Explore the most popular walking 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.

First of all, Be careful of the wood stairs and wood foot-bridges when it’s wet. They are all very slippery! I almost fell down a thirty foot fight of stairs while it was pouring. I slid down five steps, but luckily I was able to grab the rail with my arm.

Backpacked and camped at the backpacking campground this weekend with my 6yo daughter. The campsites are nice. Water, privy and firewood are available.
No need to request firewood to be delivered as told in the trail description. There are bundles stacked up in a small wood shelter, and there is a slot to drop your money, $5 per bundle.
You must register for your campsite at the main gate and it costs $12 plus tax per night. Seven sites are available and they’re on a first-come-first-serve basis.
The raccoons are aggressive so don’t leave your food or trash out unattended even for a few minutes. I went it to my tent to get my daughter ready for bed, and I heard something fall from the pic-nick table. A raccoon snagged our six pound food bag, and I had to chase him 100ft down the trail and into the woods to get it back!
Friday night there was only one other group of campers. We were the only ones there on Saturday. There’s lots of animal sounds at night, many I couldn’t recognize.
The canoe camp is less than a half mile walk away from the backpacking camp. There is a very nice view of Sugar Creek from there. I was surprised that we didn’t see anyone camped there either night. Though, there was quite a bit of rain this past weekend. As far as registration for The canoe camp, no need to register at the gate as the ranger will come around in the evening to collect fees from the canoe campers. As the park’s trail guide states, there is no limit to how many can camp there, all canoe campers must be accommodated as there are no other camping options.

camping
17 days ago

Trails at the Shades never disappoint. In my opinion Shades trails are the best in the state. For this particular trail I would do the trail clockwise (go left when the choice first presents itself). This will take you down the many many stairs and then up the ravine. Otherwise you will be climbing up the stairs and that is NO fun.

hiking
20 days ago

Could only do a portion due to closed trails. Still decent.

hiking
27 days ago

Fun hike

on Trail #10

1 month ago

Mostly gravel & rock ,very flat, a ok stroll through the woods ,, nothing to see until preserve. Which is worth seeing.. I would say ten is wheelchair accessible until preserve, for those who may want an outdoor adventure ..

Excellent trail for a quick overnighter, or for beginners .. The campsites were excellent , having the means of firewood, water and facilities right at camp is nice .Short walk to sugar creek ,.. My real only complaint is that the trail is so peppered with signage,..Prob, close to 50 signs on a 2.5 mile stretch.. Two dozen were completely not needed and takes away the feeling of "being out there" .. But , all in all , very nice. Would recommend .

hiking
1 month ago

The views are beautiful. markings are a little confusing.

2 months ago

took the kids today. we had fun!

3 months 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!

on Trail #2

3 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.

hiking
6 months ago

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

8 months ago

Fun, short, and ladders...

hiking
8 months ago

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

on Trail #5

hiking
10 months ago

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

on Trail #10

hiking
10 months ago

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

hiking
11 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.

i love this quite little trail and camp ground

hiking
11 months ago

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

hiking
Saturday, June 03, 2017

Trail never disappoints! Less crowded than turkey run and just as pretty. Clockwise on loop and you'll do stairs down and walk up ravine/stream. Either way is great.

hiking
Sunday, March 05, 2017

I completed Trail #1 and #2 yesterday, and they were both great, pretty similar actually. Both are ravine trails, where the trail is essentially the stream bed. Hiking in a ravine stream bed is a really fun and unique hiking adventure. Walked away with an appreciation for the name of "Shades" -- the mid-day light is very different and beautiful down there.

Trail #1 features more shale rock in the trail, which is fun to walk on. Be sure to wear wear waterproof boots, and it's not a bad idea to keep a back-up pair of socks in your car for afterwards. It is still early in the season yet, but we didn't see any other hikers on the trail.

Protip: When you start out on the trail, and get to the loop, turn left, go down the stairs, and the first main attraction is the Silver Cascade falls, and then you'll hike up the ravine. IMO much better to go down those very steep steps than back up them.

hiking
Sunday, February 19, 2017

Awesome views! We started the loop going right and enjoyed every minute of this trail. The most difficult part for us was actually the steep staircase at the end of all things. Might actually have been slightly easier taking the loop clockwise at the beginning if you're worried about difficulty.

hiking
Sunday, February 19, 2017

Great views, walked trails 1 & 2 yesterday and enjoyed each. Be sure to wear shoes or boots with good grip and expect to get your socks a little wet if they aren't waterproof! Overall enjoyed my Shades experience.

Friday, January 27, 2017

One of my favorite trails in my favorite state park!

Monday, November 07, 2016

Great view at Prospect Point. Fun easy hike.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Nice walk to Pine Hills preserve. Would rather walk this than drive after hiking the tougher trails in the park.

hiking
Saturday, September 03, 2016

The Pearl Ravine can be found on trail 2 at Shades. When you get to the loop portion, go left. (unless you want to hike down the ravine and up several stairs.) Wear a good pair of hiking shoes and be prepared for mud. At the falls you will be rewarded with an amazing view of sandstone cliffs. Trail is somewhat strenuous for the novice hiker.

hiking
Saturday, September 03, 2016

Beautiful views above Sugar Creek, trail heads down by stairs to Cascade Falls, and loops around using the ravine creek bed as trail to the Devils punchbowl. Gorgeous views of sandstone cliffs! After a few days of heavy rain there are usually two lovely waterfalls into the punchbowl. The trail then heads back up stairs and loops back around through more stairs. :) We have been taking our now 3-year-old on this trail since he could toddle around (just be careful on stairs!). We sometimes hook up on trail 6 off of trail 1 for more creek bed playing. :)

hiking
Sunday, June 12, 2016

Not a very interesting trail and buggy when we hiked it. Nature trail is great but this one isn't

Friday, May 27, 2016

Loved it!

hiking
Saturday, April 16, 2016

Starting at the parking area it is a easy trail to get to inspiration and Prospect points overlooking Sugar Creek. Then descend approximately 60 steep stairs down to silver cascade waterfall. It is then a rugged hike along the ravine creek bed through sandstone cliffs, over rocks and fallen trees to get to the base of Devils Punchbowl. It is then many staircases and foot bridges to get back to the trail. It is not crowded and is passable with bigger dogs. Well worth the trip. Combine with trails 4/5/7 for more time and challenge.

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