There are many animals who call the National Forest home. If you walk softly you are likely to encounter many of these creatures in the Forest. Bring your binoculars. If you have an interest in bugs or amphibians the Hoosier offices sell insect boxes and lens which allow children to closely examine these interesting life forms. Be sure to not harm these creatures and leave nothing but footsteps with your visit and take home only memories. We do have several watchable wildlife sites which are specifically designated because of the likelihood of seeing wildlife at these locations.
The Charles C. Deam Wilderness offers 36 miles of trails for hiking, backpacking, and horse riding through scenic hardwood forest and varied terrain with views of nearby Monroe Lake. The area was designated a wilderness in 1982 and encompasses nearly 12,953 acres of the Hoosier National Forest. Wilderness designation places this area in a special legal status (subject to the 1964 Wilderness Act). It is managed to preserve a natural condition and provide opportunities for solitude.
Since its designation as a wilderness, visitor use in the area increased to a point that significant damage was occurring. Special restrictions are in place to protect the wilderness character. Visitors to this special place are asked to follow these restrictions to lessen your impact and share responsibility in preserving this unique natural resource.
Visitors should be aware that due to Monroe Lake’s purpose of flood control, water levels fluctuate and some campsites may experience flooding and be unusable for periods of time.
The German Ridge Recreation Area includes a campground, a 24-mile multiple use trail, a short hiking trail around a scenic lake, a day use area for swimming and picnicking, and several historic buildings. It was established during the Civilian Conservation Corps days and has long been a popular get-away for people in southern Indiana.
Hardin Ridge Recreation Area is located on Monroe Lake south of Bloomington, Indiana. This recreation area offers six campground loops, two picnic areas and three shelterhouses, two of which are available for reservation, a three lane boat launch, a swim beach with shelter and showerhouse, hiking trails, and two rental cabins on the lake. The campground loops offer modern restroom and shower facilities. This area is operated by a concessionaire under a special use permit issued by the Forest Service from mid-April through mid to late October.
Indian-Celina Lakes Recreation Area is located two miles south of Interstate 64 off Indiana 37. It offers opportunities for both overnight and day use, with two camping loops and two lakes that offer paddling, fishing and boating (electric motors only), and two trails for hiking. This area is operated by a concessionaire under a special use permit issued by the Forest Service from mid-April through late October.
Tipsaw Lake Recreation Area is located six miles south of Interstate 64, off of Indiana 37. It offers opportunities for both overnight and day use, with three camping loops, two group camping areas, a picnic area with two shelters available for reservation, a beach with modern bathhouse, Tipsaw Lake, which offers paddling, fishing, and boating (electric motors only) opportunities, and a 5.9 mile trail around the lake for hiking and biking. A boat launch with large parking area is provided. This area is operated by a concessionaire under a special use permit issued by the Forest Service from mid-April through late October.