View of a Ravine in Turkey Run State Park Indiana

Where is Turkey Run State Park

Turkey Run State Park lies in Marshall, Indiana tucked away on the state’s western edge. The state park is located about five miles away from Shades State Park, and each of these two parks sit along Sugar Creek. The creek is responsible for creating the gorges or “runs” that most likely inspired Turkey Run State Park’s name. According to several people, hunters used to find large populations of turkeys foraging in the gorges. Turkey Run US State Park is 68 miles away from Indianapolis, 239 miles away from Columbus, Ohio, and 177 miles away from Cincinnati, Ohio.

How Large is Turkey Run State Park

Turkey Run State Park covers over 2,300 acres. The state park contains a series of hiking trails, Rocky Hollow Falls Nature Preserve, a suspension bridge, a series of gorges and other outdoor recreation areas. Trails in the state park range from 3 miles to 15 miles in length. Several trails follow gorges along Sugar Creek. These trails are rugged and require proper footwear, extensive water, and several hours to complete.  Rocky Hollow Falls Nature Preserve contains the state park’s only seasonal waterfall and a series of canyons.

View of Sandstone Cliffs Along Sugar Creek Turkey Run State Park Indiana

Turkey Run State Park Weather

The weather at Turkey Run State Park varies throughout the year. In the summer, average high temperatures consistently approach 90-degree Fahrenheit every year. The season’s average lows approach 65 degrees. In the winter, average lows in the park approach 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The season’s highs approach 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Turkey Run State Park experiences around 100 days of rain on average per year. When rain falls in Indiana several days in a row, the park’s trail system may become muddy, flooded, or entirely impassable. Conditions are frequently updated on the park’s website.

When did Turkey Run Become a State Park 

Turkey Run State Park first became a state park in 1916 during Indiana’s centennial celebration. The state’s park system was also founded during this celebration. Turkey Run State Park is officially Indiana’s second state park. The park contains several historic areas that have a history before the park’s inception. The Lusk Home & Mill Site and The Lieber Log Cabin are two of these sites.

View of Sugar Creek With Sun Setting Turkey Run State Park Indiana

Things to do in Turkey Run State Park  

Visitors exploring Turkey Run State Park will find a variety of recreation opportunities.  Our National Park Visitors Guide lists activities below.

Trail 3 

Turkey Run State Park’s most popular and strenuous hike, Trail 3 takes hikers down a series of ladders through several of the park’s gorges. These gorges are consistently deeper than they are wide. Visitors looking to hike trail 3 should be in excellent physical shape, equipped with proper footwear and equipment, and prepared to stop several times along the trail for water breaks. Trail 3 shows visitors several landmarks in the park including the Ice Box and the Punch Bowl. The trail is 1.7 miles long.

Other Hiking Trails in Turkey Run

The additional hiking trails in Turkey Run State Park provide visitors with endless recreation opportunities. Besides Trail 3, the state park contains 10 other hiking trails. These trails take visitors through the entirety of the state park. The trails are best hiked in the summer months when water levels in Sugar Creek are low. Hikers visiting during the spring, fall, or winter should check conditions before embarking down a trail. The park’s visitor center and website can provide information.

Floating on Sugar Creek

A popular activity List of Parks suggests in Turkey Run State Park, floating on Sugar Creek provides visitors with a refreshing perspective to view the park. Visitors frequently float down Sugar Creek in kayaks, inner tubes, canoes in the summer months. During these months, the water levels in Sugar Creek are usually optimal. 

Creek Stomping

When serious rainfall floods the park’s gorges in spring, visitors to Turkey Run State Park frequently go ‘creek stomping’. This activity can get quite dangerous when water levels high due to the water’s swift current and the gorges unpredictable geography.

Rocky Hollow Nature Preserve 

Hikers looking for additional trails and more adventure should look to visit the Rocky Hollow Nature Preserve within the state park. The nature preserve contains six designated trails. Each trail contains its own micro-climate. The nature preserve was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974. 

Lusk Home & Mill Site

Visitor’s looking to brush up on the region’s history or wanting a break from the park’s trail system should look to visit the Lusk Home & Mill Site. The site was built in 1841 by Salmon Lusk. He built the Mill Site near his home in 1826.

