Originally posted April 2009.
Pokagon State Park is a great example of what the Indiana State Park system has to offer. At just over 1200 acres, this park has something for everyone.
There are a wide variety of activities to choose from. Bicycle rental, snow-ski rental, horseback riding, boat rental, hiking, fishing and a public beach. During the winter months the famous toboggan run is also quite popular.
The public beach is located along the shores of Lake James. The lake was glacier-made and is spring-fed. The bottom of the beach area is covered with sand that was brought out in wheel-barrels during the 1940s when the lake was frozen.
The water in the lake seems very clean. I’ve been swimming in lakes where I came out smelling like fish. Not so here, the water was very refreshing.
We didn’t do a great deal of hiking on this trip, but did venture a little into the Potawatomi Nature preserve. Starting at the Potawatomi Inn we took trail 3 through restored wetland and swamp area. I had never seen wetland before, so wasn’t sure what to expect. I found it to be very beautiful and teeming with life. I’ve never seen so many dragonflies in my life!
After crossing a creek, trail 3 connects with trail 6. We hiked the short .7 mile loop of trail 6 which goes through more typical Indiana hardwood forests.
Trail 6 eventually hooks back up with trail 3 again. We back-tracked along trail 3 and then followed it out to Lake Lonidaw.
At lake Lonidaw we found some benches on a small pier in the lake. We sat there and watched the dragonflies and birds zip around the lake.
Indiana DNR has been trying to control the spread of the dreaded Emerald Ash Borer for several years, but Pokagon was the first park I’ve visited where I was asked at the campground gatehouse if I had brought my own firewood. I hadn’t, but there is a wagon at the gatehouse for confiscated, quarantined firewood.
Pokagon has a pretty large campground area. When we were there most of the campers seemed to be in the electric area, leaving plenty of open campsites in the primitive area where we stayed. This is one of the few primitive campgrounds we’ve stayed at that offered flush toilets and showers, little things that my wife really appreciated.
On our last day there we walked along the toboggan run track all the way down to the beach at the Potawatomi Inn. Besides sun bathers and boat rentals we saw several large, beautiful swans on the lake.
Pokagon State Park is a picture perfect park. Plan your visit today. You’ll be glad you did!