Hoosier National Forest Guide

The 202,814-acre Hoosier National Forest is a testimony to the stewardship taken up by the U.S. Forest Service and those residents living within the borders of the preserve. Located in southern Indiana's hills, the forest includes streams, lakes, and reservoirs filled with fish. Hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders share the more than 265 miles of trails that wander through the forest. Roads bisect much of the area serving several communities that have existed inside the forest for centuries. Visitors find evidence of other hamlets that sank into ruin after the lumber industry's loss, temporary human havens that now serve as wildlife habitats gradually dissolving into the land. Lying beside Bloomington, IN, the forest skirts the Ohio River along the southern border with Kentucky.

Where to Camp

Camping in Hoosier National Forest

With all the campgrounds and opportunities to boondock, using an RV to camp at Hoosier National Forest seems the best option. There are innumerable things to do and see inside and outside the forest's borders. Having an RV parked in a campground encourages you to visit other attractions the forest offers when you know you have a comfortable resting spot awaiting you. Find the right camper for your needs at RVshare.

  • Tipsaw Lake Recreation Area

    Tipsaw Lake Recreation Area has 50 RV campsites spaced over three camping loops. The area sits inside Hoosier National Forest's confines, making it easy for those who wish to visit the forest. Boating (electric motors only), fishing, swimming, and hiking are among the favorite activities guests enjoy. A boat ramp allows easy access to the lake with a large parking lot to store boat trailers and tow vehicles while visitors are on the lake. An attractive swimming beach lets guests sunbathe and swim on the lake's shores. The campground is open from April 15 to October 15 of each year. Water hookup: Yes Electrical hookup: 30 amps Sewer hookup: No Wi-Fi: No Pet-friendly: Yes Other amenities: Fire rings, warm showers, restrooms with flush toilets, dump station Fee: $20-$30 per night

  • Indian-Celina Lakes Recreation Area

    The campground at Indian-Celina Lakes Recreation Area is divided into two sections; one runs alongside the shore of Indian Lake, the other beside Celina Lake. Between the two sections, the area offers a total of 63 RV campsites. The Indian-Celina Lakes Recreation Area provides a tranquil place where guests can boat, hike, canoe, or kayak on the lake or fish or swim from its shores. The area is open from April 15 through October 15 of each year. Water hookup: Yes Electrical hookup: 30 amp Sewer hookup: No, but a dump station is available on-site Wi-Fi: No Pet-friendly: Yes Other amenities: Picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms with flush toilets, warm showers Fee: $27 to $43 per night

  • Patoka Lake Campground

    Patoka Lake Campground offers 444 RV campsites spread over 26,000 acres. Patoka Lake, an 8,800-acre reservoir, is the area's central feature; its shoreline provides the largest camping area inside Hoosier National Forest. The sites are widely spaced, with plenty of room to deploy any slide-outs an RV may support. The lake is rich in freshwater fish and is a haven for boats, kayaks, and canoes. Water skiing, sailboarding, and windsurfing are activities that many visitors come to the campground to enjoy. Hiking trails vary in intensity from easy to difficult as they travel through the majestic terrain surrounding the lake. Water hookup: No Electrical hookup: 30 amps Sewer hookup: No, but a dump station is on-site Wi-Fi: No Pet-friendly: Yes Other amenities: Restrooms with flush toilets, fire rings, picnic tables, warm showers Fee: $19 to $35 per night

Shape Hiking Trails

Hoosier National Forest Hiking Trails

  • Scarce O' Fat Loop

    The Scarce O' Fat Loop runs around Lake Yellowstone inside Hoosier National Forest. The trail runs beneath a hardwood forest canopy where deep hollows, high ridges, and cascading streams keep hikers' attention. The hike's pinnacle is at High King Hill's summit, where Lake Yellowstone's view leaves no doubt to the majestic nature surrounding the hiker.

    Length: 5.7 miles

    Intensity: Intermediate

  • Downey Hill Full Loop

    The Downey Hill Full Loop crosses creeks and reaches high ridgelines as it circumnavigates the deep valley where wildlife flourishes among the deep tangles of the forest. At least one glacial erratic rock is distinguishable from the shale commonly found along the trail.

    Length: 5.0 miles

    Intensity: Intermediate

  • Sycamore Trail Loop

    In the whole of Hoosier National Forest, there are only a handful of trails limited to hikers. Of those trails, Sycamore Trail Loop ranks among the top. For those seeking a half-day of solitude, this lightly used trail provides an opportunity to get away from everyone and everything as you contemplate the nature of an area where undulating ridges dominate hidden valleys and forests cover the terrain from deep hollows to high elevations.

    Length: 6.5 miles

    Intensity: Intermediate

  • Pate Trail Loop

    What is most intriguing about the Pate Trail Loop is its diversity of terrain. At times, hikers are climbing benches; at other times, they are hiking along ridges high above valleys carved by crashing streams. Hikers traverse the highlands, dip to walk on the shoreline of a lake, and then bend back and up to stride once again the high ridges returning to their starting point.

    Length: 5.6 miles

    Intensity: Intermediate

  • Schooner Trace-Walnut Trail Loop

    This loop combines the Schooner Trace Trail with Walnut Trail. The path is a multipurpose loop used by hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. Starting at a high location, the trail winds across ridgetops, drops into steep inclines to cross rocky streams, and then climbs swiftly back to the heights. It is a good day's hike that provides plenty of incredible views.

    Length: 6.3 miles

    Intensity: Intermediate toDifficult

Things to Do

Activities in Hoosier National Forest

Hoosier National Forest consists of a wide variety of terrain, flora, and wildlife. While most of the forest is covered by hardwoods and firs, a large section toward the south is covered by prairie grass, providing a Great Plains type of terrain to the region. The mix in the landscape brings various wildlife. Bald eagles, hawks, ground squirrels, deer, wild boars, bobcats, and other species share a relatively small land area. Guests from urban areas often gasp when confronted by the fact that they are the invaders of a natural wildlife habitat while simultaneously enjoying the sudden but brief return to nature.

  • Fishing and Water Activities

    Fishing and Water Activities Icon

    Streams, lakes, and reservoirs emerge from the wilderness, surprising those unfamiliar with wild terrain. The creeks often pool, bringing a calmness to the visiting eye, deflecting the tumbling and crashing water effects that seem to define the area. Anglers find plenty of activity, and lakes provide a surface ideal for water sports or a brief relaxing turn in the sun.

map-marker-alt-regular How to Get There

How to get to Hoosier National Forest

Address: 811 Constitution Avenue, Bedford, IN 47421

Fee: Entry fee $5

When a family rents an RV from RVshare, they introduce themselves to a whole new way to experience vacation spots like the Hoosier National Forest. With its varied terrain, incredibly diverse wildlife, and colorful flora, the forest allows a family to experience nature on many fronts. Those who vacation at Hoosier National Forest create memories that last a lifetime.