Hardy Lake advisories
- ROAD CLOSURE/DETOUR: Beginning in early April, Highway 256 from Austin to Hardy Lake Road will be closed for a road-widening project. This project will continue through the summer. From Interstate 65, guests should take the Scottsburg exit, head east toward Madison,then north on Highway 203, cross over Highway 256, and continue north on Hardy Lake Road to the property. Please check back for updates or contact the park office with questions.
- Blue-Green Algae: Found in lakes year-round. More information.
Upcoming Events at Hardy Lake
2,178.16 acres - 741-acre lake
Hardy Lake is the only state reservoir not created for flood control. This means that the lake level stays stable year-round, positively affecting the appearance of the shoreline, fishing and wildlife living there. The property is a multi-use facility offering hiking, swimming, boating, skiing, camping and more.
Hardy Lake is surrounded on all sides by limestone and rocky bluffs, caves and great fossils, but the property has only slate and shale exposure.
Hardy Lake is the only DNR property with a raptor rehabilitation center. This center cares for injured birds of prey (raptors) and educates visitors about Indiana’s hawks, owls, falcons and vultures.
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.
- Archery Range
- Basketball Court
- Open Playfield
- Boating / 4 Launch Ramps
- Fishing / Ice Fishing
- Fishing Pier
- Hiking Trails
- Interpretive Services
- Picnicking / Shelterhouse
- Swimming / Beach (Policy)
Camping - See campground maps under MAPS tab
- Electric / 149 sites - Shale Bluff
- Primitive / 15 sites - Wooster
- Dumping Station
- Campground Reservations
- Local map
- Raptor Center
DWIGHT CHAMBERLAIN RAPTOR CENTER
Hardy Lake SRA is home to the Dwight Chamberlain Raptor Center. The Center takes in injured and orphaned Hawks, Owls, Eagles, and Falcons for the purpose of rehabilitation and release. The Center is also home to 12 permanently-injured Birds of Prey that are used for educational programming throughout the State.
The rehabilitation center at Hardy Lake has been in operation since 1989 and is the only State-owned raptor facility in Indiana. Though owned by the State of Indiana, all costs for medical care, food and supplies are paid for through donations to the 501c3 not-for-profit group Friends of Hardy Lake.
The Interpretive Staff at Hardy Lake travels throughout the State of Indiana with permanently-injured birds of prey. The Naturalists often do programming for schools, scout groups, camps, churches, and private events. The Raptor Center is not regularly open to the public.
- Make a Donation: To make a donation and help the mission of the Dwight Chamberlain Raptor Center, visit the Friends of Hardy Lake website at friendsofhardylake.com
- Live Bird of Prey Interpretive Program: If you are interested in a live bird of prey interpretive program for your event, you can reach the Raptor Center at (812) 794-2244.
DESCRIPTION OF HIKING TRAILS
Note: For trail locations, view the property map under the MAPS tab.
Outward Bound (2.05 miles) MODERATE—This trail takes you into a typical stand of Indiana hardwood trees. You will see both an oak-hickory and a beech-maple climax forest. This trail will also allow you to view some of the beautiful backwaters of Hardy Lake.
Cemetery Trail (.77 mile) EASY—This trail takes you through an oak-hickory climax forest. The McClain Cemetery is a major point of interest on this trail. This family cemetery has headstones dating to the 1700s.
Island Trail (1.91 miles) EASY—This trail branches off of either the Cemetery Loop or the Outward Bound Loop. Points of interest include beaver cuttings along the shoreline, wildlife food plots, and several areas along the island that overlook the lake.
Honeysuckle Trail (.64 mile) MODERATE—This trail connects Shale Bluff campground with the beach. Passing through different stages of succession, you will be able to see a managed pine grove, cedar thickets and tulip poplar trees, as well as a mature forest. Through one section, due to tornado damage, you will even be able to see nature in the act of repairing herself.
Lakeside Trail (.52 miles) MODERATE—This loop presents a beautiful view of Hardy Lake. Several bird nesting structures are located along this trail. This trail will also pass by a colony of Allegheny (or mound-building) ants that are always hard at work. This is also a great trail to hike at night to see fireflies and foxfire, and hear an owl hooting.
PLEASE STAY ON MARKED TRAILS.