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Pokagon State Park

Updated on February 13, 2018

A Visit to Pokagon State Park

Pokagon State Park lies in the north eastern corner of Indiana, near Angola, Indiana. The park offers visitors camping, fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, and horseback riding. In the winter, sledding, ice skating, cross country skiing, ice fishing, and even a toboggan ride can be added to the list of entertainment.

During a visit to the park in September 2009 I took some photographs and will share them with you here. Learn more about what the park has to offer, enjoy a few of it's sights, and find other pages about Pokagon here.

About the Park

The land that includes Pokagon State Park was originally inhabited by the Potawatomi Indians. Later it was established as a state park in 1925. It covers 1,260 acres of land and is bordered on it's west and much of it's southern side by Lake James while Snow Lake is near it's northwestern end. Getting to the park is very easy as it lies just off of interstate highway 69 at US highway 27 just 5 miles north of Angola, Indiana.

There are several campgrounds within the park and a number of picnic shelters. Visitors can make online reservations for any of theses facilities online. There are also cabins for those who want a rustic experience as well an Inn for those who want more of a resort type of experience.

The Potawatomi Inn includes a swimming pool, sauna, restaurant, conference center, and much more. The Inn offers a lovely view of the lake as well as a roaring fireplace on cold winter days and gives visitors the feel of a rustic European Chalet. Cabins are in the woods nearby and the volleyball courts, toboggan run, and beach are all located in the same area.

The park has a saddle barn and a two mile bridle trail as well as a beach that's open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Boats can also be rented. Fishermen can find bass, bluegill, walleye, crappie, catfish, and northern pike in the lake.

The Toboggan Run, pictured above at it's foot, was originally built by the CCC in the 1930's but has of course been renovated. It's a 1,780 foot refrigerated twin track and is open to visitors on weekends from the end of November through the end of February. It's open additional hours during holiday periods. The toboggans can be rented by the hour and hit a top speed of about 40 miles per hour. You can learn more about it the Tobbogan Run on the website or view a video of a ride below.

Pokagon also has a paved 1.6 mile bike trail that winds around from the main entrance gate, beyond the saddle barn, through some picnic areas, and ends up at the nature center. It's an easy, level ride.

The Hiking Trails at Pokagon

Pokagon offers over 13 miles of hiking trails The landscape is mostly wooded and rolling but there are also some wetlands and marsh. A trail map can be found here.

Trail 1 is 2 miles long and lies on the southwestern border of the park with Lake James lying at it's edge. It can be picked up between the Volleyball Courts and the Lake and will loop around returning hikers to the Inn as it parallels the bike trail near the saddle barn. This trail is easy to moderate and gives you the opportunity to hike over to the Nature Center.

Trail 2 is a 2.2 mile hike at the northwestern end of the park and is easily accessed from the various campground areas. Trail 3, also 2.2 miles long, can be access near the Inn parking lot and gives hikers access to a number of other trails. Trail 2, 7, 8, 9, and 6 can all be picked up here.It will also lead to the highest point in the Park, Hell's Point where you can climb a few steps and get a view of the surrounding woods. Trail 3 will give you a taste of not only the area hardwood forest, but some marsh as well.

The Beechwood Nature Preserve is a small area that offers an additional hike through preserved forest and meadows that is lightly traveled. It is not part of Pokagon State Park and is not state owned but lies at the northeast end of the park and is accessible off of US highway 27.

Trails 4 (1.2 miles) and 5 (.7 miles) offer the easiest hiking at Pokagon and can be accessed near the entrance of the campground at the Black Cherry Picnic Area. Trail 5 will take you to the Bath/Beach House where you can swim or get refreshments.

Trail 6, is a short hike off of trail 3 which loops around through an open meadow area, while Trail 7, 1.8 miles long (Blue Bird Hills) is another easy hike giving a view of prairie vegetation and wetlands. Trail 8, 1 mile, and Trail 9, 1.7 miles, can also be accessed from Trail 3 and give hikers a range of environments, from hardwood forest, to open meadows, marshes, and prairie land. All of these areas are great for spotting birds, wildflowers, and small wildlife during the warmer months.

