Explore the most popular hiking trails in Shades State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

1 month ago

took the kids today. we had fun!

Just came off trail and it was fantastic. One of my new favorite places. A must see. It just rained two days ago and the water in the creeks was running fast something to definitely see and do. Going back tomorrow and adding in a couple shades trails.

1 month ago

it started as a moderate trail overlooking the sugar Creek but then you come to the huge staircase down into the ravine close to where the stream empties into sugar creek. The rest of the trail is a rugged journey back into the ravines as it gradually ascends back to the top. the whole time going against the stream's currant. we should have done this trail first instead of last. It kicked our butts. great trail!

2 months ago

Suggest taking the creek side first (clockwise) so you’re descending stairs and going down creek. Great trail with lots of creek walking.

Challenging, fun, beautiful. Rugged section is well worth the effort. Not too difficult, but highly suggest trekking poles.

hiking
5 months ago

Completed this trail in 2012. nice little trail, ladders made it fun.

So much beauty. This first nature preserve in Indiana gives us all a glimpse into what the forest should look like. The other areas: Devil's Backbone, Honeycomb Rock, The Slide, etc. are amazing. This is one of my favorite hikes in the state of Indiana.

Started in a mist of rain but finished up with a little sunshine. Shale was slippery after the rain near the creek. Walked the little creek all the way to sugar Creek.

hiking
6 months ago

Hiking/Backpacking - Did a bit of hiking on Friday, then backpacked for the night. We noted that the park maps are not correct with the trails. Trail 5 is reverse of the map. Trail 8 does not intersect the backpacking trail twice. We were going to cut off the backpacking trail to 8/7 to get back to the parking lot, but the connection indicated in the map doesn't exist.

Backpacking note... It's kind of like backpack glamping. The backpack campground has large sites with picnic tables and fire rings. There is a shed with firewood for sale, nice pit toilets, trash bins, and running water.

6 months ago

Fun, short, and ladders...

hiking
6 months ago

Very fun hike, walking up the ravine. Our ten-year-old loved it.

7 months ago

Most of the trail follows a creek bed. It was mostly dry when I was there on Labor Day. I would definitely bring water shoes if you are hiking this trail between March and May. Would love to hike this trail again when the water is running.

I enjoyed my time on this hike but had expectations for it to be a little more difficult. It is considered the most rugged hike that the park has. I only saw one family of two adults and two teenagers on my journey. Has some very nice views and lots of stairs. I wouldn't might going back.

Hidden gem! Scenic forest, cliffs, stream. Lots of stairs. Extremely steep drop offs on Turkey Backbone and Devils Backbone. Like, if you misstep or lose your balance you will die. Legit. Be very attentive to children.

Great trail to hike! I was amazed by the views this trail had to offer especially for being in Indiana.

on Trail #5

hiking
9 months ago

Definitely had a Jurassic Park feel to it, love the terrain and plant diversity. Definitely recommend!

on Trail #10

hiking
9 months ago

Great to have a trail connect the park and the nature preserve!

hiking
9 months ago

Really enjoyed Devil's Backbone, great payoff even if it was just a short part of the trail. Really fun, and you can easily loop back and do it again :)

hiking
9 months ago

Listed here as EASY. Park guide lists as RUGGED (0.875 mi.) Nice loop trail including hike through gently sloped rock streambed of Kickapoo Ravine.

hiking
9 months ago

Listed here as EASY. Park guide lists it as RUGGED/VERY RUGGED (1.25miles). As others have recommended, take the trail clockwise, which is to say, go left at the loop start. Steep descent down a couple hundred stair steps. Beautiful trek up Pearl ravine with nice rock/tree overhangs up to Maidenhair Falls (a small 6-8ft fall). A little further out of the ravine and then several series of more easily navigated stairs back to the trailhead. IMO, this is one of the more rugged trails in this part of the state.

love the beauty and serenity of this preserve! The views from Devil's Backbone are spectacular!

i love this quite little trail and camp ground

First time here and hiking for that matter. It was a great day, the park was beautiful. We got there a little late in the day and it was somewhat busy, but not bad for a holiday weekend. I imagine we will be going back.

there are 10 short trails to hike..it is possible to complete in a full day if you are physically fit

great hikes..the only problem is they are short hikes per trail..we did all 10 trails...took all day..beautiful scenery

hiking
10 months ago

There is a rugged section to trail that is at least considered moderate.

Beautiful area for this part of the state. Went early and had the trail to myself, awesome!

Great advanced trails!

I'm not an experienced hiker or in the best physical shape, but I was excited to finish this loop hike. Beautiful views!

Get to trail via trail #10 of park and cross 234. Trail is easy until you get to preserve. Long drop offs at several points and opportunities to walk through creek instead of trail so bring aqua socks. A very nice trail with lots of shale rock. Crossing devil's backbone is always a treat and very narrow with steep drop off. An excellent hike.

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