Spring Mill State Park offers a powerful illustration of the link between the natural and cultural worlds. The water flowing from several cave springs led to the founding of an industrial village in the early 1800s. Pioneer entrepreneurs took advantage of a constant water source that never froze, using it to power several gristmills, a wool mill, a saw mill, and a distillery. In turn, pioneer settlers shaped the landscape around the village, clearing land for agriculture and timber.
The park today continues to illustrate how nature shapes us and how we shape our environment. A parcel of virgin timber sits in contrast to regenerated forest, a man-made lake struggles to survive against the in-flow of silt from cave-fed systems, and the native flora and fauna face challenges from man’s introduction of new species.
Visitors can explore this story in the park’s four interpretive facilities—the Pioneer Village, Nature Center, Grissom Memorial, and Twin Caves Boat Tour—and see it reflected on the landscape as they hike the trails. The interpretive staff also offers a wide variety of public programs, including an extensive special events schedule. Public programs are offered year-round.
Pioneer Village -- Grissom Memorial -- Nature Center/Interpretive Naturalist Services -- Nature Nook -- Twin Caves Boat Tour -- Schools and Groups -- Hiking & Biking -- Lodging & Dining -- Shelters & Picnic Areas - - Public Swimming Pool -- Campstore / Hayrides / Bike Rental -- Cave River Valley Natural Area Management Plan -- Nature Preserves -- Donaldson, Bronson, and Hamer Caves
Electric / 187 sites -- Primitive / 36 sites -- Youth Tent Areas -- Camp Store -- Dumping Station
1. MODERATE (.375 mile)—Short loop from inn to foot of hill, along Donaldson branch and lake, and returns up the hill to the inn.
2. MODERATE (.5 mile)—Connects village parking area to picnic area and Nature Center.
3. RUGGED (2.5 miles)—Long loop trail. Enter near the Donaldson parking lot. Passes Donaldson Cave overlook, then through dense woods, past sinkholes, then Bronson Cave, on to Twin Caves, through virgin timber of Donaldson Woods Nature Preserve. Returns to Donaldson picnic area.
4. RUGGED (2 miles)—Loop trail may be entered from Trail 4 at picnic area or junction of 1 and 4 near inn. Goes by Donaldson Cave and Hamer Cemetery to village.
5. MODERATE (1 mile)—Loops around lake. Follows lower section of lake from bridge, then around to boat docks, near Trail 2, which leads to the picnic area and parking area.
6. ACCESSIBLE (.25 mile)—Paved trail. Loops around Virgil I. Grissom Memorial.
7. EASY (1.75 miles)—Loops through and around Oak Ridge picnic area. Ties into Trail 4 between Hamer Cemetery and village.
Stagecoach Trail (.5 mile)—Rugged. Follows old roadbed from village, up hill, to Oak Ridge picnic area and playground. A two-mile mountain bike trail is now available for use. The trailhead is located near the campstore. Mountain bikes can be rented at the bike rental. Bicycles permitted only on paved roadways. Skateboarding and inline skating prohibited.
Box 376, 3333 State Road 60 East, Mitchell, IN 47446