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Chain O' Lakes

2355 E. 75 South
Albion, IN 46701

GPS Coordinates:
 Latitude: 41.3358417
 Longitude: -85.3786083

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The park will be closed November 14 and 15 and again November 28 and 29 for deer reductions.

We appreciate your patience while we undertake this necessary action to manage habitat within the park.

Please let wild animals remain wild. 
Feeding deer is prohibited. Feeding of wild animals can result in harm to both animals and people. Animals who depend on handouts become a nuisance to park visitors and a danger to themselves. Please lock all food and coolers inside cars or campers. Roll up car windows tightly.

Some of the wildlife you are likely to encounter within the park are white-tailed deer, rabbits, ground squirrels, chipmunks, mink, opossum, skunks, raccoons, gophers, fox, badgers, beaver, coyotes, and groundhogs. A check-list of the nearly 200 birds that have been identified in the park is available at the park office


Starting in 2011, Chain O' Lakes State Park will be the site of The HUFF 50K Trail Run and Relay, the twelfth largest ultramarathon in North America.


This is lake country and a small boater's paradise. Nine connecting lakes will be the center of your adventures at Chain O'Lakes. Paddle through the chain of serene kettle lakes, hike the 10 miles of forested trails, fish the electric-motors-only lakes, stay overnight in a forested hillside family cabin, or visit the park's old one-room schoolhouse nature center. Other facilities available for visitors to enjoy include a campground, beach and picnic shelters.

Things to see while at Chian O' Lakes:

Indian Burial Mound Hike on Trail #2 on the North shore of Bowen Lake.
 Indian Burial Mound located on Trail #1 on the high ground between two lakes has been nearly destroyed by IPFW  archaeologists in Fort Wayne. Their resident grave robber took his reports and artifacts with him when he left the university and therfore no information exists.
The Iroquois burial mound at Chain of Lakes Park was desecrated by IPFW archaeologist a few years ago leaving it in this state of ruin.  University archaeologist believe that they have no responsibility to restore what they have destroyed.  No sign designates the burial mound, with the DNR being the organization that funds much of the destruction done by the universities.

Kettle Lakes and Bogs Natural forces during the Pleistocene Epoch created these now-rare lakes and bogs which have been preserved in parks such as Chain-O-Lakes. Grab a trail guide and see what Native Americans and settlers were able to see on a hike back in time! Pokagon State Park (Angola, IN) and Spicer Lake Nature Preserve in St. Joseph County (10 miles Northwest of South Bend, IN) are the only other locations where such lakes and bogs still exist.

 Nature Center - An old schoolhouse (complete with old desks that house inkwells) houses the Nature and naturalist interpretive centers. There is a generous collection of local amphibians (snakes) and stuffed mammals in the center, as well as an outdoor/indoor glass beehive. Park guides and short interpretive courses are also available.
The Nature Center closes daily at 5:00 PM

 One of the most intereting features of the park is its narrow shape, about 2 miles wide and 4 miles long. Within its boundaries are 2,718 acres, including 212 surface acres of water and more than 7 miles of varying shoreline.

History of The Chain O Lakes Area:

The park owes much of its surface form and geologic makeup to the action of glaciers during the ice age (Pleistocene Epoch). The effects of the most recent major ice advance, the continental glacier of the Wisconsin Age, are evident. The steeply rolling hills, bogs and interconnected lakes bear witness to the massive ice sheets that advanced over and then melted from this part of the Midwest near the end of the Pleistocene between 13,000 and 14,000 years ago. The lakes in this chain are kettle lakes, formed when the glaciers were still huge blocks of ice. Rivers of water resulting from melting ice carved the channels that connect nine of the park’s 13 lakes.

 The Chain O Lakes area was inhabited by central Algonquian Tribes when Europeans first arrived in the Mid-1600's. The predominant tribes in the region at that time were the Miami, Mascouten and Potawatomi. These Native American groups led a semi-mobile lifestyle and grew corn, hunted, fished and gathered wild plant foods. A village of about 30 bark wigwams was located on the north shore of Bowen Lake, which was once called Indian Lake.

Joliet and Marquette passed through what today is Chain O Lakes State Park in 1673, as they traveled the Fox River during their Illinois explorations. French trappers and traders were the first Europeans to explore the area. The first European settlement was at Fort Hill, near Mundelein, a large mound rising out of the prairie, formerly a lookout point for the Indians.

William Bowen was one the first settlers in the area in the 1830s. In 1840 he constructed a home on the north shore of the lake that now bears his name.

Chain O Lakes became a state park in 1945, when the State of Illinois made an initial purchase of 840 acres. In the 1930's a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp became the Chain O Lakes Conservation Area. This land was incorporated into the state park in 1957. The farm at the park was purchased by the Department of Conservation in 1969. The property was originally owned by the Stevens family, farmers who received the land under a land grant in 1843.

