Chain of Lakes State Park, Indiana.....9 Lakes Paddle

  • Begining of the challenge in Sucker Lake.

    Begining of the challenge in Sucker Lake.

  • Long lake looking south to Sucker Lake

    Long lake looking south to Sucker Lake

  • Trail Sign on the bridge.

    Trail Sign on the bridge.

  • For us there was only one "low" bridge.

    For us there was only one "low" bridge.

  • Beaver work.......

    Beaver work.......

  • beavver lodge

    beavver lodge

A self-supported trip created by Overstreet

Trip Overview

Chain of Lakes state park is a north and west of Fort Wayne, Indiana. It is a fairly large park with plenty of camping sites, trails, an old school house and a paddle trail. We are here for a dog competition in Fort Wayne. But true to our travels we had to take a day and paddle so we took the paddle trail.

Note there is an admission charge for entry to the park. There are camping fees. There is also canoe camping available. See the link below.

The “9 lake challenge” is a trail composed of nine lakes connected by canals through the woods. The challenge comes from the lack of markers visible from distance. So if you left your map in at the truck at the ramp you might have to paddle around the lake looking for the canal. The entrances are all well hidden from some angles. Chances are in those around Sand Lake there will be other kayaks/canoes or even fishermen entering or leaving the canals.

We went on a rather nice cloudy summer day. Which meant the temperatures were mild. You can see in the pictures the lakes are often in the sun and some of the canals are sunny by the vegetation but many are shaded in the trees. The majority of the markers are on trial bridges somewhere on the canal.

We put in at the boat ramp in Long Lake. We paddled south to Sucker Lake and found the “0” mile sign for the paddle. Paddling north again we found a finger that seemed to enter the woods. Weaving through the lily pads we found the long canal that leads to Dock Lake. In Dock Lake we paddled west and found the boat ramp in sight of the park headquarters and looked across the lake to the canal entrance. Still map less we developed methods to seek the canal most were west and north and there was slight tree line “vees” at the canals. Bowen Lake was the next. There was our first fisherman in that lake. The canal to Sand Lake was visible at the far end and easily led us to Sand Lake. Sand lake is the main lake and has the boat rental, swimming beach and nature center. On the weekend it was very crowded and covered with boats. We were thankful to be paddling on a week day.

Weber and Mud Lakes were at the end of long canals lined with trees. It would be a nice paddle on a sunny day. Rivir Lake was mostly covered with duck weed. It looked bad but wasn’t. Miller Lake was the final lake. The outlet looked like another canal but it was not inviting. It ended in small openings into the hill under the highway with falling water sound. We didn’t go there.

Of course you could have a shuttle to pick you up at Miller Lake, but we do out and backs and the trip back to Long Lake was a little less mileage. The paddle challenge from Sucker Lake to Miller Lake is 5 miles. We did it round trip from the Long Lake boat ramp in 10.5 miles.

It was a good paddle. It is a good camp ground. It is very popular and will be crowded on the weekends.

Gear Notes

We were in sea kayaks. There are a lot of rec kayaks on the lake and canoes.


We paddled on a cloudy day. Trip is partial shade partial open lakes. Sunny parts have lillys, hydrilla and duck weed. Bring sun screen.

Portage Notes

You can add the 10th lake by portaging from the Miller Lake, mile 5, boat ramp to Lake Norman boat ramp......maybe 300 or 400 ft.

Trip Details

  • Trip Dates: 6/7/2022
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water

Trip Location