Deam Wilderness

wilderness logo The Charles C. Deam Wilderness area was designated a wilderness in 1982 and encompasses nearly 13,000 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.

Printable Information - Brochure and Trail Map

Information on Ordering a Wilderness Map

History of the Wilderness Area

Wilderness Etiquette

Brooks Cabin Visitor Center

Leave No Trace Ethics

Wildflower Viewing Area

Volunteer On Trail Work Days

Since its designation as a wilderness, visitor use in the area increased to a point that significant damage was occurring. In order to protect the wilderness character, regulations are enforced to control the impact of people. Visitors to this special place are asked to share responsibility in preserving this unique natural resource.  

Ruthie and Rod maintaining a trail Ruthie, the Forest Service mule, and Rod Fahl maintain trails in the Wilderness with a sled, since Wilderness regulations forbid the use of wheeled vehicles. Mules and horses are used to pack gravel and other materials in to maintain trails in the Wilderness area. For information on how wilderness trails are maintained on the Hoosier NF, click here.

 Etiquette and Rules

  1. Use of wheeled vehicles including carts, wagons and bicycles, or motorized travel is prohibited.
  2. Camping within 100 feet of ponds, Monroe Lake, trails, or streams is allowed only in designated sites. Walk-in camping throughout the rest of the wilderness area is not restricted.
  3. ​Geocaching is prohibited in the Wilderness to preserve it's natural character.
  4. Horse riders (age 17 years and older) are required to have a permit and stay on designated trails. Permits are available from our offices and local vendors.
  5. Parking is allowed along Tower Ridge Road in only three locations: Blackwell Horse Camp, Grubb Ridge Trailhead, and the Hickory Ridge Fire Tower.
  6. Campsites must be occupied the first night, and may not be left unattended for more than 24 hours without permission. Camping is limited to 14 days.
  7. Hunting is permitted in the Wilderness. Target shooting or practicing is not allowed.
  8. Stock may not be tied within reach of any living tree.
  9. Group size is limited to 10 persons or less.
  10. Observe the following trail courtesy:
  • Hikers yield to horse riders

  • Horse riders control your horse.

  • Pack out your trash.

 photo of Axsom Branch Trail Axsom Branch Trail


  • Be aware of hunting seasons. Blaze orange clothing is recommended (do not wear white) during deer season.
  • Some trails intersect roadways. If you choose to use a road as part of your trip, be mindful of traffic.
  • Ticks and chiggers are prevalent in southern Indiana. Take necessary precautions including avoiding tall grass and thick brushy areas.
  • Loose limbs and hazard trees can fall on the trail at anytime, especially on windy days.

At Blackwell Horsecamp, on the edge of the Wilderness, horses wait patiently by a special ramp built to assist people in mounting their horses.

trail scene

 To request more information, to volunteer, or for comments or suggestions, contact us at: