Northeast Indiana Birding Opportunities - Chain O’ Lakes State Park
The thirteen lakes, channels connecting nine of the lakes, and rolling hills that form the 2,700-acre park are the result of advancing glaciers followed by glacial melt more than 10,000 years ago.
Trails around Sand Lake and Dock Lake along with Trail 4 offer exposure to the park’s different habitats and rich bird life. If visiting outside of the summer breeding season or pressed for time Trail 4 may be omitted or replaced with Trail 8 starting at the Stanley Schoolhouse. A unique way of birding the park in season is by renting a canoe and visiting multiple lakes via the interconnecting channels.
Trail 5 around Sand Lake and Trails 1 and 6 around Dock Lake during summer will produce Prothonotary Warblers, numerous American Redstarts, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Least Flycatchers, Eastern Kingbirds, Baltimore Orioles, and possibly Broad-winged Hawks. Outside of summer, the same trails are productive with permanent residents, migrants, and winter visitors, depending on the time of year.
Trail 4, accessed from the Canoe Camping or other nearby parking lot, traverses heavy forest. In summer, listen for Wood Thrush, Veery, Scarlet Tanager, Ovenbird, and possibly Hooded and Kentucky Warblers. Instead of doubling back on the same trail, consider using Trail 12 for the return trip. Due to the heavy forest cover, Trail 4 can be quiet outside of the nesting season.
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2355 E. 75 S
Albion, IN 46701
The gatehouse is located one mile east of State Road 9 on CR 75 S. This is south of the town of Albion.
Hours: The park hours are 7am to 11pm
Ownership: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of State Parks
Admission: Indiana State Park entrance fees apply. $7 in-state vehicles, $9 out of state vehicles. No gate fees on certain off-season days
Restrictions: Please obey all rules and regulations. A summary of property rules can be found at stateparks.IN.gov/6468.htm.
Parking: Parking is available throughout the park. Park only in designated areas.
Nearby Amenities: Vault toilets are located throughout the park. The beach has the only modern facilities outside of the campground and cabins; these restrooms are open Memorial Day-Labor Day. nature center is part of the beach facility and is open Memorial Day – Labor Day. On-site camping and housekeeping cabins. The small town of Albion is a few miles to the north while larger towns are 30 to 45 minutes away.
Accessibility: There are no ADA accessible or paved trails, but the park does have a trail-ready motorized wheelchair that is available for use with reservations
Phone Number: (260) 636-2654
Written by: Don Gorney
Photo by: Shari McCollough