When most people think of Indiana, they think
of flat farm land and agriculture, such as corn and soy beans. The Hoosier National Forest
lies in the rolling hills of south central Indiana and provides lush, green, public lands
for visitors to enjoy. The Hoosier National Forest, Indiana�s National
Treasure, provides over 203,000 acres and is the only National Forest in IN. The Forest
covers nine counties in the south central part of the state extending from the shore
of Lake Monroe south of Bloomington to the Ohio River in Perry County. The Forest is
also home to the states only congressionally designated wilderness area. The 13,000 acre
Charles C. Deam wilderness is located in the northern part of the Forest and is named for
the first State Forester. The wilderness was established by congress in 1982. Visitors
should practice Leave no trace outdoor ethics in the wilderness, and make a concerted effort
to take only memories and leave only footprints. Being within a two hour drive of major metropolitan
areas provides accessible natural areas that are easy to get to and enjoy.
The Hoosier provides recreation opportunities for visitors including over 260 miles of trail
available for hiking, mountain bike riding, and horseback riding. Multiple use as well
as single use trails are available. In addition to relaxing and reconnecting with nature the
Hoosier is popular for hunting and fishing. Sportsmen must follow regulations enforced
by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources but the Hoosier provides excellent habitat
for many wildlife and fish species, including several threatened, endangered, and rare species.
The Forest is in the central hardwoods region. Oaks and hickories, maples, and beeches, make
this a prime destination for viewing fall colors from late September through October.
The Hoosier hosts four large campgrounds that provide a variety of experiences from tent
camping to sites for recreational vehicles with electric water and dump stations.
Hardin Ridge campground is located on the shores of Lake Monroe and provides a swimming
beach and an all season boat dock. Tipsaw, Indiana, and Celina Lake recreation areas
are located on the southern part of the Forest and have smaller lakes for swimming and fishing.
Some interesting places to visit on the Hoosier include: Brooks Cabin, Hickory Ridge Fire
Tower, Sundance Lake, Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest, Wesley Chapel Gulf. Buffalo Trace,
Hemlock Cliffs, the Lick Creek African American Settlement, Rickenbaugh house, and buzzard
roost. So take some time to explore southern Indiana
starting with Indiana�s national treasure the Hoosier National Forest.