Tipsaw Lake Recreation Area


Area Status: Open
Sundial at Tipsaw Beach

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.

 

At a Glance

Current Conditions:   6/6/22  Tipsaw beach and boat ramp (small boats and kayaks) OPEN
Operational Hours: Open for hiking and other activities year-round. 
  • Camping loops are open April 15 through October 15.
  • Campground quiet hours are from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am
  • Beach is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, weather permitting
Reservations: Camping and shelters
  • The picnic shelter and some campsites sites may be reserved online or by calling 1-877-444-6777. 
  • Some sites are only non-reservabe and only available as first come, first served. 
  • A three day reservation window is required. All sites, cabins, and shelter may be available as a walkup site if not reserved within that time period. 
Fees: Day Use Fees
  • Required from April 15 through October 15.
  • $5/day for each vehicle 
  • Buses are $5 for the driver plus $1/person  (no passes accepted)
  • Annual passes available
  • Discounts available for access, senior, and military pass holders. 
Camping Fees:
  • Primitive sites - $21/night
  • Electric sites - $28/night
  • Electric and water sites - $31/night
  • Double sites - $41/night
  • Double sites, with electric- $44/night
  • Campsites are allowed one vehicle. $5/night for extra vehicles
  • Access and senior pass holders for receive half-off discount on primitive and single sites.
Shelters
  • $40/day during recreation season
  • Includes day-use fee for one vehicle
  • No discount for Access or Senior Pass holders.
Permit Info: Trail Use
  • Mountain biking on the Tipsaw Trail requires a Hoosier National Forest trail permit.
Fishing and Boating
  • Indiana state fishing permits are required for fishing. 
  • Boaters are required to follow Indiana state boat operating and registration requirements.
Hunting
  • Indiana state hunting permits are required for hunting.  
Usage: Light
Restrictions: Trail Use
  • The Tipsaw Trail is biking and hiking only.   
Beach
  • No glass containers or pets allowed on the beach
Firewood Restrictions 
  • Any firewood brought onto National Forest System land must meet ONE of the firewood requirements on Hoosier National Forest.
  • Use of on-site firewood must only be from dead, downed material. Standing trees, living or dead, may not be cut or defaced.
A complete list of US Forest Service rules and regulations are posted on bulletin boards in the campground, as well as being provide upon check-in at the recreation area. 
Water: Drinking water is available.
Restroom: Vault and Flush Toilet available
Passes: Day-Use and Annual Passes
  • Day-use or annual passes are required April 15 through October 31 and are available at the gatehouse, or instructions provided if gatehouse is not staffed.
  • Day-use and annual passes may be used at Hardin Ridge, Indian-Celina, and Tipsaw Lake Recreation Areas. 
  • Day-use and annual passes do not cover separate camping fees.
Interagency Passes
Operated By: FIND Outdoors

General Information

Directions:

Located 6 miles south of Interstate 64 off State Highway 37. Turn at the large entrance sign. The recreation area is actually a couple miles down this road. Continue down the road to the gatehouse and the recreation complex. 


General Notes:

Additional Resources


General Notes:

Additional Resources


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Sand Play

A beautiful sandy swimming beach and modern bathhouse are open Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends.  A play area is featured for children next to the beach which offers a combination of sand and sun, or shady grass-covered hillside. There are no lifeguards but a fully-accessible beach and swimming area is provided.

Call the Gatehouse to confirm the beach is open 812-843-4890.

Fees: Parking Fee for Tipsaw Area
Hours of Operation: The beach area is open 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Mountain Biking

A 5.9-mile trail for hiking or mountain biking runs from the day use area around the lake. The trail includes scenic overlooks of the lake and valley, and traverses a variety of different forest types. A trail permit is required for mountain bikers 17 years of age or older. The cost of the trail permit is $35 for an annual permit, or $5 for a daily permit. Mountain bike riders are required to stay on the designated trail and yield the right of way to hikers.

Areas for Mountain Biking at Tipsaw Lake Recreation Area

Road Cycling

This large recreation complex that includes several miles of paved roads with relatively light traffic. Rolling hills and great views offer the bicyclists an enjoyable place to spend the day with their friends and family.

Campground Camping

The campground is open April 15 through October 15. The campground includes 35 individual sites divided into two shady campground loops. Each loop contains centralized water, flush toilets, hot showers, and a recharge table for electric boat motors. Sites vary from walk-in sites, to single or double, electric or nonelectric. Catbrier Loop offers ten sites with electricity and water for larger RVs.


Firewood is available (1 cu foot bundles) for $5.A maximum of 2 vehicles and 8 people are allowed in single sites, and 16 people and 4 vehicles are allowed in double sites. If more than a single vehicle is present (or 2 vehicles for double sites), an additional $5/vehicle per day is charged.

Areas for Campground Camping at Tipsaw Lake Recreation Area

RV Camping

The campground is open April 15 through October 15. The campground includes 35 individual sites divided into two shady campground loops. Each loop contains centralized water, flush toilets, hot showers, and a recharge table for electric boat motors. Sites vary from walk-in sites, to single or double, electric or nonelectric. Catbrier Loop offers ten sites with electricity and water for larger RVs.

Firewood is available (1 cu foot bundles) for $5.A maximum of 2 vehicles and 8 people are allowed in single sites, and 16 people and 4 vehicles are allowed in double sites. If more than a single vehicle is present (or 2 vehicles for double sites), an additional $5/vehicle per day is charged.

Areas for RV Camping at Tipsaw Lake Recreation Area

Group Camping

Two group camps are offered with capacities of up to 65 people. Group campsites provide water during the open season and vault toilets.

