People primarily go to Turkey Run State Park to hike, and it's set up well for that. From the parking lot, where the Nature Center is located, a long and tall suspension bridge takes you across Sugar Creek to the more demanding trails in the park. Maps for the trails (and park in general) are handed out when entering ($9 for out-of-staters at the time of this posting) or in the Nature Center. Make sure you get one, because the trails are well-marked with sign posts, but it's still easy to get turned around when you are out there. I hiked this with our six year old and, while he's a gamer, none of the hikes were overly difficult for him (though he did tire about halfway through our second day).
We spent two days hiking the Park. On the first day we hiked Trails 3 and 10 and back on 3 - 3 has ladders and stairs and plenty of canyon time, while 10 meanders flatly through the forest. If you're reasonably fit, we highly recommend Trail 3 above the others, if you can only choose one. The second day we hike Trail 3 (ladders again!), briefly on Trail 5, then Trail 9. Trail 5 from Trail 3 starts with 140 stairs up the side of the hill, beautiful but taxing. Trail 9 was the most technical of the ones we hiked, with a lot of scrambling over boulders and so forth. There is a beautiful waterfall on this trail we hadn't heard about and that made the more difficult trek worth it for sure. Back onto Trail briefly, then the return to the bridge along Trail 3 made for a nice long hike.
While you can camp or find lodging outside the park, the Turkey Run Inn is on site, which makes it very convenient. Built in 1919, it has undergone expansions and renovations over the years. It's in reasonable shape, with some mustiness here and there, but overall clean and well-run.
The Narrows restaurant is onsite at Turkey Run Inn and, unfortunately, is only okay. Décor is dated and uninspired, but the restaurant feels clean. We ate both breakfast and dinner there, opting for the buffet option both times (Sunday we didn't have an option due to a holiday). The food tastes like it was provided by an outside food company like Aramark or Sysco. Nothing wrong with that, but not overly interesting, creative, or flavorful. I wish we'd opted for the pizza option, which can be eaten either in the restaurant or taken out - they looked and smelled great.
If you don't want to hike, or want to supplement that activity, the park does offer an outdoor pool during warmer weather, picnic areas, and other recreational activities. Next time we come back we plan on canoeing or kayaking Sugar creek or trying out the park's horseback riding.
How to get there: Turkey Run State Park is about 160 miles South of Chicago, IL an about 70 miles West of Indianapolis, IN.
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