Central Indiana Birding Opportunities - Salamonie Lake

Salamonie Lake is a flood-control reservoir in north-central Indiana.

Wood Thrush


The 2,665-acre lake is surrounded by 12,554 acres of forests, prairies, and farmland including 40 ponds, marshes, and wetlands creating excellent habitat for bird watching. State Recreation Areas (SRAs), including Lost Bridge West SRA, Lost Bridge East SRA, Dora-New Holland SRA, Mount Etna SRA, and Mount Hope SRA, provide the easiest access for trails or lake viewing. A number of the ponds, marshes and wetlands are located in designated resource management units where hunting occurs in season, but access is open for birding as well in most locations.

The tailwaters below Salamonie Dam and nearby Salamonie River State Forest provide excellent wintering grounds for Bald Eagles and the occasional Golden Eagle. Waterfowl take advantage of the open waters in the winter months and the lake is a stopover site for American White Pelicans in the spring. Hike one of the many trails throughout the property to see and hear warblers, thrushes, orioles, and songbirds.

Begin your visit to Salamonie Lake by stopping by the interpretive center located at Lost Bridge West SRA. Visit the raptor center here to view non-releasable hawks and owls kept at the center with appropriate federal permits as educational ambassadors. The interpretive center offers a bird viewing room which looks out on many feeders. Red-headed Woodpeckers are often a special treat at the feeders, and during fall migration many warblers and vireos can be seen. Drive down to the beach area in Lost Bridge West SRA for views of the lake. Visit the Marsh Trail to view resting waterfowl on several ponds and marshes. Visit Lost Bridge East SRA for distant views of a Bald Eagle’s nest across the water.

While most of Salamonie Lake is free to visit, Lost Bridge West SRA has an entrance fee during the main recreation season, generally from March-November. Pay attention to hunting zones during hunting season. One can easily spend an entire day birding the property, but most of the area can be birded by car in a few hours.

eBird Hotspot Link:

Total Birding Time:
2-4 hours, but full day birding the entire lake by car is possible.
Best Times to Bird: Birding the lake is worthwhile all year long, but the best time of the year to bird is during off season when the lake isn't busy with campers and boaters. Visits during spring and fall migration are especially worthwhile.

Best Times to Bird: 
Spring and fall migration offer the best birding, but summer breeding species can make the State Recreation Area
 worth a visit.


Address: 9214 W Lost Bridge West, Andrews, IN 46702. This address leads to the Lost Bridge West SRA. Most visitors will approach from Wabash, Huntington, or Marion using S.R. 15 to S.R. 124 from Wabash and S.R. 9 from both Huntington and Marion.
Hours: The lake and nearby roads are open 24 hours; however Lost Bridge West SRA hours are 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
Ownership: Owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; leased and operated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of State Parks (except for the immediate vicinity around the dam and the tailwaters.)
Admission: Indiana State Park entrance fees apply at Lost Bridge West SRA. $7 in-state vehicles, $9 out of state vehicles. No gate fees in certain off-season weekdays.
Restrictions: Please obey all rules and regulations. A summary of property rules can be found at stateparks.IN.gov/6468.htm.
Parking: Variety of paved parking lots throughout property.
Nearby Amenities: Vault toilets are located throughout SRA's. The property office and year-round interpretive center in Lost Bridge West SRA both have modern restrooms Campgrounds are located at West Lost Bridge SRA and in the nearby Salamonie State Forest. Hotels are located in the nearby cities of Wabash, Huntington and Marion.
Accessibility: Paved parking lots offer close parking and views of the lake.
Website: stateparks.in.gov
Phone Number: (260) 468-2125

Written by: April Raver
Photo by: Ryan Sanderson