Pine Knob County Park

Pine Knob Park

Another beautiful summer day in Northern Indiana so we headed out for an adventure and ended up in Howe, Indiana. We found Pine Knob County Park, a beautiful park of 254 acres with two small lakes, mature woods, a prairie, and a fen. There is also a club house, plenty of parking, picnic areas, and restrooms. The best part, though, are the four miles of handicap accessible trails through the prairie and woods.

History of Pine Knob Park

After the Indiana Governor signed legislation to create the Indiana Department of Conservation in 1919, communities were encouraged to form fish and game clubs. In 1934 LaGrange County residents formed the Howe Fish and Game Club and the Greenfield Township Fish and Game club. Then in 1943 the two clubs purchased the Meteer estate which later became the park. The original purpose was to use the land for a wild game refuge. In 1947 they built the current clubhouse and by 1948 the two clubs merged to form one club, the Pine Knob Conservation Club. The club continued meeting monthly until the late 1900s, but membership started to dwindle. By 2004 there were only 77 members and they voted to transfer the property to the LaGrange County Parks and Recreation Department who maintains the property today.

Our Adventure

The first thing you notice as you drive into the parking lot is the clubhouse. It’s a beautiful log building with Meteer Lake on the right. As you walk behind the clubhouse you notice two trails; one on the right and one on the left. We decided to take the trail on the right since we noticed an informational sign in front of it. This is the orange or archery trail which provides 3-D targets for archery and two shooting towers. You can also walk on the trail which has a restored prairie savanna, a densely wooded forest, and overlooks Meteer Lake and marshland.

Pine Knob County Park trail map

We started walking on the trail and after a short distance of compacted limestone we found a long section of wood platforms. At first it’s fairly wooded, but soon you see peaks of Meteer Lake through the vegetation on the right. A little further it opens up to nice views of the lake and even a spot where there is a bench to sit and enjoy the view.

start of the archery trail
on the board walk

As we continued on the trail the boardwalk ended and we entered the woods. We continued to the right which was still the orange archery trail. We found another section of boardwalk across marshland and another view of Meteer Lake before re-entering the woods. Here we found one of the archery shooting towers.

Pine Knob County Park
on the trail at Pine Knob County Trail
archery tower
Meteer Lake

Fen Trail

We came upon another fork in the trail and kept right which took us onto the blue or Fen Trail. This trail winds through the prairie with views of native wildflowers, marshland, and Duff Lake. The trail is both compacted limestone and sections of boardwalk. We found this to be a truly peaceful and beautiful area. About halfway through we found a restroom and shelter which would be a lovely spot for a picnic.

Fen Trail
Sunny and the wildflowers
what is that?
shelter and restroom
on the boardwalk at Pine Knob County Park

As we continued we came across Duff Lake where you can fish from the pier. After a little more walking on boardwalks we found ourselves back in the woods and a section of the archery trail. We found some interesting things in this spot; a cool log with a painted rock and a tree with a little duck. We really liked this part of the hike because the pine trees were so tall and lovely. The shade they provided was a welcome relief from the full sun in the prairie.

Duff Lake
on the board walk
into the woods at Pine Knob County Park
dog on a log
rock message
Sunny and a tree
little duck
into the woods at Pine Knob County Park

It was in this part of the hike that we noticed some critters in the woods. Sunny was first to notice a bear in the distance and wanted to investigate. Luckily after noticing he wasn’t moving we realized it was one of the 3-D archery targets. As our hike continued we saw several other fake animals in the woods. And of course we also saw many chipmunks and squirrels which also got Sunny’s attention.

All along the archery trail we noticed markers which were helpful in letting us know we were still on the trail and traveling in the right direction. The signage throughout the trails was very good. There were maps indicating “you are here” as well as directional arrows indicating we were still going in the right direction. For most of our hike we just turned to the right which kept us on the full outer loop which was just over 3.5 miles.

bear in the woods
archery sign
you are here sign

Our Rating

Sunny and I rate Pine Knob County Park 3.5 out of 4 paws up. It has nearly everything we love – miles of trails, water views, beautiful scenery, wooded areas, and a peaceful setting. The only downsides for us are the trail is not that challenging since it’s fairly flat and you can’t actually get down to the water to put your toes in it. Despite that it’s a beautiful place for a hike, you can log nearly 4M (and more if you do every trail), and there are areas to rest or have a picnic, as well as restrooms and plenty of parking. This is a place we highly recommend and it’s accessible for all no matter your mobility as the trail is wide and mostly crushed gravel or wood platforms over the water. We would caution hiking the fen trail in the heat of the day as there is not much shade and if you are hiking with a dog the boardwalks may get too hot for their feet.

happy girls at the end of our hike

How Do I Get There?

The address for Pine Knob County Park is 2825E IN-120 in Howe, Indiana. From I-69 take the LaGrange exit and follow US-20W. After 12 miles turn right onto I-3W and follow that for 6 miles. Then turn left onto IN-120W and after about 3M look for the Pine Knob County Park sign on your right. Once you park your car you will see two trails on either side of the clubhouse. The trail to the right has the map and is the one we took. The one to the left is where we came out of the woods at the end of our hike.

Pine Knob County Park entrance sign

Want more information about Pine Knob Park? Check out these websites.

LaGrange County

Pine Knob Park Trail Map

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