Description - The first settlers came to this area
around the late 1820’s after the Miami tribe
ceded the area to the federal government
in 1818. The shallow soils and broken
topography of the lands which border
Sugar Creek provided little enticement to
farmers, thus the majority of the forests escaped destruction. One story of the area attributes
the illusion of deep shadows beneath the nearly unbroken
canopy of these forests and the eerie feeling
projected by the “black forest” as the reason for the
early name, “The Shades of Death.” Other people,
however, say the name resulted due to the war-like
Indians who occupied this natural stronghold along
Sugar Creek and the legend of an early settler being
killed. Another story which contributed to the gloomy
name claimed that a young settler’s wife buried an ax
in her wicked husband’s head. Finally the “Shades of
Death” being considered unsavory, was dropped to
simply “The Shades.” These examples of the legends
and folklore of the area are often topics for campfires
at naturalist activities.
Copyright: - Indiana Department of Natual Resources
Shades State Park
- 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.
Recreation - Visitors to Shades State Park can enjoy camping, fishing, canoeing, hiking, picnicking, and interpretive programs. Deer's Mill Covered Bridge area located on State Road 234 is maintained as a public access to Sugar Creek for canoeists. Swimming is prohibited do to the hazardous water of the creek.
Climate - Visitors to this state can expect hot and humid summer days that often reach 90 degrees F in July and August. Summer nights bring little relief with an average temperature of 70. Winter can be extremely cold in this Midwestern state with a yearly average of 40 inches of snow and low temperatures dipping to negative 15 degrees F. Winter daytime highs average close to 40 degrees. Spring and fall are excellent times to visit Indiana spring brings blooming wildflowers and daytime highs of 65 degrees F. With falls mild temperatures the leaves in the forested southern regions of the state change to brilliant hues.
Shades State Park is located west of Indianapolis, about 17 miles southwest of Crawfordsville off S.R. 47.