Lake Lemon is one of three lakes in the Bloomington, Indiana area that we’ve visited to hike the trails. We had been to Griffy Lake and Lake Monroe many times, but just recently visited Lake Lemon. Sadly, Karlie never had the chance to explore Lake Lemon in person, but Sunny and I know she was with us in spirit.
Lake Lemon, built in 1953, served as a drinking water reservoir for the City of Bloomington into the late sixties. Today it serves as the back up water supply for the city. It is the eleventh largest lake and seventh largest public reservoir in Indiana with a 1,650 acres and 24 miles of shoreline. It consists of Riddle Point Park, Tulip Trace Trail, a boat launch, a beach, a bathhouse, a playground, and a shelter. The park is open daily from 8A – 8P, Memorial Day to Labor Day. There is a $10 entrance fee during this time. The rest of the year, the park is open, but some of the amenities are not available.
Since we visited in October, we didn’t have to pay an entry fee so we drove past the entry gate and turned right, parking in a gravel lot. Just to the right of the lot was a gravel trail. It took us to an overlook above the lake. We continued to follow it into the woods and over a bridge. It eventually took us behind a camp and to a spot where Sunny climbed some rocks and was able to get into the water. Later I learned this was the Tulip Trace Trail that had been renovated by a Boy Scout troop. Total distance was about half a mile.
After exploring the water we reversed our path and walked back through the woods to the parking lot. We walked past our car and found another gravel path to the right. This led us to a picnic area and Riddle Point. Although it was closed to vehicle traffic, we could easily walk around the gate and it made a nice walk. On the return, we found a path that took us over the water, behind the bathhouse and playground. As we walked around we found the beach and again Sunny got down to the water. We continued to follow the shoreline and walked along a big grassy field overlooking the water. Although this was not our traditional walk through the woods, Sunny enjoyed all the great smells and getting her feet wet.
Lake Lemon has a lot of options from hiking in the woods, along the shoreline, and even getting into the water. There is a beautiful park and great places to launch boats and kayaks. You can picnic, bring your kids to play on the swings, and even have a gathering at the shelter. Sunny loved exploring in the woods and being able to get down to the water in several areas. Although we didn’t find a lot of trails in the woods, we enjoyed walking around the water on the grass and in the park. It was truly peaceful and quiet the day we went, but I imagine during the summer this is quite busy. We rate this park and lake 3 out of 4 paws up with the only negatives being no true trails in the woods and the likelihood of it being much busier during the season.
How do I get there?
We used Riddle Point Park as the location in our GPS which had us take 45N toward Unionville. Shortly before Unionville, take a left on N. Tunnel Road and follow that to the end. It’s about 15 miles from Bloomington, depending where you live.
For more information, check out the Lake Lemon Conservancy District website.