Chain O Lakes State Park
A Visit to Chain O Lakes State Park In Indiana
Chain O' Lakes State Park lies in north eastern Indiana, near Albion. It encompasses 2,718 acres of land and a series of small lakes that are perfect for canoeing, fishing, and paddle boating during the warmer months.
Chain O' Lakes was first established as a state park in 1960. You can learn more about it here and get a glimpse of the area through the photos on this page.
Activities at Chain O' Lakes State Park
Chain O' Lakes offers visitors a number of recreational activities including hiking, boating, fishing, swimming, camping, and picnicing.
There are just over 9 miles of hiking trails available in the park. They are are easy to moderate in difficulty with only limited climbing along any of them. The various hiking trails either circle or connect among the various lakes at the park. Trail 1 begins near the Boat Launch at Dock Lake and encircles that area, running a distance of 1.5 miles. Tail 2, which is accessible via trail 1, encircles Bowen Lake and runs a distance of 1 mile. Trail 3 is .5 mi. long and merely connects the campground area to the beach area on Sand Lake.
Trail 4 runs 1 mile from Norman Lake near the Youth Group Tent Camp over to Trail 5 and 7 near Sand Lake. Trail 5 runs 1.3 miles around Sand Lake and Trail 6 at 2.5 miles, runs from the Cabin area through the eastern end of the park and back up toward Dock lake and Trail 1. Trail 7 runs 1.8 miles, starting at Bowen Lake on Trail 2, looping around near Weber Lake and then Sand Lake, before taking hikers back to the Bowen Lake area. Trail 8 is a short .5 mi. walk around Finster Lake near the Nature Center. (You can see the Nature center pictured above.)
During the winter months, cross country skiing is popular along the hiking trails when snow is present.
With 212 acres of lakes, Chain O'Lakes is a great place for boaters and fishermen.
During the summer months, visitors can swim along the small beach on the south eastern tip of Sand Lake. The beach is open from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend generally. There are also rowboat, canoe, kayak, and paddle boat rentals available in this area. A small Fishing Pier is available on the opposite side of Sand Lake. (Part of the beach is pictured here.)
Eight of the small lakes at Chain O' Lakes State Park are interconnected by channels. Miller Lake at the west end of the park, River Lake, Mud Lake, Weber Lake, Sand Lake (the largest), Bowen Lake, Dock Lake, and finally Long Lake at the western end of the park. There is no charge to launch boats at the park. Only electric motors are allowed.
Bass, bluegill and other small gamefish are often found in the lakes here.
Ice fishing is an activity that can be enjoyed during the winter months.
Staying at Chain O' Lakes State Park
There is no inn at Chain O' Lakes but there are cabins and a campground. There are 133 campsites available as well as a Youth Group Tent Camp. Making a reservation is easy by going to the Indiana DNR site.
Cabins are located near the southern tip of Long Lake (pictured here and below) and the main campground just east of there.
There are also no restaurants at this park, although there is a general store at the campround and numerous picnic shelters and picnic areas where a meal can be enjoyed in this peaceful setting. For those who don't bring their own picnic, nearby Albion provides a number of restaurants.
Chain O' Lakes is a quiet park most of the time, with light to moderate use so it's perfect for fishing and for those seeking a quiet, relaxed time away. It doesn't have steep cliffs, gorges, cascading waterfalls or other dramatic scenes but it's filled with small wildlife like squirrels, birds, chipmunk, and deer, and has a very gently rolling landscape covered with hardwoods, other deciduous trees, stands of pine, and wildflowers.
It's also a short drive, perhaps an hour away from Shipshewana where an Amish community provides shopping, dining, arts, theater, the largest flea market in the area, and more.