If you’re looking for the perfect camping destination to tell spooky stories around the campfire, Shades State Park is the place to do it. Just 16 miles southwest of Crawfordsville, the area’s original name was Shades of Death. This harkens to some of the grizzly legends from early settlement years that originated under the area’s dark and foreboding forests. In the late 1800s, a health resort named “The Shades” was built on the site, taking advantage of the many natural springs in the area. Today, Shades State Park offers a pleasant and serene outdoor getaway among 3,000 acres of beech and oak woods and sandstone ravines, where Sugar Creek flows through and spills over small waterfalls.
Open from April through October, the campground in Shades State Park offers 105 drive-in campsites, 7 hike-in sites, and 10 boat-in sites. The main sites are equipped with tent spaces, picnic tables and fire rings, and can accommodate trailers and RVs up to 55 feet. Hookups are not available in this park, but there is a dump station. A limited number of sites are ADA accessible. Facilities in the campground include drinking water, flush restrooms, hot showers, picnic areas and playgrounds, and sports fields. An amphitheater hosts seasonal nature programs, and ice and firewood are available to purchase onsite. Campsite rates range from $10–$24/night; hike-in and boat-in sites are first-come, first-serve.
For exploring the area, more than 10 miles of hiking trails are available for exploring the Shades’ woods, waterways and canyons. Take a short, easy stroll along Red Fox Ravine, or more moderate hikes around Devil’s Punchbowl and Silver Cascade Falls. For more adventure, hike into the adjacent Pine Hills Nature Preserve on the east side of the park. Or, for a fun nighttime alternative, take a guided, full-moon hike with one of the park’s naturalists. Swimming and wading in Sugar Creek is not permitted, but you can cast a line for bass and bluegill, or visit one of the canoe outfitters outside the park to take a float down the creek.
no electric. plenty of trails to hike tho.
Lots of really nice campsites…
Beautiful wooded campground neat Sugar Creek. Deep ravines and moderate to rugged trails encompass the area. There are multiple pit toilets, water pumos, and also an electric bathroom.
This a great primitive campground. It is a short distance from Turkey Run SP if you are looking of a modern campground experience.
A nice Indiana State Park that has about a hundred basic camping sites (non-electric), along with restrooms and bath house. Note that camping season is April through October here at Shades. No overnight camping Nov-Mar.
The big draw at Shades State Park is hiking the great trails, canoeing/kayaking on Sugar Creek, and seeing a covered bridge or two. Pine Hills Nature Preserve (on east end of park) is also open to park visitors for hiking and wildlife viewing. A few pics attached.
Great sites that offer decent privacy with brush & trees as a barrier between sites. Paved parking pad, steel fire-ring with steel grid to cook on. Restroom/showers are fully plumbed and have electrical outlets, but they're not really the cleanest I've seen. Plenty to do - good trails, right on Sugar Creek, 15 min from Turkey Run, about 2 miles from a private canoe/kayak outfitter that offers a variety of trips & rentals. I would definitely recommend staying here!