I wouldn't consider any of the hiking at Pokagon to be rugged. The footing is always solid, and although it's rolling, there are no extended climbs. Trails are also well marked.

A Look Around Pokagon State Park - Click on Thumbnails to View Larger Images

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A path into the woods, heading north from the InnHeading out onTrail 3Along Trail 1Looking toward the end of the Toboggan Run in September
A path into the woods, heading north from the Inn
A path into the woods, heading north from the Inn
Heading out onTrail 3
Heading out onTrail 3
Along Trail 1
Along Trail 1
Looking toward the end of the Toboggan Run in September
Looking toward the end of the Toboggan Run in September
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lake James, zooming out from the back of the Potawatomi InnNearing Hell's Point, looking back down the trailAlong the trail 6 pathEmerging from the marsh along trail 6Lake James near the beach on trail 5
Lake James, zooming out from the back of the Potawatomi Inn
Lake James, zooming out from the back of the Potawatomi Inn
Nearing Hell's Point, looking back down the trail
Nearing Hell's Point, looking back down the trail
Along the trail 6 path
Along the trail 6 path
Emerging from the marsh along trail 6
Emerging from the marsh along trail 6
Lake James near the beach on trail 5
Lake James near the beach on trail 5

Take a Ride on the Tobbogan Run

Let Us Know You Stopped By!

