U.S. National Forest Campground Guide

Hoosier National Forest


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Forest Information

The Hoosier National Forest is located in southern Indiana. It is comprised of 192,804 acres. There are 14 developed campgrounds, 10 of which meet the selection criteria.

Southern Indiana is an area of rolling hills, farmland, small towns, and the Hoosier National Forest. Located within a two hour drive of several major metropolitan areas, Hoosier has two nicely developed recreational areas in southern Indiana woodlands. One recreational area, Hardin Ridge, is located in the northern section of the Forest near Bloomington. The other, Indian-Celina Lake, is near the Louisville, Kentucky area.

Attracting car, tent, recreational vehicle (RV) and motorhome camping enthusiasts, Hardin-Ridge Recreational Area has six different campgrounds (several with electric hook-ups, flush toilets, and showers) located in mature mixed hardwood and pine forest along the ridges above the beautiful Lake Monroe. With no restrictions on boat motors and historically good Walleye and bass fishing, the Hardin-Ridge Recreational Area attracts many boaters and anglers during the summer season. A large, sandy swimming beach, with a renovated bathhouse, provides an excellent opportunity to cool off on a warm day or after a challenging hike. However, probably the best time to visit Hardin-Ridge is in the Fall. With fewer people around, the wildlife returns to the area. Warm days, cool nights and crisp mornings make walking either along the Recreation Area's trails or in Charles C. Dean Wilderness, a colorful delight.

The Indian-Celina Lake Recreation Area offers the peace and quiet of two "undeveloped" lakes. These lakes, Celina and Indian, are maintained as fishing lakes and, unlike Lake Monroe, boaters are permitted to use nothing more powerful than electric motors. Such a restriction preserves the area's tranquil nature as well as the pristine shoreline and a robust fish population. The two lakes are linked by roadway and a 12-mile loop trail. This challenging all-day hike circles both Celina and Indian lakes and winds through a healthy Hoosier National Forest woodland.

Within the Indian-Celina Lake Recreation Area is the Celina Lake campground. This two loop campground features well-shaded private campsites, flush toilets, hot showers, and electric hook- ups a short distance from Celina Lake. A unique and much appreciated feature found in the campground are several locations for recharging electric motors. A reminder of the area's past is the nearby Rickenbaugh House and Post Office providing a glimpse of what life was like a hundred years ago.

For equestrian campers there are German Ridge and Shirley Creek (doesn't meet authors' selection criteria so not included in this campground directory) campgrounds. Although there is no drinking water available at either campground, each offers a pleasant surrounding and good trails to ride while exploring the forest.

Two places that should be visited are the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest and the Tipsaw Lake beach. Near the Spring Valley Recreation Area, the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest is a delightful 88-acre parcel of land with 42-inch diameter walnut trees. Walnut trees, having been much sought after in the previous century, of this size and age, are a rare and wonderful sight for Forest visitors. The Tipsaw Lake beach area is an equally wonderful delight. While the lake is a popular fishing spot for anglers of all ages, the beach area is a perfect location for families to enjoy. The beach's design is wheelchair friendly with a gentle sloping beach, winding paved pathway, pedestals scattered around the waterline, and a special treat, foot baths. This beach area is unique to the Hoosier National Forest and deserves the many visitors that come here for water play.

The Hoosier National Forest is a place of wonder and beauty with unique attractions and a wide variety of recreation opportunities. Its developed campgrounds are nestled in the forested hills of southern Indiana and conveniently located to lakes, rivers, and trails. A comfortable drive from the metropolitan centers of Cincinnati, Louisville, Evansville, and Indianapolis, the Hoosier National Forest beckons visitors to visit time and again. Come and see for yourself.

SUPERVISOR ADDRESS 811 Constitution Ave. Bedford, Indiana 47421 812-275-5987 RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES Brownstown 811 Constitution Ave. Bedford, Indiana 47421-9599 812-275-5987 Tell City 248 15th St. Tell City, Indiana 47586 812-547-7051

Fred and Suzi Dow