Eagle Creek Park
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.
The park is a favorite of local birders; the size of the reservoir, along with the (virtual) lack of boats, makes it very attractive to migrating waterfowl. Most 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.
Numerous trails meander over the property, but most don’t venture far from some kind of human intervention – roads, buildings, fences, etc. 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. A trail from the parking area crosses over a small creek and then climbs through relatively isolated woods to the adjacent Eagles Crest Recreation Area. Less defined trails lead from there to points along the lake shore.
Marion County. There are two entrances to the main part of the park, both are subject to a fee.
North Entrance: From I-65 Exit 124, go west ¼ mile on 71st Street; it curves south and leads directly to the entrance gate.
North 39 52.658 West 86 17.706
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South Entrance: From I-465 Exit 19, go west 0.8 miles on 56th Street to the entrance on the right.
North 39 51.151 West 86 17.532
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Starling Nature Preserve: From the intersection of Lafayette Road and 71st Street, just east of I-65 Exit 124, go north 1.0 mile on Lafayette Road to Traders Lane, and then turn left and proceed 0.45 miles to Wilson, where you turn right and go another 0.45 miles to a parking area on the left (no fee).
Nature Center, bathrooms, water, shelters, other facilities in season.
Nearby Natural Areas
Habeck: Wild Indiana; Page 86
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
McPherson: Indiana Best Hikes; Page 252
McPherson: Nature Walks in Southern Indiana; Page 523