Chain O' Lakes
2355 E. 75 South
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.
Indian Burial Mound Hike on Trail
#2 on the North shore of Bowen Lake.
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.
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.
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 parks 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 Schoolhouses 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 Countys 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 parks 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.
Boat Launch Ramp
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
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
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.
Electric / 331 sites
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More on Hiking Here
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.
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.
Public phones are located near the campground control station and the beach.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION about activities and facilities is available at the park office.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Write: Chain OLakes State Park
2355 E. 75 South
Toll Free: 800-457-8283
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
$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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
OUTSIDE CHAIN O' LAKES PARK
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
Greater Than 10 Miles of Chain O' Lakes you can find: