Northeast Indiana Birding Opportunities - Pokagon State Park

Pokagon State Park is the fifth oldest state park in Indiana, and contains 1,200+ acres of rolling wooded hills, wetlands, and open meadows representative of the northern lakes region of Indiana.

Bird view at Pokagon State Park on the Indiana Birding Trail

The park is framed by Lake James and Snow Lake, which offer migratory bird viewing during appropriate seasons. Many other natural lakes, big and small, dot the nearby landscape of this region of the state. Lake Lonidaw, on Trail 3 is a great example of this habitat.

Trails 3, 6, and 7 offer the best birding in the park, through the Potawatomi Nature Preserve and the unique tamarack and yellow birch swamps. Rolling oak woodlands cover much of the rest of the park. The nature center has feeders and regularly attracts Red-headed Woodpeckers year-round. It is also worth watching for winter finches in invasion years.

The park’s diverse habitats can harbor an assortment of both migratory and nesting bird species. Most expect neo-tropic migrants can be found in migration , and other woodland songbirds are regular as either migrants or nesting species. Nesting Cerulean Warblers, Veeries, and Pine Warblers can be found with a full day of birding the park.

Notable for visiting birders are often the nesting Sandhill Cranes found in the park and surrounding county. Many of these same wetlands host breeding Sora, Virginia Rail, and Common Gallinule. Osprey are another species who’s breeding population is growing in the area, and are seen regularly in the park. Hooded Mergansers can be found nesting on Trail 7 in the “bluebird hills” area of the park.

eBird Hotspot Link:

Total Birding Time:
1-5 Hours

Best Times to Bird: 
 Pokagon is a four-season birding site, with May and September being the peak for songbird migration. Waterfowl begin arriving in late October and will winter if the lakes remain clear of ice.


450 Lane 100 Lake James
Angola, IN 46703
The park is easily accessible from I-69, and the Indiana Toll Road, 2 miles to the north. State Road 727 is the main entrance drive into the park. Continuing right, just before the gate, takes you to the “County Rd Marsh,” which can be birded for wetland species.

Hours: Regular park hours are 7am-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 in certain off-season days,
Restrictions: During busy summer periods the park can be crowded with hikers and campers. Summer boaters usually keep waterfowl off the lakes from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Parking: Parking can be found throughout the park.
Nearby Amenities: The park has ample restrooms throughout, and modern facilities can be found at the nature center, as well as the Potawatomi Inn. Dining options available in the inn as well. Nearby lodging and camping can also be found in Angola and Fremont, within 10 minutes of the park.
Accessibility: The nature center has a paved accessible trail through the woodlands. All facilities are ADA accessible.
Phone Number: (260) 833-2012

Written by: Brad Bumgardner
Photo by: April Raver