Turkey Run State Park | Outdoorsy

Turkey Run State Park
Guide

Introduction

If you're looking for a serene setting with diverse geological wonders and awe-inspiring natural beauty, Turkey Run State Park in Indiana is for you. RV visitors will be blown away by the stunning ravines and sandstone gorges that are scattered around the over 2,300-acre park. You can hike among gorgeous views of canyons, sandstone cliffs, and hemlock groves. The serene Sugar Creek is an idyllic setting for fishing and canoeing. Many different types of wildlife and birds can also be spotted here, including deer and turkey vultures.

Located just 35 miles north of Terre Haute, Turkey Run State Park offers a chance to learn about the area's rich cultural and natural history. Reportedly Turkey Run got its name from the wild turkeys that would settle into the area's canyon bottoms or "runs" to keep warm, much to the delight of early pioneer hunters. There are numerous historical sites to explore at Turkey Run, including Colonel Richard Lieber Cabin, which honors the father of the Indiana parks system. You can also visit a 19th-century log church, covered bridge, and pioneer home and grist mill. Turkey Run State Park is a must-stop during your next RV trip to Indiana.

The park offers great outdoor activities from hiking and horseback riding to swimming and picnicking, The campground has 209 campsites with electric hookups suitable for RV and tent campers. Water spigots can be found in several places around the campground, and there is a dump station nearby. If you would prefer to stay closer to the river and other park activities, then book yourself a room in the park's inn, or stay in one of the cabins operated by the inn.

Shades State Park is a short drive away and is definitely worth a visit. This beautiful park is frequently visited by canoeists, hikers, and fishermen. Between April and October, RVers can also camp when visiting. Peaceful forests and sandstone cliffs along the Sugar Creek offer visitors breathtaking views and hiking trails.

RV Rentals in Turkey Run State Park

Transportation

Driving

Located about 65 miles west of Indianapolis, Turkey Run State Park is easy to access off of U.S. 41 and IN-47. Since the park is situated close to major highways, you should have no issues driving your rig to the park. There are only a few local roads within the park, so you shouldn't worry about getting lost. One of the park roads gets a bit narrow in a wooded area, so you'll want to drive slow if you're in a big RV. Much of the northern end of the park is only accessible on foot. Marshall, three miles south of the park, is a small town where you can find some nice restaurants, an ATM, and gas stations. You'll be able to pick up some supplies here too. Crawfordsville, the closest city, is just 24 miles away if you need supplies you can't find in Marshall.

Parking

There are four parking lots around the park. The most accessible and easiest place to park your RV is in the parking area near the park entrance, close to the Park Office and the Turkey Run Inn. The largest parking lot, which is also suitable for RVs, is located a little further away at the Nature Center. Two smaller parking lots are located deeper into the park near the Box Canyon. Of course, you're welcome to park at the campground if you are staying overnight. The campground is separate from the rest of the park, and you'll need to drive between the two.

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Turkey Run State Park

Campsites in Turkey Run State Park

Reservations camping

Turkey Run State Park Campground

If you're looking to camp in your tent or RV, you'll have over 200 campsites to choose from year-round, all of which offer 30- or 50-amp electric hookups. Eight of the campsites are also ADA-accessible with room for RVs up to 40 feet long. At the rest of the sites, RVs up to 68 feet long can be accommodated.

You can relax by the fire ring or picnic table right at your campsite. A parking spur is also available at your campsite. There are three modern restrooms with hot showers and drinking water spread across this big campground. While there are no sewer hookups, a dump station is available nearby. Your pet is also welcome to join you during your stay at the park.

The campground is located close to the park entrance. It has a separate entrance from the park, just off IN-47, with a lot of space for tents and RVs. Most sites are paved and located in a beautiful wooded area. From here, you can explore Turkey Run Hollow, a moderate 0.7-mile trail through virgin woods on the northwest side of the campground. If you need to stock up on snacks or supplies, you can visit the nearby Camp Store. You can stay up to 14 days at a time.

First-come first-served

Turkey Run State Park Campground

If you're spontaneously visiting the park, the Turkey Run State Park Campground may have unreserved spots available on a first-come, first-served basis. However, there are no guarantees, especially on weekends and holidays, so reservations are recommended. If you are lucky enough to snag a campsite, you'll still enjoy all the amenities, including electric hookups, hot showers, restrooms, a paved site, picnic table, and fire ring. The campground is open year-round, and pets are welcome to stay with you. If you want to renew your site for a longer stay, you might be able to do so in the morning.

Alternate camping

Turkey Run Inn and Cabins

If you are looking for accommodations that are a bit more modern, you can stay at the pet-friendly Turkey Run Inn or their cabins. Built in 1919, this historic inn offers over 60 guest rooms in the lodge with a full-serve dining room on-site.

You could also choose to stay at one of the cabins run by the Turkey Run Inn. There are five cabins with rooms of various sizes to rent. Cabin rooms don't have any cooking facilities but do offer a coffee maker, microwave, and small refrigerator. Families wanting their own space can rent any of the three family cabins. These cabins have two bedrooms and a living room, as well as a coffee maker, microwave, and refrigerator. Two of the cabins are also suitable for guests with pets.

Cabin guests also have full access to the Inn's facilities. The Turkey Run Inn offers several nice amenities including a game room, indoor pool, gift shop, and satellite TV.

Youth Tent Area

To the east of the campground, there is a primitive camping area that can accommodate two separate groups of overnight campers year-round. Catering for groups of between 10 and 30 people, these two sites are nestled under the trees in the dense forest. There is no access to modern restrooms, but a vault toilet and water spigots are provided.

Seasonal activities in Turkey Run State Park

In-Season

Horseback Riding

If you want to soak in Turkey Run's scenic views on horseback, you will love taking a guided horseback riding tour through the park. Exploring the forest and sandstone ravines on horseback is relaxing and enjoyable. It is a wonderful way to enjoy the local fauna, flora, and geological wonders. You can book your horseback riding tour or hayride at the saddle barn, which is open from April until October. Unfortunately, you aren't allowed to bring your own horse to Turkey Run State Park.

Hiking

Turkey Run has some of the most beautifully rugged hiking trails in the state. Its deep canyons are nestled between towering sandstone cliffs and hemlock groves. To get to many of Turkey Run’s trails, you’ll need to cross over the suspension bridge over Sugar Creek. Trails range from easy to extremely rugged. If you're looking for a challenging hike, you may consider taking the ladder trail, which is Trail 3. The hikes are not very long, with the shortest hike being 0.5 miles and the longest being two miles. Don't be fooled by the short distances; some of these trails are quite rugged. Hiking is easily one of the most popular activities here.

Fishing

In the heart of Turkey Run, you’ll find Sugar Creek. These waters make up one of Indiana’s most scenic river systems. It’s a popular destination for those who enjoy spending the day out along the water. Fishing is a favorite pastime, appreciated by many in the area. Here, you will find bluegill and bass, among other large fish. A state license is required in order to cast your line. Boats can be launched into the creek at the access points at the covered bridges. The covered bridges are on opposite sides of the park.

Canoeing

As one of Indiana’s most scenic rivers, Sugar Creek offers a serene setting for your canoeing excursion. Canoeing on Sugar Creek is great fun for the whole family. The waters run right through the very heart of the park, so access is easy. While you won’t find any canoe rentals within the park, you’re not without luck. Several local canoe rentals operate along the creek. You're bound to have great fun on the water all through the summer months.

Swimming

The Olympic-sized swimming pool at Turkey Run State Park is one of the many aquatic recreations you can revel in during your stay. The park also features a bathhouse and wading pool, so visitors have options when choosing how they want to wind down. The pool opens most days between Memorial Day and early August, so make sure you pack your swimsuit in your camper. The pool may close during this time, depending on weather conditions and lifeguard availability.

Off-Season

Exploring Historical Sites

History buffs and curious onlookers alike will enjoy exploring all the amazing 19th-century historical sites at the park. The Lieber Cabin features a small museum where you can learn more about the founder of the state's park system. The Log Church is a fascinating and still-operational historic church that was originally built in 1871. You can tour the Lusk Home, which is a beautiful brick building that once served as a pioneer home and grist mill. Perhaps the most picture-worthy historic site is the red, pedestrian Narrows Covered Bridge, which runs over Sugar Creek and was built in 1882.

Playing Recreational Sports

If you're itching to get in some exercise during the off-season, head out of the RV and onto the sports courts located at the park. You can play a game of tennis, basketball, or volleyball at any of the park's multiple courts. Recreational sports are a great way to get the whole family to enjoy a friendly or competitive game. These facilities are located near the main parking ground opposite the Park Office and are close to the playground and picnic shelters. You can spend the whole day relaxing here and having a fun time together.

Wildlife Viewing

There’s an abundance of wildlife to see here, and you don’t have to come in the off-season in order to witness a variety of flora and fauna. However, peak months allow for a much more full crowd, and a little less time to always stop to take in what is around you. Be sure to bring your binoculars in your camper. You’re sure to find, at the very least, evidence of the wood’s creatures. Beaver-chewed trees, tracks in the mud, and more are common sights throughout the year.

Picnicking

This state park is an ideal setting for a picnic. There are several spots to choose from throughout the park. Tables are available to the public and are first-come, first-served. Saddle Barn has a picnic area that sports charcoal grills and is situated near the ball courts and shelter houses. There is also a rather large picnic area with plenty of tables just off of the parking lot located near the Nature Center. Go on - get out of the RV and enjoy a nice lunch outside among this perfect landscape.

Visiting the Nature Center

This state park offers interpretive naturalist services all year long, with off-season hours running mostly on the weekends. There are a whole host of programs available including guided hikes, planetarium programs, a junior program, evening programs, and history talks. It’s a perfect way to get to dive deeper into the park and understand how everything fits together. The wildlife exhibits and knowledgeable rangers will prepare you to identify the park's wonderful array of fauna and flora.

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