What began as a shallow feeder lake for the Miami & Erie Canal in the 19th century, later turned into a popular resort park after the canal era ended in Ohio. Today, Indian Lake offers a variety of on-the-water recreational options including boating, fishing, jet skiing, and swimming. Off the lake, visitors can enjoy camping, picnicking, and winter activities such as ice fishing and snowmobiling.
The archery range is located near the recycling station at the Moundwood Boat ramp. It features five lanes with distances of 10 yards, 20 yards, 30 yards, 40 yards, and 50 yards. There are two targets at each distance, one for practice tips and one for broadheads for a total of 10 targets. Hooks are available to hang bows. Archery range users are expected to be safety conscious, follow range rules, and use the range responsibly.
The 5,100-acre lake offers unlimited horsepower boating. Boating facilities include five launch ramps and 500 boat seasonal docks for rent.
- Lakeview Harbor – two-lane launch ramp and 24 transient/4-hour courtesy docks are located next to the ramp, trailer parking available, swingset, and a seasonal restroom located on the southwest side of Indian Lake.The Indian Lake Bike Trail runs 3.5 miles along the west and south bank goes through Lakeview Harbor.
- Blackhawk Marina – two-lane launch ramp and 206 state-owned docks for seasonal rental, 10 tie-ups available for transient/4-hour courtesy along the seawall at Blackhawk, trailer parking available, seasonal restroom, and playground available are located on the west side of Indian Lake.
- Moundwood Marina – six lane launch ramp and 154 state owned docks for seasonal rental, 6 transient/4 hour courtesy docks are located next to the ramp, trailer parking available, restroom available seasonally, playground available, located on the south side of Indian Lake
- Chippewa Marina – two lane launch ramp and 162 state owned docks for seasonal rental, trailer parking available, restroom available seasonally, playground available that includes cornhole game and a sand volleyball court, located on the north side of Indian Lake
- Cranetown Island – one lane 10-foot-wide launch ramp and 4 transient/4-hour courtesy docks available, 6 trailer parking spaces available, located on the Islands near Pew Island walking trail
Water skiing is popular in the open zone area. Boaters may swim off their boats in designated areas around Walnut Islands and Oldfield Beach. An accessible kayak launch is located at Moundwood.
Indian Lake State Park Campground is a large campground that offers numerous Electric and Full Hook-up sites; some are premium (waterfront) sites. Pets are permitted on all campsites. Beach, swimming pool, boat ramp, and boat docks are provided for exclusive use of registered campers
A 9-hole open course with few trees is located at Old Field Beach (11252 State Route 235 N, Lakeview, OH). The tees are rubber mats and the baskets are DISCatcher. Dredge material relocation areas are nearby, and these areas should be avoided. Keep out signs are posted.
Course is open dawn to dusk anytime Old Field Island is open. (Closed for hunting sunrise to 10 am in early September and for special activities). Park vehicles on the north side of the large parking lot. No golf carts. Restrooms open seasonally.
Old Field Island also has a public beach, boater’s beach, dog park, playground, sand volleyball court, picnic shelter houses, and a paved walking path that connects to a 3-mile bike path along the West Bank and South Bank.
A dog park, where dogs can run off leash, is situated on Old Field Island near the shores of Indian Lake. It features a double-gated entry and a separate area for small dogs. The space is mostly mowed grass with a few trees; agility equipment is available in the fenced area. Seasonal restrooms located nearby.
Old Field Island also has a paved walking path that connects to a 3-mile bike path along the West and South Bank. Dogs can go anywhere in the park on a 6-foot leash, except the swimming beaches. You can let your dog off leash in the dog park, but be sure to have it on before entering and when exiting the dog park area. Bring your own drinking water and clean-up bags because they are not provided.
Largemouth bass, saugeye, white bass, crappie, bluegill, walleye, yellow perch, and catfish are plentiful here.
Hunting is permitted in designated areas only. Details of hunting seasons and species are available on the park hunting map. A valid hunting license is required. There is a dog training area available.
- A duck blind drawing takes place to permit the construction of a duck blind at 34 locations at Indian Lake State Park.
- A controlled dove hunt drawing takes place to hunt the dove field at Indian Lake State Park.
