Spring Mill State Park is half nature hiking – half history lesson. It kind of reminds me of Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountain National Park with it’s grist mill, however, Spring Mill State Park includes a whole Pioneer Town along with its grist mill. I have been to Spring Mill before and walked through the Pioneer Town on that visit, so this time I just hiked.
I parked at the Spring Mill Inn, where (though no one besides me probably cares) not only do they sell Spring Mill State Park postcards, they also sell patches and multiple kinds of stickers! And, they were having a 25% off sale! Yes, the little things in life do excite me. – This excitement stems from it being hard to find such things at the other Indiana State Parks. Harmonie State Park only sells postcards; Brown County State Park (the largest state park in Indiana) doesn’t sell stickers, neither does McCormick’s Creek State Park.
From the Inn, I hiked down the hill along Trail 1 and then picked up Trail 4 which follows along the creek to the Pioneer Village. It then winds up the hill and loops back towards the Inn, but at a higher elevation than the first section. It passes the Hamer Pioneer Cemetery and there is a short spur that takes you to the mouth of Donaldson Cave. It also passes the Wilson Monument. It was a nice little hike.
There are five caves in Spring Mill State Park. Limited self guided exploration is allowed through some of the caves, while the park offers boat tours through Twin Cave for $3.
Alexander Wilson, a Scotsman who moved to the United States in 1794, is considered the “Father of Ornithology.” Geoge Donaldson, also a Scotsman, admired Alexander Wilson’s work. After purchasing the 181 acres surrounding Donaldson Cave, he built this monument in honor of Wilson.
On my next visit to Spring Mill State Park, I would like to hike Trails 3 and 5 and visit the Grissom Memorial that honors Astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom – a fellow Hoosier and the second American to go to space. I’d also like to do the boat tour of Twin Caves.