Indiana parks offer outdoor wonderland | Travel

In fact, two of Shades’ 10 trails have ladders for those adventure hikers and a 2.5 mile backpack trail. It’s just a 20-minute drive from Turkey Run.

With a smaller, nonelectric campground and no lodge or swimming pool, Shades appears to draw a more serious hiking crowd.

Shades, a relative newcomer to the park system, was created in 1947 following a major civic effort to purchase the land it sits on. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, a time when people visited springs for health reasons, it was the site of a resort and “sanitarium.” After the business folded, the property changed hands and in the 1940s, a campaign was launched to “Save the Shades.”

“Instead of buying milk at school, little kids threw their milk money in a bin to save up to purchase the land,” Williams said.

At the eastern end of the park is the 470-acre Pine Hills Natural Area, a U.S. National Natural Landmark.

Year-round fun

Indiana State Parks, including the trails, are open year-round as are some of the campgrounds.

“We actually promote winter hikes,” Johnson said.

Shoes with good traction are especially important at these parks where hikers might have to cross stream beds or walk across areas where run-off from melting ice has created mud.

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