Goldenrod Loop has one 30- amp electrical hookup. Showers are available in the main campground. Group camps are open from 4/15 through 10/15. Special arrangements may be made for groups to camp later in the fall.

Group camping fees are $40/night for the Primrose Group Site and $45 for the Goldenrod Group Site.

Reservation required?: Y

Areas for Group Camping at Tipsaw Lake Recreation Area

Lake and Pond Fishing

The 131-acre Tipsaw Lake has been touted as one of the best pan fishing lakes in southern Indiana. The lakes offer many miles of shoreline and tranquil coves for fishing.

Fish Species Variety of panfish and bass
Fishing Mode boats or shore
Fishing Platform none
Cleaning Station none
Accessible Platform none
Water Temperature Depends on season.
Fishing Method Fishing pole with bait or lures
Water/Flow Level Water fluctuates with rainfall and seasons.

Day Hiking

A 5.9-mile trail for hiking or mountain biking runs from the day use area around the lake. The trail includes scenic overlooks of the lake and valley, and traverses a variety of different forest types.

Areas for Day Hiking at Tipsaw Lake Recreation Area

Viewing Wildlife

This recreational complex has abundant wildlife, birds, amphibians and part of the fun of visiting is to see what you might find there. Roads through the native hardwood forest mixed with pine provide excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Woodland songbirds are common in this area. Winter viewing is especially good in the pine plantations. High probability of seeing deer along the roads and trails, and beside the lake in early morning. Hawks and turkey vultures are often seen soaring above the lake. Bald egles and osprey are seen occasionally perched in shoreline trees during winter. Hike the trails in April and May to see an abundance of spring wildflowers.

Species woodland songbirds, hawks, turkey vulture, deer, and turkey

Visitor Programs

During the summer season, visitors are encouraged to attend our interpretive programs. Programs are offered at the beach area or at the nearby amphitheater in the Indian-Celina Recreation Area near the Rickenbaugh House. For more information on programs at Indian-Celina Lake contact 812-547-7051.

Picnicking

Overlooking the lake near the beach are 15 picnic sites and 2 shelter houses. Horse shoe pits and an open area for games are near the picnic shelters. Shelters may be reserved though a $25 use fee is charged when making reservations for the beach shelters (5/15-10/3). They are otherwise available on a first-come basis. Vehicles are still subject to the $5 charge (with the exception of the person making the reservation).

General Info:

General Notes

Additional Resources


No. of Sites 15 sites and 2 shelter houses
Reservation Info Reservations for picnic shelters can be made by calling toll free the National Reservation System at 1-877-444-6777 (TTY is 1-877-833-6777.) Reservations are only made Memorial Day through Labor Day. The fee for making the reservation is $10. There is a minimum cancellation fee of $10.00. Reservation information is available at: http://www.recreation.gov. If not previously reserved, occupancy is on a first come basis.
Fire Information grills are available with each site
No. of Accessible sites 7 sites are accessible, 8 are not. The East Shelter House is accessible, the West Shelter house is not.

Group Picnicking

Overlooking the lake near the beach are 15 picnic sites and 2 shelter houses. Horse shoe pits and an open area for games are near the picnic shelters. Shelters may be reserved though a $25 use fee is charged when making reservations for the beach shelters (5/15-10/6). They are otherwise available on a first-come basis. Vehicles are still subject to the $5 charge (with the exception of the person making the reservation).

No. of Sites 15 picnic sites in close proximity and 2 picnic shelters
Reservation Info Reservations for picnic shelters can be made by calling toll free the National Reservation System at 1-877-444-6777 (TTY is 1-877-833-6777.) Reservations are only made Memorial Day through Labor Day. The fee for making the reservation is $10. There is a minimum cancellation fee of $10.00. Reservation information is available at: http://www.recreation.gov. If not previously reserved, occupancy is on a first come basis.
Group Shelter Two shelters
Group Cooking Facilities none
Fire Information Grills are available with the picnic shelters and near every picnic table.
Hookups - Electric Outlets are available at the east shelter house but not at the West Shelter House.

Boating - Motorized

Tipsaw Lake is one of four fishing lakes operated by the Forest Service in this area along State Highway 37. The 131-acre Tipsaw Lake is said to be an excellent fishing lake for pan fish. It offers many miles of shoreline and coves to fish for pan fish. Bring a pole and a pail of bait and spend an enjoyable afternoon.

Launch Ramps launch ramp is open year-round
Trailer Parking adequate parking
Size Restrictions electric motors only
Type of Craft Small boats.
Motor Type electric motors only
Fuel availability none
Corrals electric motors only
Water/Flow Level Varies
Marina/Mooring none

Boating - Non-Motorized

Tipsaw Lake is one of four fishing lakes operated by the Forest Service in this area along State Highway 37. The 131-acre Tipsaw Lake is said to be an excellent fishing lake for pan fish. It offers many miles of shoreline and coves to fish for pan fish. Bring a pole and a pail of bait and spend an enjoyable afternoon.

Launch Ramps launch ramp available year round
Trailer Parking adequate trailer parking
Size Restrictions none
Type of Craft Kayak or canoe
Fuel availability none
Corrals none
Water/Flow Level Varies
Marina/Mooring none

Swimming

This beach includes playground equipment and a modern bathhouse. It offers a combination of sand and sun or shady grass-covered hillside. There are no lifeguards but a fully-accessible beach and swimming area provides an enjoyable place to spend the day.

State law does allow swimmers to swim from a watercraft between sunrise and sunset in a reservoir property but not within 300 feet of a designated lauching ramp. Please use caution.

Fees: A parking fee is required for the recreation area.
Hours of Operation: Beach hours are 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. seasonally.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Related Links

Location

 
  Latitude : 
38.1315

  Longitude : 
-86.6396