Recreation Passes & Permits

Riding the trails



While much of the forest is open to the public free of charge, some places and activities require a pass or permit. Daily entry passes are required at some developed campgrounds and recreation areas on the Hoosier National Forest. Many trails and campgrounds do not. To find out if an area requires a pass and what that pass may cost, please see the specific page under our Recreation section for pass details and day-use fees.

Trail Permits

Trail Permits (or trail tags) are required for all horseback and mountain bike riding on the Hoosier National Forest. A trail tag is required for each adult rider using the trails for these purposes. 

There are two trail tag options: 

  • Daily tags cost $5.00 and are good for a single calendar day. 
  • Annual tags cost $35.00 and are good from January 1st through December 31st each year. 

Trail tags can be purchased at either the Tell City or Bedford offices of the Hoosier National Forest, through the mail, or from several local stores. There are no refunds for lost or stolen trail tags.

Where are trail tags required?

Tags are required when using a horse or bicycle on a Hoosier N.F. trail, trailhead, or campground. Tags are not required on public roads or on the Hardin Ridge beach access trail. There are approximately 175 miles of trails for bike use, and 202 miles of trails for horse use on the Forest. Horses and bicycles are required to stay on designated trails.

Who needs a trail tag?

A tag is required for each adult rider. The tag is issued to the individual rider and may not be loaned to another person. Pack stock and foals without a rider are not required to have tags. Tags must be carried on your person or displayed from your horse or bike. Indiana Department of Natural Resources permits do not apply to federal National Forest lands. Horseback riders or bicycle riders 16 years of age or younger are exempt from the permit requirement.


Federal Passport Programs

Image of an Annual America the Beautiful Pass

Several Federal agencies have combined their recreation passes into a program known as America the Beautiful – the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. Participating agencies include the USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation. With the change, rules are different regarding what services are eligible for discounts.  This information is provided to let you know how these passes apply to the Hoosier National Forest.


Order Trail Tags by Mail

Can't make it to one of our offices or vendors? Download a form to request a trail tag by mail. 

Vendor List

Trail tags can be purchased at several local stores. See addesses, telephone numbers, and directions of stores that have partnered with us to sell these tags.