Turkey Run State Park is the second-oldest state park in Indiana, but it came very close to not making the list. Despite the streams, sandstone, and legends about turkeys, none of these attributes were viewed as valuable. In the 1800s and early 1900s, timber was a great avenue for income and the area now known as Turkey Run was rich in hardwood trees. The trees located here were not all that common so it was highly desired by lumber companies. When the owner of the land passed away, he did not have a will, so the land went up for auction. The government attempted to purchase the land in an effort to preserve it; however, a timber company bid against them and won. It took the Indiana government time, but they were able to negotiate a price and purchase the land. Unfortunately, in that time, a lot of trees were cut down, transforming the land from its early days. However, I have heard that trails 1 and 4 are good representatives of what the land looked like in its early days as those areas have remained relatively untouched. Just think…had the government given up when they were outbid at the auction, who knows what that property would look like today?
First impressions speak volumes and I was amazed from when I first drove up to the park. As a artist and photographer, my mind immediately started racing with possibilities. Where to start…there were streams, caverns, trees, valleys…you get the idea. And all in the middle of cornfields! I love how I can sit in one place for a sunrise composition and come back to that same place at 6pm and get a whole new vision. Turkey Run is one of my favorite parks due to its lights alone, whether its shots of sunlight peeking through leafy treetops or rays bouncing off water onto stone-lined borders.
Turkey Run has a lot to offer outside of photography, as well! The trails range in difficulty level so there are suitable options for both the hiking experts as well as children. If hiking doesn’t appeal, they offer guided horseback riding, canoeing down Sugar Creek, and cool historic sites to visit. I have stayed at the Turkey Run Inn and have not been disappointed. The common area has a great fireplace, plenty of seating and board games and puzzles. There is a restaurant inside the inn…nothing spectacular, but it serves its purpose and the staff is super friendly and helpful. Turkey Run is one of the best state parks I have visited, no question. The opportunities for great photos, surrounded by amazing nature…it’s a great way to spend a few days with friends and family.
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