Hoosier National Forest - Tipsaw Lake Recreation Area

The Tipsaw Recreation Area is part of the Hoosier National Forest. This recreational complex is located on and around 131 acre Tipsaw Lake. The area is 6 miles south of Interstate 64 off State Highway 37. It offers family and group camping as well as picnicking, boat launching, swimming, hiking, biking, and interpretive programs. The campground is open from 5/15 - 10/15.

This recreation area is operated by Recreation Resource Management, Inc. A concessionaire who leases the site from the forest service.


Family camping at Tipsaw is on 35 sites divided between two shady loops. Each loop contains centralized water, flush toilets, hot showers, and a recharge table for electric motor batteries. A selection of single or extra large, electric or non-electric sites are available. A maximum of two vehicles and 8 people are allowed in the single sites, and 16 people and four vehicles are allowed in the extra large sites.

Family camping fees are charged. Golden Age and Golden Access passport holders will receive a reduction on campground fees. Some sites may be reserved by calling the National Reservation System at 1-800-280-CAMP (TTY is 1-800-879-4496). Three group camps are offered with capacities up to 250 persons. Group camps contain water and vault toilets. Showers are available in the family campground. Catbrier Loop group camping site has a large shelter with lights and electrical outlets. Golden Rod Loop has 6 individual sites, one is electric, water, and a pit toilet. Primrose Loop has 5 individual sites with water and a pit toilet. Group camps are open from 4/1 -10/15 and may be reserved by calling the National Reservation System mentioned above .

Group camp sites are available. See pricing information here .

Information on the campground and site availability may be gotten from the entrance gate Recreation Resource Management Host at 812-843-4891. Information about general Forest activities and and facilities may be obtained from the Tell City Ranger Station, 248 15th Street, Tell City, IN 47586, phone 1-812-547-7051, TTY 1-812-547-6144 or fax 1-812-547-6144. Some brochures and maps may be obtained at the entrance gate from the Hosts.

Day Use Fees

A parking fee per day is charged past the entrance gate except to campground occupants and those having picnic shelter reservations. An annual pass is available at the gate for a fee and this is good for Indian-Celina as well. The beach and picnic is open from 5/15 - 9/30. The boat ramp is open all year. There are no fees from 10/16 - 5/14.

Picnic Sites and Shelters

Overlooking the lake near the beach are 15 picnic sites and two shelter houses. Horse shoe pits and an open area for games is near the picnic shelters. Shelters may be reserved by calling the National Reservation system referenced above . A fee is charged when making reservations for the beach shelters. Shelters are available on a first come basis when not reserved.


Fishing for bass, catfish, and panfish is considered excellent in Tipsaw Lake. Only electric motors are allowed. The boat ramp and associated parking are open year-round.


A beautiful swimming beach and modern bathhouse are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. This beach offers a combination of sand and sun, or shady grass covered hillsides. There are no lifeguards but a fully accessible beach and swimming area is provided. No glass containers or pets are allowed on the beach or lawn areas.


A seven mile trail for hiking and biking runs from the day use area around the lake. There are scenic overlooks and a diversity of forest types and conditions offering a variety of scenery and wildlife habitat.

Other Services

Tipsaw Recreation Area is located in the center of rural Perry County but is only a short drive to groceries, bait and tackle, other boating or fishing experiences, and trail systems. Many other services require a little longer (15-20 minute) drive into a larger community for everything from church services to hospital, dining, and shopping.