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Have You completed the 9 Lake Challenge?

Hundreds of visitors travel to Chain O'Lakes State Park each year to embark on the famous 9 Lake Challenge and earn a coveted sticker and the chance to proudly say, "I paddled the chain!"

boat rental at Chain O'Lakes State Park

The 9 Lake Challenge is a paddling adventure that will take you five miles across scenic waterways, through forested channels, to nine connected kettle lakes. Few other opportunities to enjoy the landscape rival this unique boater's vantage point. Along the 9 Lake Challenge route are nine photos ops you need to be on seek out to show you completed the journey. You can complete the challenge in a single visit, or multiple visits.

Be sure to hang on to the photos you capture! Create your itinerary to complete the challenge by referring to the map:

9 Lake Challenge Paddle Map

Above is the 9 Lakes Paddle Challenge Map to help you get started.

Different ways to complete the Challenge

Single trip

The most popular way to complete the 9 Lake Challenge is in a single trip, paddling five miles from end to end or ten miles round-trip. You can launch your boat from the new EZ-dock kayak launch at Long Lake and paddle all the way to Miller Lake. If you choose this route, remember that the park does not shuttle boats, so you will need to hike, paddle, bike, or drive back to your starting point once you complete the challenge. You can also leave a vehicle or a bike at the end of the paddle route, or double back on the water and paddle back to Long Lake.

Two trips

Another popular way to complete the 9 Lake Challenge (especially for visitors who rent a boat in the park) is to complete the challenge in two trips. If you start at Sand Lake, at the boat rental, you'll be in the center of the challenge route. Here, you'll find ample parking at the top of the hill and lots of options to get on the water. Paddling from Sand Lake to Miller Lake, or from Sand Lake to Long Lake, will break up the Challenge into two 5-mile round trips. You can also shuttle the park's rental boats in your own vehicle (park a vehicle at Miller Lake or Long Lake) and make on-way trips from Sand Lake, at 2.5 miles per segment, then return your boat to the boat rental counter by shuttling it back in your vehicle.

Multiple trips

If you only have time for short outings, there are several boat launches to choose from within the park. Different launch points will access different portions of the nine connected lake trail. Boat launches are found on the Paddle Trail Map at Norman, Miller, Sand, Dock, and Long Lakes.

How you can complete the 9 Lake Challenge in four trips:

  • Trip 1: Launch at Long Lake and paddle to Dock Lake

  • Trip 2: Launch at Sand and paddle to Bowen Lake

  • Trip 3: Launch at Sand and paddle to Weber Lake

  • Trip 4: Launch at Miller and paddle to Mud Lake


Whether you complete the 9 Lake Challenge in one trip or ten, once you finish and have collected all photos capturing all nine designated spots along the way, head to Park Headquarters to show the staff and pick up your reward - and shop for 9 Lake Challenge commemorative merchandise.

We look forward to helping you make memories naturally at Chain O'Lakes State Park! Rent a boat or bring your own to complete the challenge and enjoy this popular destination's scenic beauty. Share your photos on social media using the hashtag #visitnoble.



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