If you were to ask me about Indiana 2 years ago I would have known very little. Since we started traveling just over a year ago we have now made 3 visits to Indiana. The first 2 visits were to do warranty work on our motorhome in Decatur, Indiana. This last stop was on our way west. We have a Thousand Trails campground in Clinton Indiana that we wanted to check out since it was very close to the I-70. The name of the campground is Horseshoe Lakes and the campground is built around several small lakes. What we didn’t know when we booked our stay is that Parke County, Indiana is known for it’s 31 covered bridges. Each year on the 2nd Friday of October they have a 10-day covered bridge festival that draws over 1-million people. Since I didn’t know this at the time that I booked our stay, we ended up leaving the area the day before the festival started. Despite that we had an awesome time. We booked ourselves for 3-nights and so we had 2 full days to explore the area. The campground was very nice and we ended up with a huge back in site with full hook ups. There were multiple hiking trails that weaved through the park and you can spend hours walking the woods and around the lakes. This park had TONS of walnut trees and probably the biggest, happiest squirrels I have ever seen.
The first full day we spent at Turkey Run State Park, less than 45 minutes from our campground. Turkey Run state park is Indiana’s 2nd oldest park and one of it’s most visited. One story of how the park got it’s name is that wild turkeys would gather in the canyon bottom to stay warm. Pioneers would herd the turkeys through the canyons (runs)and funnel them into one area for an easier harvest. The cost for non-residents is $9, but it is well worth the money. The park is dog friendly and there are several hiking trails that interconnect to give you a full day of fun. The hiking starts across the river and you need to cross a large suspension bridge first. Gizmo was not impressed by the bridge moving or the fact that he could see between the wooden slats. He basically did a belly crawl across.
Once across we decided to take the #3 trail into the gorge. It is not recommended for dogs but because Gizmo is small we knew we would be able to carry him up the several ladders. The trail is difficult according to the park map and we would agree since there is a bit of scrambling and climbing of ladders.
We were thankful there had been little rain recently or we would have got our feet wet in the gorge. I could imagine in spring you could get quite wet hiking this section.
Most areas through the gorge had a high route you could take if you didn’t want to get wet.
In addition to Trail #3 we took the easy hike out to Camels back, there were no views at the end point but it was a nice quiet walk. This is definitely a park I would come back to. On the way home from Turkey Run we stopped by several covered bridges. You can find maps online and throughout the area with directions to the covered bridges. There are several routes to take and each route is color coded. There are corresponding road signs with the colors on them to help you stay on the route.
The second day we spent exploring the area and looking for more covered bridges. I think we saw about 20 out of the 31 bridges. We stopped by several towns in the county and watched them setting up for the huge covered bridge festival. Each town’s Main street was lined with vendors getting ready to sell food and arts and crafts. It looked like the festival was going to be huge and worth planning a trip around in a future year. The hub of the activities seemed to be focused around Bridgeton, Indiana. We spent a bit of time here walking around town and checking out the still working Bridgeton Mill. John and I enjoyed the slow pace of this trip. It was particularly enjoying to drive down the country roads (some of them dirt) and through corn fields in search of the many covered bridges.