Hoosier National Forest - Visitor Information
Hoosier National Forest Map
This information answers questions most frequently asked by visitors to the Hoosier National Forest. Additional information may be covered on other pages.
Backpacking or cross county hiking is permitted anywhere on National Forest (NF) lands. Take extra precautions during hunting seasons by wearing bright orange clothing. It is a good idea to carry a compass. Forest streams do not meet the safety standards for drinking water. we recommend taking your water with you or treating it before drinking. NF ownership is scattered with interspersed privately-owned lands. Respect the rights of these owners by staying on public lands.
Primitive camping is allowed on NF land away from developed campgrounds and anywhere that your camping equipment and/or vehicle do not block developed trails or road rights-of-way. Camping is also NOT allowed within designated Special Areas, within 100 yards of Grubb Ridge Trail Head and Blackwell Pond, or at the Hickory Ridge Fire Tower site. Bring enough drinking water for the duration of your stay. Leave a clean campsite by packing out all refuse. There is no charge for primitive camping, although a 14-day limitation is in effect. In the Deam Wilderness, group size is limited to 10 people. In other parts of the Forest, groups larger than 25 people require a permit. It is not necessary to check in with Forest Service.
Off-Road Vehicles (ORV's)
ORV's are NOT permitted on trails in the Hoosier NF. ORV's and 4-wheel drive vehicles are confined to existing roads open to public use. All vehicles must therefore be properly licensed and drivers must abide by State laws.
Non-motorized bicycles ARE permitted on some trails in the Hoosier NF. The exceptions are: the Two Lakes Loop trail at Indian-Celina Lake and within the Deam Wilderness area. Wheeled or motorized vehicles are not allowed in designated wilderness areas (wheelchairs for people with disabilities are an exception). In all other areas, use caution since bicycles share the trails with hikers and horseback riders.
Rock climbing is permitted on NF land. However, if you are not an experienced climber, we suggest you first contact Indiana University for safety information.
When climbing or rappelling off cliff faces, please avoid disturbing plants on the rock faces. The environment these plants inhabit is very fragile, and some are rare species.
Small, open fires are permitted except during extremely high fire danger. No special permits are required. Please use extreme caution with campfires and make sure they are dead out before vacating the campsite. Use only dead and down material for firewood. Cutting or defacing live trees or shrubs is prohibited. Campfires are not allowed within rock shelters.
Reservations at Campgrounds
Reservations are not required for developed campsites. However, to be assured a campsite you may wish to make a reservation. To reserve a campsite at Hardin Ridge, Tipsaw, or Celina Lake Recreation Areas, call the National Reservation System at 1-800-280-CAMP. Hearing impaired persons should call 1-800-879-4496. A reservation service fee will be charged. You should call 5 days in advance. Camping is limited to 14 days within a 21 day period. Personal property should not be left unattended for more than 24 hours and campsites should be occupied the first night.
Hunting, Trapping, and Fishing
State laws on hunting, trapping and fishing are enforced on NF lands, requiring either resident or non-resident license. Hunting is allowed anywhere on NF land except in recreation areas with designated boundaries and the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest south of Paoli. Please have a detailed map and do not trespass on adjacent private land.
Discharging a firearm (including a bow and arrow) is prohibited in or within 150 yards of a developed recreation site, a residence, or any place where people are likely to be. Shooting across roads or bodies of water is also prohibited.
Permits are required for personal or commercial collection of plants from the NF. Collection of endangered, threatened, or rare species is prohibited, and certain areas of the Forest are closed for plant collecting. Plant collecting permits are $10 and available at any Forest Service office.
Many Forest facilities are specifically designed to provide access to all people, others are accessible to varying degrees of physical limitations. Call ahead for specific information.
The Forest Service has two passport programs: The Golden Age Passport for people 62 year of age or older ($10), and the Golden Access Passport for people with disabilities (free). Both passports entitle the bearer to 50% off NF camping fees. Applicants must apply in person.
The Hoosier NF does not provide cabins or horses for rent.
A separate map information sheet provides the information necessary for ordering maps from the Hoosier NF. Recreation information is also included on these maps. The large Forest map sells for $4.
Topographic maps at the scale of 2 1/2 inches per mile, and a map of the Charles C. Deam Wilderness are also sold at or may be ordered from, our offices.These maps will show NF ownership and other topographic and cultural features.
Hoosier NF Offices
Hoosier National Forest offices are open 8a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (EST), Monday - Friday.
Forest Supervisor's Office and
Brownstown Ranger District Office
Hoosier National Forest
811 Constitution Avenue
Bedford, IN 47421
Tell City Ranger District Office
248 15th Street
Tell City, IN 47586
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