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Turkey Foot Park is an undeveloped park at the northern end of Turkey Foot Road north of the Zionsville Golf Course (coordinates 39°58'21.48"N 86°16'5.87"W). The road continues northwest into a development, but dead ends alongside the park if you go straight ahead. This is an old drive that leads to someone’s house so we avoid blocking it, but we have gotten permission from the parks department to put in there. At the northern end of the park is an easy walk to the water and a sand/gravel bar that makes a great put-in.
About a half mile into the trip is a sandbar/strainer combination that put two of us in the water last November (2006). It was more manageable this trip with the water level around a foot lower, and everyone got through with no problems. This obstacle requires a pretty quick left turn upstream of a strainer and across the downstream end of a sandbar while the water is trying to carry you directly through the strainer so it can be a challenge. There is also an eddy upstream of the strainer alongside the sandbar which can force the front end of your boat toward the bar and spin you. It is definitely a place to go single-file and make sure the person ahead of you is completely through even at lower levels.
There are several small drops and riffles in this section that can be entertaining. One is just after the creek turns east on the north side of the golf course, then south along the road. There are several large rocks there to look out for.
About a quarter mile after you pass under the bridge for County Road 1100 there is a creek coming from river left that creates a sandbar and a shallow spot that may require a short portage. Approximately another tenth of a mile downstream there is a small drop with rocks all the way across…you’re going to scrape bottom here if the water level is below 3. Last time we ran it at 3.7 we went right over, this time we all tried different lines and scraped. It’s a fun spot, though as the picture shows. The rest of the way to Lion’s Park is pretty straightforward.
You can see the earlier trip report for the remainder of the trip to 96th Street here, but there have been a couple of changes worth noting since that report; one was a logjam just past the railroad bridge that we portaged around (there is a trail river right) and another tricky sandbar/strainer combination just a couple of hundred yards before the takeout. This one involves the creek being forced to river left at the upstream end of the bar into a fairly narrow channel next to an undercut bank. The bank has some bushes growing over it that you can get caught in. If you get into the bushes but can keep your boat headed straight downstream you should be OK, if you get caught and turned sideways there is enough velocity through there that the creek can easily flip you. We had one swimmer here, fortunately both the water and air temperatures were fairly warm and we were close to the end.
The last couple of trips we have used the bank before the bridge to take out, then pulled the boats under the bridge and up to the parking area. While this is a longer drag/carry, it helps you avoid the steeper bank on the downstream side of the bridge.
Keep in mind when portaging that Eagle Creek in Boone County is not designated a navigable waterway, so please tread lightly and obey any no trespassing signs you may see.
YakCatcher Rod Holder
Classic Freestanding Rack