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Patoka Lake

Patoka Lake
3084 N. Dillard Road
Birdseye, IN 47513

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Patoka Lake advisories

  • ORANGE COUNTY BURN BAN 9-24-2020: Patoka Lake is partially located in Orange County, where a local burn ban has been implemented due to extremely dry conditions. Small campfires in provided fire rings, charcoal grills and propane grills ARE ALLOWED, but campers and guests should use extra caution by having water nearby, fully extinguishing a campfire when finished, and not dumping hot coals.  Please check back for updates.
  • IMPORTANT NOTICE: A portion of Fishermen’s Campground in Newton-Stewart State Recreation Area will close Sept. 8 to assist Patoka Lake Regional Water & Sewer District (PLRWSD) with replacement of 3,800 feet of water pipeline that runs beneath the lake. The pipeline serves southern Orange County and northern Crawford County.  For safety, because heavy equipment will be used extensively in the area, Fishermen’s Campground campsite numbers 28 - 68 and the youth tent area will close. Fishermen’s Campground and South Lick Fork boat ramps, both in Dubois County, will close Sept. 21 and Sept. 28, respectively. The affected campsites and boat ramps are expected to reopen Oct. 26. All other areas of the property remain open during this time.
  • PARK STATUS: Some DNR properties are reaching parking capacity for day use on busy weekends. Gates have been closed, or vehicles admitted only when others leave. For real-time status, follow Indiana State Parks on Twitter (@INDNRstateparks).
  • The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has adjusted services, events and operations to protect Hoosiers and prevent further spread of COVID-19. Please visit on.IN.gov/dnrcovid19 for a listing of what is open, closed, restricted and canceled.
  • BLUE-GREEN ALGAE: Blue-green algae is at the ADVISORY alert level for the beach. Swimming and boating is permitted. Avoid contact with algae. Avoid swallowing water while swimming. Take a bath or shower with warm soapy water after coming in contact with lake water. Do not use lake water for cooking or bathing. Do not allow your pets to swim or drink water where algae are present. Check back for updates. Learn more about blue-green algae.

Upcoming Events at Patoka Lake

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  • Description


    Newton-Stewart SRA, Jackson SRA, Lick Fork SRA, Little Patoka SRA, Painter Creek SRA, Walls Lake SRA, South Lick Fork SRA.

    25,800 acres - 8,800-acre lake

    With 26,000 acres of land and water, Patoka Lake is a fine example of lake ecology. An 8,800-acre lake provides habitat for freshwater jellyfish and bald eagle nesting sites. River otters and osprey were reintroduced at Patoka by the DNR.

    The property is home to one of only two resident, non-releasable bald eagles at a DNR state park or reservoir. The eagle was acquired in 2013. An earlier eagle called C52 lived at Patoka Lake from 1988 until he died in 2009. Learn more about the Patoka Lake Raptor Center and inhabitants.

    The property’s Interpretive Services staff presents programs and special events featuring the reconstructed Moery Cabin, a non-releasable red-tailed hawk, bald eagle, Eastern screech owl and other natural and cultural history features of the area. Programs on kayaking, Dutch oven cooking and other outdoor skills are also offered.

    The lake is located just south of the historic towns of French Lick and West Baden, and just east of historic Jasper.

    Patoka Lake Interpretive Plan

    Water safety matters! If you use one of our big reservoirs for swimming, fishing, boating or skiing, check out Bobber the Water Dog, brought to you by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

  • Activities


    • Archery Range
    • Boating / 10 Launch Ramps
    • Cross-country skiing
    • Fishing / Ice Fishing
    • Disc Golf Course
    • Hiking / Fitness / Biking Trails
    • Hunting
    • Interpretive / Recreational Programs
    • Picnicking / Shelterhouse (Shelter Reservations)
    • Swimming / Beach (Policy)
    • Waterskiing

    Camping - See campground maps under MAPS tab

    • Electric / 455 sites
    • Primitive / 45 sites
    • Dumping Station


    Marinas and Boat Rentals

  • Description of Hiking Trails


    Note: For trail locations, view the property map under the MAPS tab.

    Main Trail (6.5 miles) RUGGED—This loop trail begins at the Nature Center and well maintained, but has a limited number of signs along the way. Average hiking time is three to four hours. Many visitors enjoy walking to Totem Rock, a large rock shelter that was used by Native Americans and early settlers. “Short cuts” back to the Center are available for those familiar with maps and hiking. A “Birdwatching Spur” is on the far north end of the peninsula.*

    Wildlife Management Demonstration Trail (2 miles) MODERATE—A loop trail beginning at the Nature Center. Illustrates habitat requirements of wildlife as well as wildlife management techniques used on the property. Demonstrations include food plots, protective cover planting, controlled burning and much more. A booklet keyed to numbered posts is available for this self-guided interpretive trail.*

    Garden Rock Loop Trail—MODERATE—A short loop trail begins just across from the Nature Center’s front door. Try this trail if your time is limited and rock overhangs, ferns and pines sound inviting. The trail can be hiked in 30 to 45 minutes, but is hilly.*

    Interpreter-Conducted Walks — Join us for scheduled walks and hikes that may last 30 minutes or three hours. These walks are an enjoyable way to see the Reservoir, learn about nature and history, and meet other people.

    *Because of size limitation, locations are marked but actual trails are not shown on this map. Trails listed above are in the Newton-Stewart SRA. Trail brochures are available at the Nature Center.


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