Salamonie has something for everyone. When I think of Salamonie, I encompass it in it’s entirety, both the Salamonie River State Forest and Salamonie Reservoir. I credit Salamonie with being where I first realized my love for nature, for camping, and for hiking, I’ve been going there for as long as I can remember. Salamonie is located between the Indiana cities of Wabash and Huntington, not far from my hometown. The reservoir is one of three in the vicinity that help control flood waters of the upper Wabash River basin.
This camping trip, our base camp was in the modern campground near the beach. Salamonie also offers primitive camping on the reservoir, as well as primitive camping in the state forest, and even a couple horsemen’s campgrounds. The modern campground is quite large with multiple comfort stations and playgrounds, a few sites actually overlook the lake (though those are mostly reserved for the big RVs). Most of the sites are small, as was our case. Our camping spot was like a small community with 5 campsites all backing up to each other with a shared large grassy area and playground, normally not the kind of spot I would reserve, but it was totally worth it for us to be able to keep an eye on Kaden in the playground from our campsite.
We arrived on Thursday, setup camp, Kaden immediately made friends with the neighbor kids, and we enjoyed a gorgeous sunset over the lake just a short hike from our camp. Within 50 yards from our camp was the access lane down to the boat mooring area, where we were able to walk the shore half way around the peninsula that we were camped on. On Friday, Robin left camp early to go to work in Logansport, leaving Kaden, Akira, and I to find our adventure for the day. With the beach not being dog friendly, that was out of the question, and most of the trails in the area I’ve walked hundreds of times so offer nothing new. Time for a new adventure!
To the northwest of the reservoir is the state forest, located on the south side of the Salamonie River. However, to the north side of the river, is Kokiwanee Nature Preserve, with nearly 200 acres of wooded ravines, bluffs, and waterfalls. Apparently, it is the former site of a girl scout camp from years ago. I was pleasantly surprised, the trails were well developed, followed creeks, lead to the river, and we even took a break to play in the water below the largest watefall. There wasn’t a lot of water this time of year, but I can imagine how spectacular it must be after a good spring storm. Funny thing is, if you were to cross the river from this waterfall to the other side, you’d just about be right at the biggest waterfall located in the state forest as well. Very cool area made for a great 2 mile hike, and Kaden was hard at his scavenger hunt all the way. From there it was a short drive to visit Hanging Rock on the Wabash River, and then back to the Salamonie Dam before heading back to camp. Friday evening was all about relaxing while Kaden played on the playground with all the other kids.
Saturday, Robin and Kaden took a boat tour on the lake. Pirates Cove Marina is attached to the park and offers boat rentals, boat mooring, bait & tackle, a camp store, and boat tours. So Robin and Kaden took 1.5 hour tour on the lake, seen an Eagle’s nest with two baby eagles in it, and learned about the sunken towns under the lake. Meanwhile Akira and I took a hike along the shore, but I had to keep Akira away from this part of the water as the blue-green algae blooms were pretty thick in this area. After the boat tour, we checked out the nature center, and then Robin & Kaden went to the beach to have a little fun in the sun & surf.
Saturday evening was an eventful one around the campground, as Salamonie was celebrating Smokey the Bear’s 70th birthday with a parade, plus it was Christmas in July weekend. There were a handful of campsites actually decorated for Christmas, but for the life of me, I didn’t get it. The last thing I want to think about in the middle of summer is a winter holiday! But Smokey’s birthday celebration was fun, Kaden got a free frisbee, punch & cookies, and his photo taken with Smokey. Then it was back to the campsite for hotdogs over the fire and another awesome sunset over the lake.
Sunday we broke down camp, and spent the rest of the day at the beach or on the trails. Robin & Kaden naturally chose the beach, so Akira and I hiked nearby trails, and even checked out the youth campground. Seemed weird to have such a huge, well maintained camping area with all the amenities and right on the lake, sitting there completely empty. I’d almost be interested in booking the entire group camp area for myself if I could afford it! It was overall a good day, and another great weekend of camping. Funny thing is, as many times as I’ve been to Salamonie, there is still a lot there that I’ve not seen. The Bloodroot Trail is a 13 mile hiking/biking trail that I’d love to bike sometime. And there are other recreation areas I’ve never been to. I’m sure my brothers know more, as they used to fish the lake often, and were the ones who got me started camping here clear back to my teen years. There really is a little something for everyone in Indiana.
(Click Pics for a Slideshow!)