Eagle Creek Park

Indiana Natural Areas: Marion County

Eagle Creek Park is a very large municipal park that encompasses much of the upper reaches of Eagle Creek Reservoir. The vast majority of the park’s visitors stick to the developed areas in the eastern part of the park. Numerous trails meander over the property, but most don’t venture far from overt human influence – roads, buildings, fences, etc.

Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye Weed

The park is a favorite of local birders; the size of the reservoir, along with the relative scarcity of boats (at least motorized ones), makes it very attractive to migrating waterfowl. Many birders favor a walk that leads them north from the ornithology center, then west, and back around on a dike that encloses a portion of the reservoir. Adjacent mudflats, islands and open water host shorebirds and waterfowl, while the wooded trails immediately north and south of the ornithology center afford views into the tops of trees rooted far below along the water’s edge, which helps minimize neck strain when searching for those species that prefer higher perches. Beyond that, your best bet on the park’s east side is to ask for a trail map at the gate and explore.

My own preference is to visit the Starling Nature Preserve, which lies on the western side of the lake and is also good for birding. A trail leading west from the parking area traverses a long boardwalk over seasonally wet areas, eventually crosses over a small creek and then climbs through relatively isolated woods to the adjacent Eagles Crest Recreation Area. The shorter trail that leads south from the parking area offers access to a couple of overlooks that afford views of adjacent streams and mudflats.


North Entrance

South Entrance

Starling Preserve

Most of the text on these
Indiana Natural Areas pages
is excerpted from my book
Wild Indiana, available from
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