Hoosier National Forest Camping Guide

If you are looking for an activity that you can do at any time of the year, then camping is the thing to do. Of course, I’m biased….I have a  website that is all about camping!

But if you do want to go camping, and are looking for a place to go in the midwest, then Hoosier National Forrest might be the place for you and your family to go! It has something that your family, kids, and friends will enjoy without spending too much of your vacation budget. Read on to know what this place has to offer!

What is Hoosier National Forest Camping known for?

Hoosier National Forest is not your typical wildlife forest that only houses wild animals, trees, and plants. This is known for being a community for a small population. It is located in hilly Indiana and has different features to offer to locals and tourists. This place hides beautiful back-country trails, rolling brown hills, and long rural crossroads. It’s a stunning 203,000-acre forest worth treasuring.

This tourist spot offers different highlights to people, including camping, day hikes, horseback riding, fishing, and mountain biking. Anything that will take you away from the stress of the city is here–no car horns, no traffic lights, no rushing people. Adults and kids are welcome to enjoy the green sceneries. Although there is no beach to do other stuff like swimming and surfing, there’s a special place for people who are craving the natural waters of the forest. Look for small bodies of water like streams or rivers and swim like you are on the beach!


What is the best time of year to go?

The best time to go to Hoosier National Forest is from March to May when the climate is calm. During this period, there’s no rain and the heat of the weather is tolerable. The tall trees and plants in the forest help a lot in making the environment cool and calm. If you want to go camping smoothly, you should avoid the rainy days and summer. You wouldn’t want to spend your nights in a tent while experiencing the forest rain! You wouldn’t want to spend daytime sweating either. It’s best that the weather is on its average state for you to have the most memorable outdoor experience.


What campsites are there?

There are plenty of developed campgrounds are located within the Hoosier National Forest such as the Blackwell Horsecamp, Hardin Ridge Recreation Area, and German Ridge Recreation Area.

Blackwell Horsecamp is one campground that offers dispersed camping, meaning, you don’t need designated campsites for your group and the amenities are very few. This is a popular destination, especially for those with horses because most facilities aim to provide care for these animals. Just go to Tower Ridge Road and travel one mile from Highway 446 to reach it.

The Hardin Ridge Recreation Area has a 1,200-acre area. It is located near the Monroe Lake which is considered the largest lake in Indiana. If you want to enjoy freshwater and swim like you are on a beach, this campground is a good alternative. 6 loops consisting of 203 campsites are here. 36 of them are meant for walk-in guests.

Another great campground is the German Ridge Recreation Area with a 24-mile trail used for hiking. Near the area is a scenic lake that is ideal for picnics and swimming. Families will surely enjoy not just camping but recreational activities too. A total of 20 campsites sits in this recreation area.


Things to know before going?

Each campground has different rules and restrictions. If you choose to go camping in Hardin Ridge Recreation Area, reservations should be made for campsites, cabins, and picnic shelters. The reservation can be done online too. There are walk-in sites for guests who did not reserve slots. However, they are full most of the time so you really have to do advance booking of the campsites to secure slots for your family and friends. The fees would depend on the amenities you will use. As part of camping fees, $20 per night is required for primitive and walk-in sites. $27 per night is required for electricity. There are still other camping fees that you need to be aware of before your camping schedule. Make sure to inquire about them when you do the reservation.

Blackwell Horsecamp, on the other hand, has no camping fees but horseback riders need to have permits in order to do some activities. It’s open all year round. A good camping experience here will depend on the tools you have. Since there are only a few camping sites, you might want to bring your own RVs or tent where you can stay.

Other general restrictions apply too. No pets are allowed and hunting is not permitted. Recreational areas are meant for people to enjoy camping and other recreational activities. All US federal and state laws will apply to protect the forest features.

Should you go camping there?

Hoosier National Forest is unlike any other camping locations. There are no rocky mountains and pristine sand beaches, which is perfect for those who are used to seeing those types of destinations. It gives a whole new level of camping and recreational experience. The ocean view of other locations is replaced by the sight of tall trees. The sound of the waves is substituted by the sound of tweeting birds and forest breeze. When you go camping here, it’s like you are waking up with a refreshing soul and mind brought by the environment itself.

On top of the features of the forest, you also have a pretty good list of options when it comes to campgrounds. You are not restricted to use tents or RVs only. There are cabin rentals too if you want to take your overnight stay to the next level. Developed campgrounds are amazing and they are fit for all types of campers. Whether it’s RV camping, group camping, or dispersed camping you are craving for, Hoosier National Forest can give it to you!


Wrap up

Hoosier National Forest is a great location overall. It’s a destination that can support your needs for a different camping experience. It offers a new environment where kids and adults can enjoy the goodness of life. If you want to break free from your busy life for a while, don’t forget to prepare yourself for a little forest encounter.

Article Author
Sean's an avid camper, kayaker, and RVer. He loves spending time finding new trails and campsites to take his family and friends.