Pokagon State Park
Pokagon State Park includes about 1,200 acres, partially bounded by Lake James and Snow Lake. There is an Inn and an excellent nature center, but the parkís most famous feature may be the refrigerated toboggan run that operates during the winter months.
View from Inn
Lake James is very popular with recreational boaters, who often tie their vessels together in vast party rafts. Occasionally, boaters come ashore, coolers and all. The sound of racing engines and revelry can carry great distances over water, and that tends to drive me away from the shore during the summer.
Trail 3 starts at the Inn parking lot and heads east toward the Potawatomi Nature Preserve. A short trail spur leads to a floating dock that looks out on Lake Lonidaw, a kettle hole lake that is about 35 feet deep. It can be a wonderful place to watch the day begin, as mists rise from the lake and the day world comes alive (top image, left).
Tamarack grows here; the tree is unusual in Indiana and occurs only in our northern counties, usually in wet environments. Look for slender branches bearing clusters of twenty or more pine-like needles, each about an inch long. The needles drop in the fall. Tamarack cones are small, generally less than an inch long.
Tamarack cones are a favorite food source for squirrels. Lucky spring time visitors to the preserve may also see the spectacular yellow ladyís slipper orchid growing in wet areas along the boardwalk.
Trail 6 is a side loop of Trail 3; it skirts wetlands between Lake Lonidaw and Lake Charles. Trail 3 continues north, first crossing the park entrance road (careful!) then climbing to Hellís Point, 135 feet above Lake James. Thereís a viewing platform here; after descending a long flight of stairs, the trail heads west then south, back toward the Inn. Along the way, it intersects with Trail 7, a two-mile lollipop that explores a mostly open area on the north end of Pokagon.
Steuben County. From I-69 Exit 154, turn west and look for prominent signs that will direct you straight to the park.
North 41 42.456 West 85 01.358
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Inn, campground, showers, bathrooms, nature center.
Nearby Natural Areas
Bloom: Hiking Indiana; Page 48
Goll: Indiana State Parks; Page 166
Habeck: Wild Indiana; Page 45
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
McPherson: Indiana Best Hikes; Page 18