- Early goose sign ups also take place at the Indian Lake Park office. This is a first-come, first serve sign up for daily hunting at 5 locations at the park during early goose season. Hunting is sunrise to 10 am only.
- A valid Ohio hunting license is required.
Several shaded picnic areas equipped with tables and grills are located around the park.
Six shelterhouses can be reserved online or by calling (866) 644-6727.
- Black Hawk Shelter — Partially enclosed 25' x 30' shelter on a paved site is ADA accessible with 2 electric outlets (110-amp), small grill, 8-10 picnic tables, parking for up to 30 vehicles, close to restrooms and lake, adjacent picnic area has grills and lots of shade
- Bridge Shelter — Open 30' x 20' shelter on a paved site is ADA accessible, electric is NOT available, 8 picnic tables, parking for up to 30 vehicles, close to lake, located at the Blackhawk Channel, near the Oldfield Beach bike trail
- Fox Island Shelter — Open 30' x 20' shelter with 6 electric outlets (110 amp), group grill, 8 picnic tables, parking for up to 50 vehicles, close to restrooms, lake, beach, volleyball court, and boat rental
- Moundwood Shelter — Open 35' x 45' shelter with 6 electric outlets (110 amp), 6 picnic tables, <100 yards to flush toilets, playground nearby, access to fishing, located in the Moundwood channel, near kayak launch
- Oldfield North Shelter — Partially enclosed 25' x 30' shelter on a paved pad is ADA accessible with 2 electric outlets (110 amp) located at the main beach, small group grill, 6-8 picnic tables, parking for 20+ vehicles, close to restrooms, bike trail, and large fishing jetty
- Oldfield South Shelter — Partially enclosed 25' x 30' shelter on a paved pad is ADA accessible with 2 electric outlets (110 amp) located at the main beach, small group grill, 6-8 picnic tables, parking for 20+ vehicles, close to restrooms, volleyball court, bike trail, and large fishing jetty
Two public beaches, Old Field Beach and Fox Island Beach, provide 1,400 feet of access to the lake. Swimming is permitted in designated areas. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach. Pets are NOT permitted on swimming beaches.
- BeachGuard — water quality advisories, Memorial Day to Labor Day, from Ohio Dept. of Health
- Cherokee Trail - 1.4 miles, easy walk through brushy habitat, is located west of the camp.
- Pew Island Trail - .82 mile loop, encircles Pew Island, which can be accessed from a causeway and offers a spectacular view of Indian Lake.
- Biking Trail - 3.5 mile, paved Multi-use bikeway is located on the West Bank between Old Field Beach and Lakeview Harbor, walkers and joggers also allowed.
Under the proper winter conditions, park guests can enjoy snowmobiling, ice skating, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and ice boating.
- There are no snowmobile or APT trails at Indian Lake, however, snowmobiling is permitted on the frozen lake surface and along the ditches of the west and south bank. Remember, no ice is safe ice. Be mindful of dangers such as open water and be sure to slow down for people on foot.
- Ice anglers should let people know when they will be out on the ice, where they will be fishing and when they will return. Remember, no ice is safe ice. Always be prepared.
More to Do
- Naturalist programs are offered during the summer months
- Playgrounds are located at various areas throughout the park
- Sand volleyball courts at the beach
History & Natural Features
Early American history tells of the Native American tribes who lived and hunted in this region. Because of its close proximity to the Miami River, Indian Lake became part of the Native Americans' 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, European settlers made their way here and the history books record many accounts of skirmishes and battles resulting from the conflict between the Native Americans 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 4-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 Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Parks and Recreation.
The region of Indian Lake was originally a cluster of natural lakes situated on the Great Miami River. As the continental glaciers left Ohio, chunks of ice broke free, melted and formed water-filled depressions called kettle lakes. The resulting shallow, marshy, natural lakes in this region covered an area of 640 acres. Among these were Old Indian Lake, Otter Lake, Black Lake, Sheep Pen Lake, Brush Lake, and Little Lake. A large wetlands area, known locally as the “Game Preserve,” remains in the northeastern part of Indian Lake. Navigation channels have been cut through this area by on-going dredging. The wetlands area provides a habitat for fish, small mammals, waterfowl and turtles.
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 have nested near the lake in recent years.