About 60 miles west of Indianapolis, Indiana lies scenic Parke County, home to over 30 covered bridges, and plenty of rolling country. In the midst of this county is Turkey Run State Park, a natural preserve where visitors can experience Indiana's ancient landscape.
Several canyons dot the park, some with waterfalls, others filled with boulders and trees. One trail in particular, trail 3, brings visitors into a canyon where nature's forces worked over 300 million years to shape what is seen today. This trail, marked "very rugged" by the park service, is just that, a rugged walk through the canyon. While not too strenuous, the rugged nature of the trail allows visitors to hike in a more natural setting. Boardwalks and stairs are in places where necessary, and wooden ladders are necessary to scale portions of the canyons.
Just outside of the narrow entrance to the canyon, along Sugar Creek, the temperature drops substantially. The colder air of the canyon is well below the temperature of the surrounding area; we could see our breath, and the outside temperature was in the mid 60s.
In addition to the cold air, we also noticed the plant life was instantly different. The park has plenty of old growth trees, some of the tallest I've seen in the region, but the trees here were all old conifers. Thick, green moss covered the rocks, and fallen trees, while ferns clung to the canyon walls. Much different than most other parts of the park.
Our six hour hike brought us through most of the canyons, but some fading sunlight forced us to postpone the rest for another day.
Posted by Tom Gill at Tuesday, March 15, 2016