Patoka Lake Recreation Area Walking, Hiking, Biking, + More

Southern Indiana’s #1 recreation area

Patoka Lake Recreation Area Walking, Hiking, Biking, + More

Patoka Lake is Southern Indiana’s #1 recreation area. The 8,800-acre lake along with 26,000 acres of DNR property offer boating, swimming, water-skiing, fishing, hunting, biking, hiking, canoeing, and camping. Marinas and other privately-owned businesses around the lake provide boat rentals, lodging, houseboat and cabin rentals, and other nearby attractions.

Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the lake for its clear and clean water providing a perfect venue for boating, swimming, fishing, or skiing on a spacious, uncrowded lake. During the week, it could seem that Patoka Lake is your own personal haven. Toward dusk, the lake is usually ever-so-smooth… perfect for skiing or sinking a line. A bald eagle may be seen swooping toward its nest in a nearby tree overlooking the lake. Weekends, many boaters and water enthusiasts enjoy weekend get-a-ways at Patoka Lake.

The Patoka Lake DNR Recreation Area has one of the largest campgrounds in the state, ten fully improved launching ramps, and state park facilities including shelter houses, playgrounds, a large beach, and ten miles of paved biking and hiking trails winding throughout the park. For more information about Patoka Lake and nearby attractions, visit

Location: Patoka Lake Dam

Distance: 2 – 3 miles
Surface: Dirt, Paved, Grass
Terrain: Partially Flat, Partially Inclined, Partially Steep
Covering: Partially Open, Partially Shaded
Illuminated: No
Benches: Yes (Beginning of Trails)
Water Fountain: Yes (Seasonal)
Restrooms: Yes (Seasonal) At Overlook and Spillway
Other Means: Bikes, Skateboards, Roller Blades. No Motorized Vehicles Except Wheelchairs.
Pets: Leash at Discretion
Trailheads: (Access Points and Parking Lot) Patoka Dam Entrance, Spillway, and the Overlook

Information provided by Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center “Walking Paths” Booklet

Path/Trail: Main Trail

Distance: 6.5 Miles
Cover: Shaded
Surface: Forest Trail
OtherThis loop trail begins at the Visitors Center and is well maintained. A limited number of trees along the main trail are sprayed with red dots. Average hiking time is 3 to 4 hours. Many visitors enjoy walking to Totem Rock, a large rock shelter that was once used by Native Americans and early settlers. “Short Cuts” back to the Center are available through the access trails. A “Birdwatching Spur” is on the far end of the peninsula.

Path/Trail: Garden Rock Loop Trail

Distance: Approx. 1 Mile
Cover: Open and Shaded
Surface: Forest Trail
OtherA short loop trail, marked by yellow dots on trees along the trail, begins just across from the Visitors 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. 

Path/Trail: Wildlife Management Demonstration Trail

Distance: 2 Miles
Cover: Open and Shaded
Surface: Forest Trail
OtherA loop trail beginning at the Visitors Center, illustrates habitat requirements of wildlife as well as wildlife management techniques used on the property. The trail is marked by blue sprayed dots on various trees along the trail. 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.

Path/Trail: Interpreter-Conducted Walks

Distance: Varies
Cover: Open and Shaded
Surface: Forest Trail
OtherJoin in on scheduled walks and hikes that may last 30 minutes or 3 hours. These walks are an enjoyable way to see the Reservoir, learn about nature and history, and meet other people. 

Information provided by Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center “Walking Paths” Booklet

Visit today!

3084 North Dillard Rd Birdseye, IN 47513

(812) 685-2447