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Patoka Lake

  • Patoka Lake Alerts (1)
    • BLUE-GREEN ALGAE ADVISORY ALERT for Newton Stewart SRA Beach: Swimming and boating 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 lake water where algae are present. More information.

3084 N. Dillard Road
Birdseye, IN 47513

View daily lake level report

  • 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 nearly 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.

    Patoka Lake is one of a few DNR properties that house nonreleasable ambassador raptors. The property had a bald eagle between 1989 and 2009, named C52. He helped educate hundreds of people throughout his lifespan. Learn more about C52.

    The property’s Interpretive Services staff presents programs and special events featuring a nonreleasable red-tailed hawk, an albino common snapping turtle, and other natural and cultural features of the area. Programs on kayaking, cooking with a Dutch oven, 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.

    Help rebuild the raptors shelters

    The raptor enclosures are 30 years old and need to be rehabilitated. Currently, the birds can only be seen in special viewing areas and on designated weekends, but plans are in place to build a new raptor center where guests can view the birds during the raptor center's business hours. The new center would be accessible to all visitors and improve the educational impact of the birds. See Patoka Lake Raptor Center Illustration.

    You can donate to this effort online through the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation. Choose “Patoka Lake Raptor Shelter” in the dropdown menu or mail a check to:

    Indiana Natural Resources Foundation
    Attn: C52 Fund
    402 W. Washington St. #W256
    Indianapolis, IN 46204

  • Activities

    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.


  • Maps


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