Summit Lake State Park
Summit Lake State Park was established in 1988. It offers hiking trails, campgrounds, and an 800 acre man made lake for fishing, bird watching and a close look at rural Indiana prairie, wetland, and woodland landscapes.
Above is a view of Summit Lake taken from Trail 2 on an overcast day. Learn more about what this park has to offer and take a look around the area with some photos I've taken.
About Summit Lake State Park
Consisting of 2,680 acres of land with an 800 acre lake, Summit Lake State Park lies north of New Castle Indiana off of State Road 3 and can be accessed easily from Messick Road.
The lake was formed when the Big Blue River was damed in 1980. Areas of the park are forested but there is also a significant portion which is covered with prairie grasses and wildflowers. It's a great spot for birdwatching and wildlife photography.
Visitors to the park can rent rowboats, paddle boats and canoes. Outboard motors are permitted but can operate at idle speed only. Fishermen will find a good supply of bass, sunfish, crappie, yellow perch, and channel catfish in the lake.
All campsites have electricity and a youth tent camp area is also available.
Summit Lake offers approximately 5 miles of hiking trails. I would consider all of the hiking to be easy as the area is generally flat and the trails are wide with dirt and grass surfaces.
Trail 2 is pictured above. It lies at the south western end of the park and follows along the shoreline of a portion of Summit Lake. It's 1.25 miles long. Hikers go through a wooded area with oak and hickory trees as well as small shore line growth and then through some open fields. There are many opportunities to view the lake (as seen in the photo at the top of the page)
Trail 1 is 2 miles long and includes long stretches of hiking through open prairie areas although a portion of the trail takes you through the woods where you will see a variety of trees such as beech, ash, and cherry. A portion of trail 1 is pictured at the right where the trail leads from the prairie into a small woods.
Trail 1 is perfect for those seeking wildflowers. I found it a bit difficult to navigate however. There are many opportunities to take a fork in the trail, and almost without exception these forks were not labeled. The map doesn't appear to show these forks in the trail so using it wasn't really all that helpful. In fact, there wasn't really any signage indicating the trail head when I started either. If hikers just stick close to the waters edge and make note of their general direction it should be fine, but it's not really well marked at all.
Another view of Summit Lake (on an overcast day) is offered here to the right. This is a view taken from the parking lot near the swimming beach just before taking off on Trail 3.
Trail 3 runs .9 miles and can be picked up from the parking lot at the beach. It loops through a small wooded area and also provides some nice views of the lake and a bit of prairie as well. The walking is easy just as on all of the trails at the park. The picture to the right is from a portion of trail 3.
Trail 4 is the final bit of hiking available at the park. It's a loop trail located between the road and the lake at the southern end of the park. It offers good viewing of water fowl and a glimpse of both the lake and some meadow/wetland areas. It's a .75 mile walk.
Although Summit Lake State Park is most notable for fishing, it does offer some very nice hiking and observation of wildflowers and birds. If you want a detailed map of the park and it's trails, you can find one here. If you wish to make camping reservations, it can be done online here.