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Camping at Hoosier National Forest

Hoosier National Forest
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Camping Options

Developed Campgrounds: Hoosier National Forest offers several developed campgrounds which provide amenities like picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms, and drinking water. Examples include:

  • Hardin Ridge Recreation Area: Offers RV and tent camping with some sites providing electric hookups.
  • Indian-Celina Lake Recreation Area: Includes two campgrounds with amenities around two small lakes.

Dispersed Camping: Dispersed camping is allowed in many parts of the forest for those who prefer a more primitive experience. There are a few regulations in place to protect the environment:

  • Camp at least 100 feet away from any stream or body of water.
  • Follow Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the natural surroundings.

Campsite Reservation & Fees

Reservations: Some campgrounds and sites can be reserved in advance through the Recreation.gov website or by calling the reservation line. Other sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Fees: Campsite fees vary based on the type of site and amenities provided. Check current rates on the official Hoosier National Forest website or Recreation.gov.

Campfire Safety

Regulations: Before starting a campfire, check any current fire restrictions or rules. Use designated fire rings where available.

Firewood: Due to concerns about invasive insects, the use of local firewood is strongly encouraged. Bringing in firewood from outside the area is usually discouraged or may even be prohibited.

Wildlife & Safety

Encounters: The forest is home to a variety of wildlife. To ensure your safety and the protection of wildlife:

  • Keep a clean camp to avoid attracting animals.
  • Store food and scented items securely.
  • Be aware of how to react if you encounter a potentially dangerous animal.

Leave No Trace

Principles: When camping in Hoosier National Forest, adhere to Leave No Trace principles:

  • Plan ahead and prepare.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  • Dispose of waste properly.
  • Leave what you find.
  • Minimize campfire impacts.
  • Respect wildlife.
  • Be considerate of other visitors.

Hiking and Activities

Trails: There are over 260 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Some notable trails include:

  • Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area: Offers a true backcountry experience.
  • Two Lakes Loop Trail: Encircles Indian and Celina lakes.

Activities: Besides hiking, there are opportunities for fishing, boating, swimming, and exploring historical sites within the forest boundaries.

Weather & Seasonal Considerations

Weather: Indiana weather can be unpredictable. Be prepared for sudden changes and check the forecast before you head out.

Seasons: Different seasons offer unique experiences, but also come with their own challenges such as insects in summer or potentially harsh conditions in winter. The best times to visit are generally spring and fall when the weather is moderate.


Facilities: Efforts are made to provide facilities that are accessible to everyone. Check specific campground descriptions for information about accessible campsites and facilities.

Local Regulations and Information

Contact Information: For the most current information regarding regulations, closures, and conditions, contact the Hoosier National Forest:

  • Visit their website.
  • Call their office.
  • Stop by a ranger station.

Following these guidelines and regulations will help ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable camping trip in the Hoosier National Forest.

Map of Campgrounds in Hoosier National Forest
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