Location: Enter from either Orchard Ave or Pine Lake Ave entrances LaPorte, IN. 46350
Hours: Sunrise to 10pm daily
Trail Length: 1 mile - paved, easy
Entrance Cost: Free
Parking: Yes, at the boat launch, at the pond or at the beach house
Dog Friendly: Yes, on a leash.
Restrooms: At the beach house
Soldier’s Memorial Park is over 500 acres in size and might seem a bit daunting when looking for trails, but access to a good online map helps get a good sense of this sprawling park. My phone’s GPS directed me to enter the park from the smaller Orchard Avenue entrance which takes you directly past the Mountain Bike trailhead and the boat launch on your left. Just past the boat launch, there are a handful of parking spaces at the Cravens Pond sign and here is where the walking path around the pond begins. It is important to note that the sign at the start of the path reads Cravens Pond but most maps online call it Stone Lake.
Fairly new to the park and completed in 2020, this is a two-lane, paved path curving along the edges of Cravens Pond and ending at the beach house on the far end. The day of my visit was a bright, sunny mid-day summer Sunday. As I walked along the shoreline, peaceful fishermen bass boats and pontoon boats enjoyed the lake on one side of the path while lovely older homes overlooked the lake from their steep perch on the other side.
The area is surprisingly teeming with wildlife and vegetation. Bull frogs called to each other in deep chords among lily pads with bobbing yellow and white flowers thick along many parts of the shoreline. A family of swans glided out of the water to rest on the grassy bank for a while. I startled a turtle who was sunning himself near the boat docks and before I could focus my camera, his retreat was so quick that all I was able to catch was his splash. I even spied a chubby woodchuck crossing the road and disappearing into the vegetation on the other side.
After bordering the shoreline along Lake Shore Drive, the path splits, turns across a little bridge and follows a shady, tree-lined street to the beach house.
The walk there and back is about a mile. It is a lovely place for an afternoon stroll and is perfect for families with a baby stroller or small children on bikes. You can also access the walking path from the opposite direction, entering the park off Pine Lake Blvd onto Wardner Street which turns into one-way Lake Shore Drive, parking at the beach house and walking in the opposite direction.