Central Indiana Birding Opportunities - Fall Creek Trail at Geist Dam

Located at the southern end of Geist Reservoir, Fall Creek Trail at Geist Dam is part of the Indy Birding Trail and one of the few public access sites available for viewing this highly developed reservoir.


The main attraction is the water birds which peak in abundance from February through April and again in October and November, but a variety of raptors and songbirds can be found throughout the year. To minimize heat distortion and get the most expansive view of the water, scan with a spotting scope from the concrete path atop the dam.

A flock of Ruddy Ducks gathers near the top of the spillway in November, and in March over 100 Common Loons can sometimes be counted from this vantage point. A flock of Bonaparte's Gulls joins the usual Ring-bills in late fall and early spring. Less common species but reliable species such as scoters, Long-tailed Duck, Red-necked and Eared Grebes, and Red-throated Loon are regularly spotted, making this one of the best locations in central Indiana to find water birds more typical of Lake Michigan.

After scanning the water, walk down the trail along Fall Creek to find Prothonotary Warbler and Louisiana Waterthrush during spring and summer and Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush, and kinglets in fall and winter. With such a variety of habitats, it's no wonder that over 200 species of bird have been recorded from this short section of Fall Creek Trail.

eBird Hotspot Link:

Total Birding Time:
1-2 hours

Best Times to Bird: 
Late fall through early spring are often the best times to watch waterfowl.

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Address: 10053 Fall Creek Road, Indianapolis, IN, 46256. A short trail will take you through the forest and to the best viewing area over the reservoir. 
Hours: Open dawn to dusk
Ownership: Indy Parks and Recreation
Admission: None
Restrictions: Hunting is not allowed.  The parking lot only holds 5-6 vehicles, so arrive early if the weather is nice to ensure that you get a spot.
Nearby Amenities: Numerous restaurants and hotels are available in nearby Castleton and Lawrence. For additional birding opportunities, Fort Harrison State Park is located just a few miles away.
Accessibility: Flat trails, but not paved.
Website: indy.gov
Phone Number: (317) 327-PARK

Written by: Nick Kiehl
Photo by: Don Gorney