having been carried down through ancient rivers to the area. Sugar Creek runs through the area, which shares itself with Shades State Park as well.
Flora and fauna
Deer, beaver, pileated woodpeckers, turkey vultures, small mammals and reptiles are all found throughout the park.
Hemlock, walnut, and sycamores dwarf over the forest, while moss and ferns thrive in their shadows.
The park is west of the capital Indianapolis. Winters and summers are moderate, and the park tends to attract high precipitation in some areas, however, due to heavy shading most of the park remains cool in temperature during warm months. Spring and fall are pleasant. Summer is the most popular time, especially during holiday weekends.
I-74 is just north of the park, heading east-west from Indianapolis to Danville. Head south through Crawfordsville onto IN-47 and head into the park area. From east, you can head west on US-36 to US 41 north, into the park area.
Fees and permits
Basic gate fees
- Weekdays - $4 (Indiana plates)
- Weekends (Fri-Sun, Holidays) - $5 (Indiana plates)
- Non-Indiana Residents - $7
- Pedestrians, bikes, by horse - $2
- One day horse permit - $5
A car is your best bet into the park, however, walking, biking or horseback riding get you to the natural sites.
- Lusk Home Home from 1841 which was built by the European settlers who lived in the area, also features their mill site. Take a tour of the home.
- Nature Center Explore the library, enjoy hands on activities, perhaps pet a live animal and learn about the park offerings. Nice bird viewing area too.
- The Punchbowl on trail 3, one of the park's most popular natural attractions, the punchbowl is a pothole that formed from swirling glacial erratics, which are Canadian bedrocks carried down the ancient river.
- Boulder Canyon.
- The oldest log cabin in the state is the Lieber Cabin, built in the 1840s.
- The Log Church built in 1871.
- Col. Richard Lieber's gravesite on trail 11, who is the father of the Indiana State Park system.
- Camel's Back on trail 10, a beautiful view of the park.
The countless trails and activities make this one of the states most popular outdoor attractions.
- Hike one of 11 trails ranging from easy to very rugged, the park offers plenty of hiking trails through some of the most beautiful wilderness in Indiana.
- Go fishing for bass and bluegill, bring your fishing license!
- Visit the naturalist center and sign up for day and night hikes, planetarium shows, workshops, and talks.
- Enjoy a picnic at one of many picnic areas featuring grills, tables, toilets, a playground, tennis courts and shelters.
- Go horse back riding by visiting the saddle barn, they offer affordable horse rides and hayrides too.
- Take a swim at the Olympic-size pool with a bathhouse and wading pool.
- Turkey Run Inn, 8102 E. Park Rd, ☏ . Has a gift shop.
- Turkey Run Inn, 8102 E. Park Rd, ☏ .
- The Cabins at Hobson Farms, ☏ . N. Narrows Rd, Marshall. Nearby the park, they feature two very cute new cabins. One features a queen bed and a jacuzzi. The other cabin has two beds and private bathroom. Electricity, a/c, satellite TV, and outdoor grills. Very well maintained.
- Granny's Farm Bed & Breakfast, 4329 E. State Road, ☏ . 47., Marshall. Two miles east of Turkey Run on a 160-acre farm, all rooms have private baths and some have a jacuzzi. Internet access and continental breakfast served.
- Turkey Run Inn, 8102 E. Park Rd, ☏ . State park ran inn built in 1919, a lovely rustic inn, with ample space for meetings, families, couples and friends. Indoor swimming pool, gift shop, game room with video games and jukebox, movie rental, satellite tv, restaurant, and other amenities.
The campground entrance is located about half a mile West of the main entrance to the park. Once in the campground, you follow a short trail to get to the main area of the park.
The Turkey Run Campground has 213 electric (class A) campsites. Each campsite has a picnic table, electric hookup, parking area for 1 vehicle, and a fire ring. Water spigots (with potable water)are spread around the area. Three modern restrooms and showers, and four pit toilets are shared by the campsites.
A camp store is available near the entrance for basics like ice and firewood, though those can usually be found slightly cheaper in private establishments along the road outside the park.
Many of the sites here are not very secluded and some are close enough to the road for the sound of passing traffic to keep you up at night. The campground is usually full on popular summer weekends like Labor Day and the 4th of July.
- Berry's Barnlot Camping, 395 E. 275 N, ☏ . 30 RV-hookups.
- The sandstone cliffs seem to beg for rock climbing but this is strictly against park rules and several people have died from falls.
- Sugar Creek also seems designed for swimming, but this too is against park rules due to sudden drops in depth in areas and strong undercurrents.
- No firearms are allowed in the park, no hunting either.
- Keep your pets on a leash.
- Take out what you take in.
- Drink water only from pumps or bring your own in.
- Keep your bikes on paved trails only!
- Don't feed the animals!