Column: Pokagon is an Indiana winter outdoor traditionFebruary 13, 2018
By Brandon Butler
Pokagon State Park, located in the northeast corner of Indiana near Angola, features ice fishing, ice-skating, cross-country skiing and a one-of-a-kind toboggan run.
Visiting Pokagon during the winter has become an annual tradition for many Hoosier families. With the beautiful Potawatomi Inn on site, Pokagon is the perfect place to spend a few days relaxing and reconnecting with nature during a time of year when most are just dreaming of spring.
The park’s refrigerated toboggan run has become somewhat of a legend amongst Indiana outdoor enthusiasts. It’s the sort of iconic location that transcends generations. Grandparents tell grandchildren about how they rode the toboggan run many, many years ago. Cross-country skiing is another highlight of winter at Pokagon. And you don’t have to own skis to participate. There is a rental office on the property.
Groomed trails weave through winter hardwood forests and along the shore of Lake James. You see things in the winter you might easily miss in the summer. Trees are exposed so unique shapes are visible. Birds are exposed on winter branches. Tracks in the snow from the forest critters scurrying about are fun to follow.
Seeing where the animal went and maybe finding evidence of what it ate is much easier to do in the snow.
Ice fishing is a great pastime for many reasons, but one of the main reasons I enjoy it so much is because ice fishing allows a group to be outside spending time fishing when most people aren’t even considering the idea.
Lake James is a great lake for ice fishing. And when you’re done, head back to the warm, cozy lodge for a cup of coffee and a meal.
Pokagon State Park is a destination that should be on every Hoosiers winter ‘To visit’ list. Aside from the toboggan run and cross country skiing, visitors can ride gentle slopes on their own sleds and tubes, enjoy ice skating and ice fishing on Lake James, and walk miles of trails through tranquil woods in the heart of winter.
The Potawatomi Inn Resort and Conference Center is a beautiful state park inn. If you have stayed in any of the others, Potawatomi Inn is just as nice as the rest, but may have the best view looking out over beautiful Lake James, one of Indiana’s largest natural lakes. The inn offers 138 guest rooms and a spacious new banquet and conference center. The Potawatomi Inn features a natural setting inside historic Pokagon State Park, and the rates are modest.
Winter can be a tough time to find outdoor recreation in Indiana.
Sure, there’s ice fishing and cold-weather hiking. A few hard-core enthusiasts may even spend a couple of frigid nights camping. But these activities aren’t thrilling to most. A few exciting outdoors options do exist in Indiana. Don’t let cabin fever consume you this winter. With a little imagination and a willingness to take a road trip to a new destination, you can enjoy the great outdoors throughout the winter months.
See you down the trail…
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