 One of the unique buildings in the park is the nature center. Located in the restored one-room Stanley Schoolhouse, it continues its tradition as an educational building. The current building was constructed in 1915 and was the fourth school at the location since 1848. During that period in Indiana, schools were originally placed in the center of four sections within a township to accommodate children walking to school no more than two miles. As school systems developed and consolidated, Stanley Schoolhouse’s mission evolved from serving grades one through eight to educating grades four through six until 1954, when it held its last public school class.

The Department of Conservation, the precursor of the DNR, recommended this natural lake area located in Noble County’s Green Township as a future state park site in the late 1950s. A year later the Indiana General Assembly supported the process of land acquisition and park development. With the backing of the commissioners of Noble, Whitley and Allen counties, a joint county park board purchased 1,200 acres for the project, while the state acquired about 300 additional acres. The park was dedicated on June 12, 1960.

When Chain O’ Lakes State Park was being established, the area was populated by farms, mostly orchards and pasture, and family lake cabins. In the early days of the park’s development, several such cabins were rented to visitors and a simple campground was opened in a field. Today 18 modern cabins and a 413 shaded campground sites with up to 50-amp electric service await overnight guests.

We hope you enjoy your stay at Chain O’ Lakes and invite you to take advantage of the abundance it offers.


Visitors shall observe the following rules, which are designed to fulfill the purpose for which state parks were established, namely, to preserve a primitive landscape in its natural condition for the public’s use and enjoyment.


• Do not injure or damage any structure, rock, tree, flower, bird or wild animal. Do NOT gather limbs, brush or trees (either dead or alive) for firewood because they rebuild the natural humus.

• Any firearm (except lawfully possessed handguns), BB gun, air gun, CO2 gun, bow and arrow, paint gun or spear gun in possession in a state park must be unloaded or un-nocked and stored in a case or locked within a vehicle, except when owner is participating in an activity authorized by written permit.

• Dogs and cats must be attended at all times and kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Pets are not allowed in the family cabins or their immediate vicinity.

• Vending or advertising without permission of the Department of Natural Resources is prohibited.

• Camping is permitted only in the campground. Youth groups must be under adult supervision.

• Fires shall be built only in designated places.

• Please comply with the Carry In/Carry Out trash policy in all day-use areas. Overnight guests shall put waste in receptacles provided for that purpose.

• Motorists shall observe posted speed limits and park only in designated areas.

• Swimming is limited to the beach at Sand Lake.

• Drinking water should be taken only from pumps, hydrants or fountains provided for that purpose. This water is tested regularly for purity.

• Report lost or found articles to the park office.

• All motorized vehicles shall remain on paved roadway. Snowmobiles are prohibited.

• Use of metal detectors is prohibited.

• Alcohol is allowed, though not in the campgrounds, youth camps, or in public buildings (i.e. Nature Center, Reservation Center, etc.). The park does provide non-alcoholic refreshments at the beach and in the camp store.

 Alcohol: is strictly forbidden at Indiana Dunes State Park and in all youth camps. At other properties, both daily visitors and campers are asked to be responsible when drinking alcohol. Possession of alcohol by persons under the age of 21 is against the law in Indiana; and this will be enforced.

• The park is closed from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m., except to campers at their site, and to cabin guests with a receipt or key.



Boat Launch Ramp
Boats, canoes, kayaks and paddleboats are rented by the hour or day. Life jackets are also available.

Only electric trolling motors are allowed.

There is no charge to launch boats at the park, nor is there any horsepower limitations on boats using any of the Chain O' Lakes. Electric trolling motors only are allowed on boats on Turner Lake, a 44 acre lake in the park. A user fee is required for all boats using the Chain O Lakes charged by the Fox Waterway Agency. Stickers are available at the park concession stand/boat launch.

Boating Fees

 Canoe Rental - Fridays, weekends and holidays only: $2 hour / $20 daily

Paddleboat Rental - Fridays, weekends and holidays only: $5 hour / No daily rental

 Rowboat Rental - Daily: $5 hour / $20 daily

Personal Watercraft - Free: Trolling motors only. Use public boat ramps and obey park regulations.


Campground equipped with flush toilets, hot water and showers. Occupancy is limited to 14 consecutive nights. Most sites accommodate trailers. Electricity and dump stations available. A rally campground and youth tent area are available. Camping reservations available through the Central Reservation System.

See campground maps

Electric / 331 sites
Non-Electric / 49 sites
Primitive / 33 sites
Rally Camp / 4 sites
Canoe Camp
Youth Tent Areas
Campground Reservations
Camp Store
Dumping Station

Campground Reservations 


Family cabins may be rented from April through October. Cabins are rented by the week from Saturday to Saturday during June, July and August. They may be rented by the night during April, May, September and October. Non-smoking cabins are available. Cabins are not rented to persons younger than 21.

See More On Cabins Here


Bass, bluegill and other small gamefish are common. A state fishing license, which may be purchased at the park office, is required.

Ice Fishing included


The park has a small grocery and camping store on grounds.

Located in the campground. 

