I am still surprised that Jess and I never explored McCormick’s Creek State Park while we were attending Indiana University. I mean we found some hidden gems like Bean Blossom Bottoms Nature Preserve and drove clear to Shades State Park, but we never made it to this beautiful state park that was only 20 minutes from the dorms.
Trails 5 and 4 – January 2018
I was majorly in need of a hiking fix this past Saturday. While Niko and I have walked over 40 miles since the first of the year as part of our 365 Mile Challenge, I had not managed to get a single hike in for my 2018 52 Hike Challenge. So even though the forecast was calling for rain all day, I decided to finally explore McCormick’s Creek State Park. It was so peaceful hiking in the light rain. It felt like the squirrels and I were the only ones in the park. I never saw another person while on the trails.
McCormick’s Creek was Indiana’s first state park, it was dedicated on July 4, 1916. There are 10.7 miles of hiking trails in the park. Some of the main attractions in the park are Wolf Cave, Twin Bridges, and the Falls. I had initially planned to do Trails 5, 10, 4 and 3 to see those plus the quarry and fire tower, but due to the rain and lower temperatures (40s) I decided to avoid the slick stairs and just hiked Trails 5 and 4.
Trail 5 is a 2 mile loop that takes you around Wolf Cave and Twin Bridges. It has multiple creek crossings, a couple hills, and wanders past some sinkholes.
Wolf Cave was created by the acid in water eating away at the limestone.
Visitors can actually crawl through Wolf Cave, but I decided to follow the trail around to Twin Bridges on the other side as I am not a fan of spiders and can only imagine the number that must live in that cave.
Twin Bridges was actually a cavern of Wolf Cave, but portions of the roof collapsed leaving behind “bridges”.
Trail 4 starts from the Canyon Inn parking lot.
I stopped to check the Inn out and buy a couple postcards.
I loved Trail 4; it’s not challenging, but it was very peaceful and pretty. Part of the trail runs through a ravine along a creek.
The trail also goes to the park’s Fire Tower. I didn’t climb the tower because of the rain.
UPDATE: Trails 2, Q, 1, and 3 – March 2018
As it wasn’t raining this past Saturday I decided to see what McCormick’s Creek State Park was like in sunshine – amazing! I really love this park.
I parked at the Canyon Inn parking lot and followed the road around to the CCC Recreation Hall. Company 589 of the Civilian Conservation Corps built many of the park’s structures including the hall, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Trail 2 starts just past it, near a shelter house.
I had originally planned on hiking Trail 2 to Trail C to Trail 10 to see the Quarry, but with all the rain we had been having I knew that McCormick’s Creek would be high and Trail 10 requires creek crossings. As my boots are no longer waterproof due to holes I opted to skip Trail 10. (Thank you REI dividend for showing up at the perfect of time!) I ended up hiking Trail 2 to Q past the Quarry then took Trail 2 up to the Family Cabins where that trail ends. There I picked up Trail 1 and then returned via Trail 2 to the Canyon Inn parking lot.
Trail 2 is 1 mile one-way and Trail 1 is .5 mile one-way. Trails 1 and 2 were great exercise (both involve a couple steep hills) and the Quarry is cool, but the next trail I did takes the cake.
Trail 3 leads from the Canyon Inn parking lot to McCormick’s Creek and the falls. I started Trail 3 from the trail-head by Stoney Restroom. From here the trail descends over 100 steps (I lost count somewhere in the 90s and still wasn’t near the bottom) to McCormick’s Creek. Once to the bottom I had to sit down on a rock and enjoy the view for a while – it was so peaceful, with only singing birds for company and may small waterfalls to look at. I decided it was the perfect spot to write my reflection making this the first of 3 reflection hikes I’ll be doing this year, as part of my 52 Hike Challenge Adventure Series. I then continued up the trail to the falls and then back to Canyon Inn.
Check out my Instagram (@offtoseetheview) for a video of my favorite spot.
UPDATE: Trail 9 – March 2018
As McCormick’s Creek State Park has quickly become one of my favorite state parks in Indiana, I of course had to take Shawn there on Sunday when the weather actually met his standards (above 50 with sunshine – surprising for March in Indiana). We hiked Trail 9 as it was one that I hadn’t hiked in the park yet (one of my personal requirements for the 52 Hike Challenge: cannot hike the same trail twice or if I do, it doesn’t count for the challenge). Trail 9 is short – about 1.2 miles – with small hills. A side trail leads from it to the Historic Peden Farm Site (which we did not hike to).
The highlight of our afternoon was taking Shawn to my favorite spot along McCormick’s Creek to sit back and enjoy the view.
Trails 7 and 10 still remain on my bucket list for McCormick’s Creek State Park.