52 Hikes in 52 Weeks: Hike 4, Chain O’Lakes Sand Lake Loop

January 30th, 2016

This 1.5 mile hike took us to central Noble County in one of Indiana’s magnificent state parks.  The park is most noted for its nine connecting lakes which offer canoeing and kayaking, fishing, and a beach.  But in addition to the great water sport opportunities, there are 10 miles of trails meandering through the woods and around the lakes.  The park also offers camping, cabins and a nature center.  It is a great place to spend an  afternoon or a weekend!

Today’s herd included a couple of mini-turtles out to enjoy the afternoon.  The group included myself, Becky, little turtles Quint and Sarah and newcomer Michelle.

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The hike around Sand Lake is a reasonably level, family friendly hike that offers great views of the lake.  There is plenty of parking located near the beach house.  The beach house is closed this time of  year but there is a pit toilet located south of the parking lot and up a small hill should the need arise.  We made a quick stop there (small turtles mean small bladders!) then jumped on trail 3 back down to the lake.  Trail 3 quickly took us back to our trail for the day, Trail 5.  Once back on Trail 5, we headed west (left) to work our way around the south side of Sand Lake.

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It was very evident that there have been some busy beavers along this section of trail!

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Looking across the lake, we caught sight of one of the two channel bridges that we would be crossing.

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After rounding the west side of the lake, we came to the bridge we had seen.  Looking north we could see the channel leading to Weber Lake.

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The little turtles seemed to be enjoying the hike!

We didn’t see a lot of wildlife other than Canadian Geese.  A few were swimming but most were hanging out on the remaining ice patches on the lake.

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As we worked our way across the north side of Sand Lake, we came to a second bridge crossing another channel.  We also stopped to walk out on the fishing pier and watch the geese.  There is parking in this area allowing for easy trail access to Sand Lake Loop and other trails.  As we rounded the east side of the lake, the trail became grassy and open.  If the water is high, you can walk along the road for this brief stretch.

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The rental canoes stacked up and waiting patiently for warmer weather.

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The remnants of a hornets nest that was likely hidden by tree leaves most of the hiking season.

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After a short stretch along the south shore of the lake, we looped back to where we began.  The frozen beach was empty but will be filled with swimmers and sunbathers once the summer season gets in full swing.  This is a great family park with lots of warm weather activities.  These activities include great hiking, even for the little ones.  Take them hiking around the lake this summer and then cool off splashing and swimming at the beach!

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Chain O’Lakes State Park

 

 

 

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