My husband, friend and I decided to take a long weekend and visit Spring Mill State Park in southern Indiana. Spring Mill State Park is just outside of Mitchell, Indiana and is just under 2 hours away from Indianapolis and about 4 hours from St. Louis. One unique feature about this state park is that it is home to a historic village. The village has several historic buildings that you can walk through with informational exhibits inside.
My favorite building was the Apothecary Shop. I just loved all of the different bottles.
The village is centered around grist mill that was built in 1817.
My favorite feature of the historic village was the flume. The flume connected a source of water from Hamer Cave to the grist mill.
Just past the Leather Shop, you will see a small sign for a trail to Hamer Cave. Be sure to check it out. It is just a short hike along a beautiful creek to the opening of Hamer Cave. A small dam creates a waterfall and you can see the beginning of the flume.
We also hiked several of the parks hiking trails. We parked at the Donaldson Picnic Area and both Trail 3 and Trail 4 start from here.
After hiking down the stairs, Trail 3 splits off to the right while Trail 4 goes to the left. We stayed on Trail 3 and hiked it clockwise. The trail leads through beautiful forest and virgin timber. After about a mile, the trail comes to the parking lot for Twin Caves. A stone stairway leads down to the caves.
Once at the bottom, the lower cave is to your right and the upper cave is to your left. The Park Rangers offer a boat tour of the upper cave. It costs $3 and for that price, I highly recommend it. The tour lasts about 30 minutes and the ranger guides you through the cave by pushing off of the cave ceiling and walls and paddling every now and then. Be sure to head to the parking lot early to reserve your spot on the tour. The tours sell out fast especially on busy weekends.
Once back at the parking lot, Trail 3 continues to the right of the stairs for Twin Caves and leads to Bronson Cave. The trail gently rolls through the woods and eventually ends up back at the parking lot. Trail 3 was 2.5 miles long and rated at rugged, but I would say it was more moderate.
The next trail we hiked was Trail 4. This trail also starts from the Donaldson Picnic Area. A large set of stairs leads down to a creek.
Be sure to take the spur off to the right as it leads back to Donaldson Cave. I love how water rushes from the cave opening and slides down the rocks.
The opening of this cave is impressive. You can feel the cool breeze come out of the cave since it stays a cool 54 degrees year round.
We followed Trail 4 as it passes by the creek and eventually ends up near the historic village.
The trail continues to the right of the Buttercup Grove shelter and winds its way up the hill. After a nice walk through the woods, the trail eventually ends back at the parking lot. This trail is approximately 2 miles long. This was my favorite trail in the park.
The final trail we hiked was Trail 5. We parked at the inn and took Trail 1 from the left of the inn down to the base of the hill. From here we hiked Trail 5 which circles the lake and goes past the Nature Center.
All of the trails were very well signed.
We stayed in site 180 in the electric loop. The site was pretty unlevel, but after using a couple of wood blocks we were able to get the camper level. The site was nice because it has a large tree which provided shade and there was quite a bit of space in between the other sites. There was also some open room behind the gravel pad. There was a water spigot behind the site which was about 30 feet away. The campground was very nice and there were a lot of sites. There were heavily wooded sites and sites that were more open. The bathroom facilities were clean and the showers were hot with a lot of pressure.
The park also had a lot of activities. We rented a mountain bike from the campstore and rode around the campground as well as part of the hike/bike lane that goes past the village. The Stonebelt Stargazers also set up their telescopes in the parking lot of the swimming pool and let people look through them. We were able to see the moon, a couple planets and a star cluster. The campground also offered a hayride and had a movie night. Spring Mill State Park also has an inn.
Spring Mill State Park is a great example of Indiana’s state park system. Be sure to check it out!
The map below was obtained from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website.