The general store is open year-round and provides perishable and non-perishable food, drinks (non-alcoholic), bait, ice (seasonal), and other general, non-food items.
Firewood and souvenirs are also available.

HINT! You can get goods cheaper outside the state park!


More than 10 miles of easy to moderate hiking trails are available.

Chain O Lakes has four trail systems. The Nature's Way hiking trail starts at Oak Grove Picnic Area and is a little over 2 miles in length. The Pike Marsh North Picnic Area has a trail especially designed for disabled users that is about a mile long. The park also contains an equestrian trail with three loops and a total length of 8 miles.
Visitors can bring in their own horses for enjoyment on the trail. A parking lot for horse trailers with access to the equestrian trails is located near the park entrance.
A biking/hiking trail, 6 miles in length can be accessed at any picnic area between the concession stand and the park office.

In the winter all trails can be used by cross-country skiers with the park office doubling as a warming house on weekends with 3" of snow; hours are 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.

See More on Hiking Here

No Ski Rental

 Nature Center

A naturalist is available through the summer months. Hikes, Junior Naturalist and Hoosier Ecologist programs, plus evening activities are offered. Program schedules are at the gatehouse, park office or nature center or online at InterpretiveServices.IN.gov.


The park features seven picnic areas with tables, water fountains, grills and toilets.

Oak Grove, Maple Grove and Oak Point have playground equipment.
Oak Pont, Deer path, Oak Grove and Catfish Cove have picnic shelters.

Reservations and a $25 fee are required for shelters. Groups of 25 or more must secure advanced written permission for picnics from the Park Office.


Soft drinks, ice cream and snacks are available at the beach refreshment stand. Operating hours are posted.


Reservations for shelters are available through the Central Reservation System.


There is no charge for swimming. The bathhouse and beach are open the Saturday before Memorial Day and no later than Labor Day.


Public phones are located near the campground control station and the beach.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION about activities and facilities is available at the park office.


Write: Chain O’Lakes State Park

2355 E. 75 South

Phone: 260-636-2654 

Toll Free: 800-457-8283 

Reservations: 866-622-6746  Area Accommodations

Entrance Fees

From the North: From I-80/90 head south on IN-9 then turn east on CR-75S into the park.

From the South: Take I-69N from Fort Wayne onto US-33N then go north on IN-9 then north onto CR-75S into the park.

$5.00 In-State Daily Entrance: noncommercial vehicles with Indiana license plates, every day including holidays. Admits driver and passengers.

$7.00 Out-of-State Daily Entrance: noncommercial vehicles with out-of-state license plates, every day including holidays. Admits driver and passengers.

$2.00 Daily Fee

for each person, 5 years old and older, entering as a pedestrian, on bicycle or horseback.^

Passenger Vans/School Buses
with no Scheduled Group Program/Motorcoaches/Commercial buses

$2.00 per person, ages 5 years and above 

Groups with program reservations

$1.00 per person program fee.

 $5.00 Daily Horse Permit

Entrance for one day per horse at DNR properties where horse use is allowed.

$36.00 Annual entrance permit

Admits noncommercial vehicles, driver and passengers to DNR properties which charge a gate fee.* Good from January 1, until December 31, of the year issued. You can buy annual permits from The Mother Nature's Mercantile.

$46.00 Non-resident annual entrance permit

Admits non-Indiana resident noncommercial vehicles, driver and passengers to DNR properties which charge a gate fee.* Good from January 1, until December 31, of the year issued.

$18.00 Golden Hoosier Passport

For Indiana residents who are at least 65 years of age or a resident eligible for Social Security disability payments under 42 U.S. C. 401 (proof of eligibility must be presented at time of purchase and disabled individual must be present in the vehicle at time of use); admits noncommercial vehicle, driver, and passengers. Good from January 1 until December 31 of the year issued. Price is 1/2 the Resident Annual Entrance Permit.

Golden Hoosier Permit Special Cases:

Indiana residents who are former POW's or their surviving spouses are entitled to a free Indiana Golden Hoosier Permit. These are mailed automatically at the beginning of each year. Direct questions to jplanck@dnr.in.gov.


Indiana residents who qualify for a DAV1 or DAV2 license plate, may purchase an Indiana Golden Hoosier Permit regardless of age. Please present a completed form 32584 (Certificate of Eligibility for Veteran License Plates) at the time of purchase.

 *DNR Annual Entrance Permits and Golden Hoosier Passports are not valid at Indiana Historic Sites that charge an entrance fee.



Located Less Than 1 Mile of Chain O' Lakes is a Restaurant

Within 10 Miles of Chain O' Lakes you can find:

•Admin Service, Copying
•Admin Service, Faxing
•Area Attraction
•Orchard / Produce Farm
•Seasonal Festivals

 Greater Than 10 Miles of Chain O' Lakes you can find:

•Car Rentals
•Emergency Services
•Gardens, Botanical Displ
•Historic Sites
•Medical Clinic
•Putt-Putt Course