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      On the BridgeA Paper By Sean VitousekThe Bixby Creek Bridge of Highway 1 is California's favorite coaatsl bridge. The bridge is technically sound, but more than being thoughtfully planned and well constructed; it is socially purposeful and symbolically important to its travelers. Building the bridge and Highway 1 were important public works projects which brought relief to California's unemployed during the Great Depression, and which today connects travelers though this dramatic coaatsl region. This setting makes the projects' environmental concern and aesthetics important to avoid detracting from the natural beauty of the region. While works of humans are often looked down upon by environmentalists, the bridge rises above these issues in its true concern for nature, and gives travelers a new perspective of nature viewed from above. This bridge not only connects travelers to their destination, but connects travelers with nature.Connecting California's CoastThe California coast with its purple mountains dropping off into the sea is the end of the nation and the destination of historical westward travel by early pioneers. As California matured and grew in population, transportation engineers conceived a route running directly along the coastline to best serve the purpose of connecting California's coast. This route, Highway 1 has become the symbol of the California coast. The highway serves purposes above and beyond those of the classic highway which provides a commercial network, linking goods and persons to their destinations as quickly and efficiently as possible. This classic purpose is aptly demonstrated by Inter-state 5, build on level terrain in California's central valley and better suits high-speed transportation. Highway 1 on the other hand is unsuitable of mass transit because of its geographic characteristics; elevated, meandering and dramatic. Through accommodating and accentuating these characteristics into the design of Highway 1 a much different purpose is attained. Highway 1 serves to connect and conduct travelers though and to the natural and cultural environments in a manner perhaps more spiritual than commercial. As a journalist affirmed, Traveling Highway 1 is more than just a scenic drive, it's a pilgrimage, a reconnection to California's history, environment, mythology its spirit. Due to its character Highway 1 serves to uphold the spirit of this coastline. And there is no better example of this spirit in practice than the design and construction of the Bixby creek bridge.Building the BridgeThe completion of a coaatsl highway depended on spanning five canyons, one of which was Bixby Canyon. The construction of the Bixby Creek Bridges and Highway 1 to the south exemplifies an approach to these natural obstacles' that gave the greater highway project identity and purpose and demonstrated the designers' and builders' great care of the environment.The first engineering concern was assessing how the highway would cross Bixby Canyon. The options were either a coaatsl bridge or a much smaller inland bridge and a 900 ft tunnel cutting though the Santa Lucia Mountain Range at the valley's origin. This tunnel would not allow for scenic views, and would align Highway 1 in a way that would cut directly though the Los Padres National Forest, which local environmentalists wished to preserve. A bridge was a worthy option in the eye of these environmentalists as it preserved one area of resource value and did not adversely impact on Bixby Canyon or Creek. In doing so it became a symbol of passing above the environment, and of accomplishing a practical objective while still allowing the environmental processes such as the creek to run their natural course.The next decisions were what kind of bridge to design and where it should be located relative to the coastline. An arch bridge serves an aesthetic purpose as it heightens the affect of rising above the environment and reflects contours of the canyon. The decision to locate the bridge directly on the coast would help to define the rest of the Highway 1 project (completed after Bixby Bridge) as well as remain essential in its environmental concern. Near the coast, erosion and the coaatsl environment limit the further growth of forests like the inland forests the environmentalists wanted to preserve. As a coaatsl project was desirable in the eyes of both the developers and environmentalists, the way was clear for Highway 1.The final decision was what material should be used in construction of this bridge, steel or concrete. The decision to make the bridge out of concrete reflected both economic and aesthetic concerns. A steel bridge would cost more to build, be negatively affected by fog and salt spray and require expensive maintenance and painting. A rusting steel bridge would not be in harmony with the rest of the verdant environment. Building the bridge out of concrete would provide much less of an industrialist contrast (which steel would have) to the natural environment and echo the color and composition of the natural rock cliff formations of the area. Although the Gustav Eiffel's steel Garabit Viaduct on the Thuyere River in France contrasts nicely with its surrounding environment, its poinsettia' red color seems to standout against rather than harmonize with its setting which detracts from the overall aesthetics.In 1931, CH Purcell, the California state highway engineer and FW Panhorst, the bridge engineer and designer were given the job of making the project a reality. The bridge contract was awarded to the Ward Engineering co. of San Francisco for $203,334 and concrete placing began on Nov 4. Wooden false work, built up 240 ft from the floor of the creek, provided support for the arch's concrete as it was hardening. Ocean swells pounded this false work and delayed the bridges completion until the winter swells passed highlighting how close this bridge is to the ocean. Upon its completion the bridge, costing $199,861, had the longest concrete arch span, 320 ft, on the California State Highway System and a rise of 120 ft. The bridge's roadway: 714 ft long (only 45% of it lies above the arch) and 24 ft wide, cost $11.66 per square foot, which seems economic considering all the structure that supports it. The arch supports a live load of these 2 lanes of traffic at 640 lb./ft each and a dead load of the combined masses of all concrete used in the arch (per total length). All together the bridge needed to support a load of 28700 lb./ft*. Because the bridge is an arch bridge much of this load is carried to the sides of the canyon. The equations that govern the vertical and horizontal forces are: Vertical Force, V = qL = 28700(320) = 4,600,000 lb.2 2Horizontal Force, H = qL2 = 28700(320)2 = 3,061,333 lb.8d 8(120)From these forces we can determine the stress, f, put on the arch at midspan by the equation:f = H = 1530666.5 = 472.4 psiA 3240*-Where H = the horizontal force (in lb.) and A = the cross-sectional area (in sq. in.)-As you can see the H in the stress equation is half that of the initial H. This is because the bridge has two arches which support the load equally.And from the stress put on the system we can calculate the safety factor:Safety Factor, SF = fc = 3000 = 6.35f 472.4-Where fc is the breaking stress of concrete 3000 psi and f is the actual stress of the arch (in psi)This safety factor says that it can support more than 6 times as much weight as it was designed to support and is considerably safe.'

    • kristalulabelle profile image


      6 years ago from Wisconsin

      beautiful pics!

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Another wonderful lens from you. The Pokagon State Park looks so lovely

    • rebeccahiatt profile image


      9 years ago

      By the pics it looks like a beautiful park, I don't believe I have ever been there.

    • GramaBarb profile image


      9 years ago from Vancouver

      I would love to go for a long walk in this park in all its seasons. Great lens!

    • mariaamoroso profile image


      9 years ago from Sweden

      Would like to see Pochahontas in her canoe there. Beautiful photos!

    • NatureMaven profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi Mulberry. I loved the tobaggan run. I wish we had that here in Maryland. Another neat lens! *****

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Gosh, it was time to take a break from the action of Squidoo and my normal work day -- so I dropped by for a little exercise -- enjoyed my walk through this park! ;)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Looks wonderful

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Looks wonderful. I love the colours of the leaves.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Pokagon is a beautiful park! your pictures are great!


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