Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Big trees at Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest

This 88 acre tract south of Paoli is the last old growth forest of it's size in Indiana. The site has been left virtually undisturbed since before it was purchased by Joseph Cox in 1816. After being protected by the Cox family for 124 years, when a descendent died in 1940, the land was put up for sale. It was saved from being cut by a timber company due to a community effort and the US Forest Service purchasing the land back from the company. Later in 1944 the tract was designated a Research Natural Area by the Forest Service. Along with a 165-acre buffer, the area is managed to protect its unique qualities. 

At a Glance

Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Light
Restrictions: Since this area is a Research Natural Area no hunting, camping, target- shooting, or plant collecting is allowed. Horses and bikes are also prohibited in this area.
Closest Towns: Paoli, IN
Water: none
Restroom: none
Information Center: Hoosier National Forest - Tell Ciry Ranger District Office

General Information


From Paoli: Go south on Ind. 37 to the parking lot on the left.

US 150 entrance:  From Paoli, go south on U.S. 150 about 1 mile to the parking lot on the right (across from S. Triangle Road).

General Notes:

There is a 1.3 mile trail between SR 37 and a rock wall commemorating the Pioneer Mothers Forest at the bottom of the hill where a day use picnic area once stood. In the bottomland area was also a prehistoric Native American village site. Extensive excavations have been done to study this prehistoric village which is thought to date to A.D. 1380.

Additional Resources

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Nature Viewing

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Outdoor Learning

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Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
1.3 mile

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 


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Reserve a Campsite or Shelter Link opens in a new window

An image of a drone with a camera floating above a forest.

Recreation Drone Tips Link opens in a Pdf Document