Charles C. Deam Wilderness

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Charles C. Deam Wilderness

The Charles C. Deam Wilderness offers 36 miles of trails for hiking, backpacking, and horse riding through scenic hardwood forest and varied terrain with views of nearby Monroe Lake. The area was designated a wilderness in 1982 and encompasses nearly 12,953 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.

Since its designation as a wilderness, visitor use in the area increased to a point that significant damage was occurring. Special restrictions are in place to protect the wilderness character. Visitors to this special place are asked to follow these restrictions to lessen your impact and share responsibility in preserving this unique natural resource.

At a Glance

Permit Info: Horse riders age 17 years and older require a trail use permit
Usage: Heavy
  • No wheeled vehicles including carts, wagons and bicycles, or motorized travel is allowed.
  • Camping within 100 feet of ponds, Monroe Lake, trails, or streams is allowed only in designated sites.
  • Camping is restricted within 300 feet of designated trailheads, wilderness access points, and horse camps.
  • Geocaching is prohibited.
  • Horse riders must stay on designated trails. Horse riders must have a permit.
  • Park only in designated areas. Do not park along Tower Ridge Road.
  • 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.
  • Target shooting or practicing is not allowed.
  • Stock may not be tied within reach of any living tree.
  • Group size is limited to 10 persons or less.
Closest Towns: Bloomington, IN
Water: none
Restroom: Vault Toilets at nearby Blackwell Horse Camp and Brooks Cabin Wilderness Welcome Center
Operated By: Brownstown Ranger District

General Information


From east State Route 46 in Bloomington, take State Route 446 south to Tower Ridge Road. You will see a sign for the Charles C. Deam Wilderness and the Maumee Boy Scout Camp. This gravel road is after the lake and on the left as you are heading south. The Wilderness boundary begins just a few hundred feet down this road and continues for several miles.

Please get a map before visiting this area, as the boundaries are not clearly marked. 

General Notes:

Additional Resources

Welcome Center

Before you enter the Wilderness, stop by the Welcome Center at Brooks Cabin. Here you can learn why a federally designated Wilderness area is a special place with special rules. Through exhibits, interactions with staff or volunteers, and printed materials you can learn about the importance of camping, hiking and horse riding with minimal impacts.  

The Welcome Center is operated primarily by volunteers and is generally open during high use seasons.  The hours are flexible.  When closed, there are outdoor signs and brochures to provide site information.

Minimize Your Impact

Help prevent trail damage.

  • Avoid horse riding and hiking when trails are muddy. 
  • If you do hike when trails are muddy, wear boots or waterproof footwear and stay to the middle of puddles to prevent soil erosion and not widen the trail.
  • Don't make detours or cut throughs.

The Deam Wilderness area was previously inhabited by Native Americans and early European settlers.  As a result, there are many historical sites the Forest Service is responsible for.  We all play a role in maintaining our cultural heritage.  Practice Leave It As You Find it, and do not move or remove artifacts.

Trail Courtesy

Observe the following trail courtesy:

  • Hikers yield to horse riders.
  • Horse riders control your horse.
  • Pack out your trash.


Parking is allowed from Tower Ridge Road in only three locations:

Parking along Tower Ridge Road is not allowed.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Camping & Cabins

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Horse Riding & Camping

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Nature Viewing

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Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
37.3 miles

  Latitude : 

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