INDIAN LAKE STATE PARK
Indian Lake offers a diversity of water-related recreational opportunities. Boating, fishing, skiing and camping are highlights of this multi-use park.
The region of Indian Lake was originally a cluster of natural lakes situated on the Miami River. As the continental glaciers left Ohio, chunks of ice broke free, melted, and formed water-filled depressions called kettle lakes. The resultant shallow, marshy, natural lakes in this region covered an area of 640 acres. Among these were Old Indian Lake, Otter Lake, Blake Lake, Sheep Pen Lake and the Buck Wheat Patch.
The present and much larger lake lies along one of the country's major avian migration routes. Indian Lake is an important resting stop for birds such as Canada geese, ducks, grebes, swans, egrets and herons. Many stay over the summer to nest. Bald eagles once nested in the area but are no longer found here.
Early American history tells of the Indian tribes who lived and hunted in this region. Because of its close proximity to the Miami River, Indian Lake became part of the Indian trade route linking the Ohio River to Lake Erie. Generations of native Americans followed this route and occupied villages in the vicinity. By the early 1800s, white settlers made their way here and the history books record many accounts of skirmishes and battles resulting from the conflict between the Indians and new settlers. The famous frontiersmen Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton were known to have traveled here.
Despite Indian Lake's popularity as a year-round recreational area, the lake was not originally constructed with that purpose in mind. In the early 1800s, the primary means of commercial transportation was the canal system. Old Indian Lake was built in 1851 as a feeder lake for the Miami and Erie Canal to maintain the required four-foot water depth.
Following the passage of a resolution by the Ohio General Assembly in 1850 to use Indian Lake as a water supply for the canal, a bulkhead was built in Washington Township where the Great Miami River began and covered 1,000 acres. The work began in 1851 and was not completed until 1860. The total cost up to that time was $340,000. Irish laborers performed the work with picks, shovels and carts. Ironically, use of the canal system was declining as work on Indian Lake was completed. In 1893, Indian Lake or Lewistown Reservoir as it was then called, spanned 6,334 acres with 29 miles of shoreline. On April 9, 1898, the Ohio General Assembly dedicated the lake as a recreation area by the name of Indian Lake.
Indian Lake became a popular resort area at the turn of the century due to its central location on the old Toledo and Ohio Central Steamline and the Ohio Electric Railway. At one time, Indian Lake was known as the "Midwest's Million Dollar Playground." In 1949, the old Department of Conservation was abolished and Indian Lake became part of the newly-created Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation.
Ohio does not have an annual pass and does not charge entrance fees to state parks.
Hiking Trail, miles7
Picnic Shelters, #5
Swimming Beach, feet1,400
BoatingBoating LimitsUnlimited HP
Seasonal Dock Rental530
Launch Ramps, #5
CampingElectric Sites, #440
Water/Electric Sites, #13
Full Hookup Sites, #12
Camper Cabins, #3
Group Camp, capacity60
There are 443 family campsites suitable for tents or trailers on the northwest section of the lakeshore. The scenic campground offers electric hookups for most sites, heated shower houses, flush toilets, laundry facility and camp commissary. A beach, boat ramp and boat docks are provided for exclusive camper use. A limited number of pet camping sites are available. The park's group camp area may be reserved by advanced registration. Twenty boat camping spaces are also available.
Two camper cabin units are available to rent. One unit sleeps six, and one sleeps four. Equipment provided includes a microwave oven, gas grill with propane tank, refrigerator, window air conditioner, ceiling fan with light, table and two chairs, and two futons. The units can be reserved by calling the park office at (937) 843-2717. A non-refundable deposit equaling the first night's fee is required at the time of reservation.
Two public beaches, Old Field Beach and Fox Island Beach, invite swimmers to relax in the cool waters of Indian Lake. A beach for camper use is located near the campground. There are also four designated boat/swim areas.
The 5,800-acre lake offers unlimited horsepower boating and features four boat ramps and boat docks for rental. Skiing is popular in the open zone area. Indian Lake is the only inland lake in Ohio with lighted buoys for night navigation.