Shades State Park is that peaceful place you've been looking for. Located about 17 miles southwest of Crawfordsville (off S.R. 47), it is a favorite for hikers and canoeists. The beautiful sandstone cliffs overlooking Sugar Creek and numerous shady ravines provide the backdrop for your journey through this nature lover's paradise. Adjacent Pine Hills Nature Preserve affords spectacular topography for those willing to take a fairly long hike.
Hidden gem! Almost as majestic a hike as the nearby Turkey Run, but more challenging, and much less trafficked. We hiked in the morning on a Sunday and the place was very quiet and empty, we didn't see anyone else until we headed out. There is a longish hike-in part through some rather unremarkable flat wooded area until you get to the "good stuff" of the Devil's Backbone and Honeycomb rock, but it's worth the fuss. There is a fair amount of scrambling so wear good shoes, but doable for anyone in decent health.
Tony S. on Pine Hills Nature Preserve Trail
A great Indiana trail. My son and I both enjoyed the Devil's Backbone. Nice views and changes in elevation.
Tony S. on Trail 10 at Shades State Park
Not a very interesting trail and buggy when we hiked it. Nature trail is great but this one isn't
i had seen a picture of the devils backbone on shades state park website, and had to check it out. it did not disappoint and was an awesome sight! we can't wait to take our friends back with us! although they did okay on this visit, we probably would not take our dogs with us next time.
If your at Shades after entering gate turn right and go to far north west parking.Devils Backbone is most technical portion, you need to cross the creek and climb up trail to cross it. It was pouring down on us that always adds a little extra sketchy factor.
Trail is likely 1.8 from the old access. It takes between 1/3 and 1/2 mile at least each way to get to the start from the parking but still a very pleasant hike. Nearly all in shade and a good hike with some climbing (too many stairs and not enough trails) and some pretty amazing rock formations you'd never expect there. My wife isn't much of a hiker and she was able to handle it no problem so likely will be more confident in taking on more challenging and lengthy hikes. Strenuous is over doing it. It isn't very tough. Fun.