Shades State Park, Indiana

While staying with my friend Carrie in Indiana I decided to go for a day hike at nearby Shades State Park. The park contains virgin forest crossed by steep ravines containing streams that flow into the larger Sugar Creek. The weathered sandstone cliffs are a prominent feature in the park and add a climbing element to the trails that would otherwise not be found when hiking the mostly flat landscape of Indiana.

There are about ten short trails in the park and I hiked four of them, starting with Trails 4 and 5 which descend through the beech and oak trees towards Sugar Creek and then follow the Frisz and Kintz Ravines respectively along the streambeds. Both trails were fun in that they required hiking in the actual streambed and involved scrambling up 10 – 15 foot ladders that were positioned to climb over the drops.

Sugar Creek, Trail 4, Shades State Park, Indiana

Sugar Creek, Trail 4, Shades State Park, Indiana

Ladder on Trail 4, Shades State Park, Indiana

Ladder on Trail 4, Shades State Park, Indiana

Me not falling off the ladder, Trail 4, Shades State Park, Indiana

Me not falling off the ladder, Trail 4, Shades State Park, Indiana

Streambed of Trail 5, Shades State Park, Indiana

Streambed of Trail 5, Shades State Park, Indiana

I then connected with Trail 1 after hiking up Trail 5, crossing another ravine with bare sandstone cliffs just upriver of Silver Cascade Falls, which were hidden by both rock and leaf cover. Trail 1 also passes Inspiration and Prospect Points which overlook Sugar Creek before it turns back towards the trailhead.

View of the cliffs from the ravine, Trail 1, Shades State Park, Indiana

View of the cliffs from the ravine, Trail 1, Shades State Park, Indiana

Sugar Creek from Prospect Point, Trail 1, Shades State Park, Indiana

Sugar Creek from Prospect Point, Trail 1, Shades State Park, Indiana

The last trail I hiked was Trail 2, which leads past the small but picturesque Maidenhair Falls before dropping sharply down the steep streambed into Pearl Ravine.

Trail 2, Shades State Park, Indiana

Trail 2, Shades State Park, Indiana

Maidenhair Falls, Trail 2, Shades State Park, Indiana

Maidenhair Falls, Trail 2, Shades State Park, Indiana

Trail 2 under the cliffs by Maidenhair Falls, Shades State Park, Indiana

Trail 2 under the cliffs by Maidenhair Falls, Shades State Park, Indiana