Horseback and Mountain Bike Trail Permits

Riding the trails

Pictured: Horseback riders set out from the Horsecamp at Charles C. Deam Wilderness. The vast majority of recreation fees from fees like trail permits go back into improving and expanding recreation programs.

Trail Use Permits

Trail use permits permits are required when using a horse or bicycle on a Hoosier National Forest trail designated for that use, at trailheads, or within campgrounds.

Trail Use Permit Types

  • Daily use permits - Good for a single calendar day and cost $5.00 per day. 
  • Annual use permits - Good from January 1st through December 31st each year and cost $35.00 annually.

Where are trail use permits required?

Permits are required when using a horse or bicycle on a Hoosier National Forest trail, trailhead, or campground designated for that use. Permits are not required on public roads, or on the Hardin Ridge trail. Horses and bicycles are required to stay on designated trails. Permits must be carried on your person or displayed from your horse or bike.

There are approximately 184 miles of trails for mountain biking, and 211 miles of trails for horseback riding on the Forest Horses are not allowed at trailheads for trails that do not allow horse use and bikes are not allowed at trailheads for trails that do not allow bike use.

How can I purchase a trail permit?

  • NEW – On-line – Permits can be purchased on-line at  You will need a account to check out. You will receive an email with your digital pass receipt.  It can be printed and carried this with you or have it available on your phone.
  • In person - Permits can be purchased at any of our offices or from local vendors. Some businesses operate seasonally, so call ahead for availability.
  • Mail order -  You can request a trail use permit by mail by using our mail-in order form.
  • Telephone - Call any of our offices to order a trail use permit by phone.

Who needs a trail tag?

A permit is required for each adult rider age 17 and older. The permit is issued to the rider and may not be loaned to another person. Pack stock and foals without a rider are not required to have permits. Indiana Department of Natural Resources bridle tags are for state lands and are not valid for the Hoosier National Forest.

What is the permit program for trail use?

This program is authorized under the Recreation Enhancement Act which permits federal land management agencies to charge modest fees for some recreation uses.

Hoosier National Forest requires an annual or day-use permit for horse and bicycle use for those 17 years of age or older. 95% of the income from these permits is used to maintain trails, enhance trailheads, and improve visitor services on the Hoosier National Forest