Lieber Log Cabin  

The Lieber Log Cabin offers visitor’s additional area culture and history. The park was constructed by area-sourced tulip trees in 1848. Its name honors Colonel Richard Lieber, the first director of the Indiana State Park system.

Camping in Turkey Run State Park 

Turkey Run State Park contains 213 modern camping sites. These sites include picnic tables and water and electric hookups. The campground also contains handicap accessible campsites, modern showers, and toilets. Turkey Run State Park also manages a camp store which offers visitors the opportunity to purchase camping essentials such as ice and firewood. 

Wildlife Viewing

The wildlife species found in Turkey Run State Park include avian species such as kingfishers, wrens, great blue herons, and thrushes. The park also contains woodland mammals such as deer, squirrels, racoons, foxes, and several others. 

View of Creek With Wooden Pathway Turkey Run State Park Indiana

When to Visit Turkey Run State Park  

Turkey Run State Park is best visited in the summer months. During the season, the park’s water levels are normally at a lower level, which allows for extended trail access. A visit to Turkey Run State Park can be achieved throughout the year. Visitors looking to visit in spring, fall, and winter will want to take caution on the park’s trails or in the Rocky Hollow Nature Preserve. During the spring, trail conditions can become especially dangerous. Visitors who can, should check the park’s website or call the park before traveling to Turkey Run. Occasionally, excessive rain or snow can close large portions of the park, campground, and hiking trails. 

Must-Haves to Bring to Turkey Run State Park

Any outdoor adventure requires at least a little packing and planning. To make your packing just a little easier below is a list of several essentials to bring with you to Turkey Run State Park.


Hands down, the number one item visitors looking to enjoy Turkey Run State Park’s outdoor offerings is water. The trails at Turkey Run State Park can be quite strenuous and summer temperatures can disorient and dehydrate hikers rather quickly.

High-Energy Snacks  

The best snacks for hiking and other outdoor activities are lightweight, easy, and full of energy. Beef jerky, protein bars, dried fruit, and trail mix are great options for visitors to bring with them to the park.

Camping Supplies

There are quite a few camping supplies visitors looking to camp within Turkey Run State Park will want to remember to bring with them. Obvious items include tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and blankets. However, campers will also want to bring flashlights, extra batteries, camping pillows, and other camping equipment.

Wildlife Field Guides  

The best way to view and learn about Turkey Run State Park’s wildlife is with a Indiana or US field guide. There are several different field guides on the market. Visitors should look to purchase a field guide with color images. These images will make field identification possible. 

Hiking Shoes

The terrain in Turkey Run State Park can be quite treacherous. Every visitor to Turkey Run State Park should be equipped with a sturdy pair of hiking boots. Hikers and other outdoor recreators may want to invest in a lightweight and waterproof pair for added protection and comfort. 

Kayak, Inner Tubes, or Canoe 

Summer visitors to the park who are looking to float down Sugar Creek will want to pack their kayak, innertubes or canoe. The park does not offer any rental services. Several outfitters found outside Turkey Run State Park offer rentals.

Park Maps 

Hikers visiting Turkey Run State Park should look to access and study park trail maps. These maps can be found online and at the park’s visitor center. 

 Turkey Walking in Forest on Autumn Day Turkey Run State Park Indiana

Where to Stay in Turkey Run State Park

Visitors looking to camp within Turkey Run State Park should make reservations online through the park’s website and reservation portal. The rates for the park’s campground vary throughout the season as availability fluctuates. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance. Visitors looking to stay in a hotel or other lodging establishment should check out options in Marshall or Indianapolis. The latter offers visitors more options but is located about an hour drive away from the park. 

Food Nearby Turkey Run State Park

Snacks and other essential items can be purchased from the park’s camp store. Campers and visitors looking to grab a warm meal or stock up on supplies can visit several grocery stores near Marshall or make the one-hour trip to Indianapolis. The state’s capital offers an endless supply of restaurants, fast food establishments, and grocery stores.

Red Narrows Covered Bridge Over Sugar Creek Turkey Run State Park Indiana

Airports Near Turkey Run State Park

The closest airport to Turkey Run State Park is located in Indianapolis. The international airport is about an hour and fifteen minutes away from the state park by car. Other airports are located in Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio. These airports are over three hours away from the park.

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