This might not involve a crafty cocktail or artisan dish, but it does involve one of my favorite outside activities – Hoosier Hiking. We are so fortunate to have a long list of state parks and nature reserves to visit and appreciate throughout the year in Indiana. Not to mention that we have so many that are less than an hour’s drive from Terre Haute! With all of the Covid-19 precautions in place, I’ve found myself increasing my hiking trips this year to get myself out of the house. As the weather continues to cool, we’re coming upon some of the best hiking weather (not too hot, not too cold). So what better way to take a look around town, then to share some of its natural beauty.
Shades State Park
You might not know it, but Turkey Run isn’t the only park in that area that boast numerous trails and stunning views. Shades State Park is literally just a few short scenic miles away from Turkey Run, located in Waveland, IN. With similar activities to Turkey Run, it was always a family favorite when I was growing up. As an adult, I frequently find myself going back to Shades to hike all of the trails.
One of the many reasons for this, is though I love their trails, it’s also not nearly as busy as Turkey Run can be. It’s like a hidden gem, so often times you find yourself hiking the trails or enjoying the views off the sandstone cliffs in quiet appreciation. You’ll also find trails that take you straight to the beaches of Sugar Creek and if you’re in for a long hike to can also check out the Pine Hills Nature Preserve.
Fern Cliff Nature Preserve
This one was a first for me this year. I went to the powers that be (Facebook) and asked my friends for their best local hiking spots and this one came up numerous times. It’s not your typically park, I promise you while driving there you will question yourself at least 3 times if your following the map correctly (you are!). It’s is very much off the beaten path, and boosts a whole 4 gravel laden parking spots. It’s worth it though, I promise. Fern Cliff Nature Preserve is located in Greencastle, IN and has stunning views from their sandstone cliffs, covered with you guessed it, ferns. They have deep, lush wooden ravines that take your breath away. It was beautiful there, and some place I will certainly go back to. It is a National Natural Landmark and State Nature Preserve, so help the nature conservancy staff by wiping your shoes before and after you get on the trail. This helps them stop the spread of invasive vegetation to the area.
Cataract Falls Recreation Area
You might go for the trails; I go for the views. Alright, technically Cataract Falls only has one trail that leads you from the Upper Falls to the Lowers Falls, but when you’re the largest waterfall by volume in the state of Indiana it counts. The two waterfalls are approximately a mile apart and each fall has numerous areas around it for seating.
This makes it a great spot to bring lunch and enjoy the sounds and sights associated with the falls. There is also a Hoosier treasure next to the Upper Falls, The Cataract Falls Covered Bridge. The bridge is open to pedestrians and crosses over Mill Creek. It’s also the last remaining covered bridge in Owen Country, IN.
These are only three of my most recent hikes this year, but they were by far my favorites thus far. So before the weather starts to seriously turn, take the literal scenic route and check out one of our Hoosier Hikes. Don’t forget to share yours too, we’re always looking for new places to hike, so if you’ve found a hidden gem we need to check out, let us know.