This article about Hoosier National Forest camping is brought to you by Red Ledge. Their dependable gear will keep you dry and warm on your trip to any of these southern Indiana campgrounds.


The best way to enjoy Southern Indiana is through Hoosier National Forest camping. This 200,000-acre forest is a mecca for hikers, anglers, hunters, and campers. With campgrounds of every type, there’s a place for every kind of nature lover. There are more than 260 miles of trails, acres of pristine lakes, and several cool historical landmarks. These Hoosier National Forest camping spots put you in the midst of Indiana’s most magnificent landscapes.

The Best Hoosier National Forest Camping


1. Patoka Lake Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Steve D.

Patoka Lake Campground is on the western border of Hoosier National Forest, on the shores of Patoka Lake. This large modern campground has reservable sites for tents and RVs up to 55 feet. Amenities include full hookups, fire rings, flush toilets, and showers. You’re a short drive from the marina and boat ramps, where you’ll find modern amenities, rentals, and a winery. The 9,000-acre lake offers plenty of water activities, like fishing, swimming, and water skiing. You can hike the trails, view wildlife, or sharpen your archery skills. Patoka Lake is a haven where outdoor enthusiasts can rest, play, and soak up the wilderness.

“We stayed at site 197 from Wednesday to Sunday for our third trip to the Patoka campground. By far the best location as we had a trail from our site directly to a rocky beach on the lake. Frankly, site 200 is the penultimate site on this loop with copious amounts of space and two trails to the lake from the site. Small bluffs and large rocks there make a perfect perch to watch lake traffic, amazing sunsets and breathtaking views of the night sky. We could see just about all the stars. Going forward, these will be the first sites we check.”Joe U.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $12-44
  • Number of sites: 500
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

2. Indian Celina Lake

The Indian Celina Lake Recreation Area is off State Road 37, next to Indian Lake and Celina Lake. The rec area has two campgrounds to choose from, the South Slope Campground and North Face Campground. The two campgrounds are half a mile apart, offering sites for tents and smaller RVs. Amenities include electric hookups, fire rings, vault and flush toilets, and showers. The Two Lakes Trail will take you to both lakes, where you can fish for bass, view rare bird species, or explore historic landmarks. The Indian Celina Lake area is an accessible spot where you can get away and enjoy some peaceful time surrounded by nature.

“Four lakes within a short drive of each other. Celina, Indian, Tipasaw and Saddle. Very good fishing. Red ear, blue gill, bass and catfish are the catch of the day. The campgrounds are private and easy to back into.”Jamie P.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $5-43
  • Number of sites: 63
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

3. Sycamore Springs Park

Image from The Dyrt camper Ruth K.

The Sycamore Springs Park campground is on the eastern side of the Hoosier National Forest, near English. This modern family-owned campground has waterfront sites for tents and RVs. Amenities include fire rings, full hookups, flush toilets, and showers. The park has four lakes, two bubbling rivers, field sports, and historic sites. You have your choice of outdoor activities: fishing, kayaking, swimming, sporting, hiking, and biking. It’s a dry campground, so alcohol is prohibited. Sycamore Springs is a family spot that will keep you content with recreation and scenery.

“We spent the weekend here and absolutely loved it. It’s perfect for our young kids. There are multiple playgrounds, and our kids loved traveling around to play on them all. The spots are level and nice, even if a little close together, which was our only complaint. But we were right on the creek and the kids loved walking in it. The trails were great and the bridge is a must see. We used the shower one night for our kids and they were so clean and had great hot water. This park is clean, dog friendly (our dog loved it too), and has tons to do.”Amber S.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $10-35
  • Number of sites: 97
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

4. Saddle Lake Recreation Area

Image from The Dyrt camper Ronald H.

The Saddle Lake campground lies on the western edge of the Hoosier National Forest, on Saddle Lake. This primitive campground has sites for tents and RVs, with fire rings and vault toilets. There’s no drinking water, so come prepared. It’s a tranquil camping experience, nestled in a thick forest with stunning views of the 41-acre lake. You can use the boat ramp to float the lake, fish for bass, or hike the trails. You’ll often see wildlife, including deer and waterfowl. Saddle Lake is a peaceful place to get away from the crowds and enjoy a quiet weekend to yourself.

“Pretty drive going in. The place seem to be well maintained, for $5 per night it sure is a good deal. Camps were a little bit close to one another. My husband and I hiked in the early in the morning. Watching sunrise over the lake sure was a serene experience I feel like everyone should give a try. The lake was a bit small but there’s hardly a lot of people around so I think it would be great for kayaking or even fishing.”Rica Z.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $5
  • Number of sites: 13
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

This article about Hoosier National Forest camping is brought to you by Red Ledge. Their Rebel Stretch Shell Jacket for men and women is a comfortable way to keep out the elements on your next adventure.

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5. Buzzard Roost Recreation Area

Image from The Dyrt camper Sally R.

The Buzzard Roost campground is on the Ohio-Kentucky border, on the shores of the Ohio River. This small primitive campground has sites with fire rings and a vault toilet. There’s no water so you’ll have to bring your own. The best part is, camping is free. You can take the 0.5-mile trail to the river, where you can dip your feet in or cast your rod. There are several hiking trails nearby. If you prefer to drive, check out the National Ohio River Scenic Byway, with panoramic views of the river and surrounding area. The Buzzard Roost campground is a quiet place to rest your bones and enjoy the scenery unique to southern Indiana.

“If you are the type that likes to kick back and camp out with a group of friends then this is the place to be. A small hike to the river but a steep one and you may need to traverse some rocks to get down and back up. My kids like to follow the waterfall up. I personally like this spot because I grew up not far from it and it feels like home to me. If you come make sure to find a site on high ground if rain is coming in. Plenty of room here for tents and hammocks.”Sally R.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $0
  • Number of sites: 5
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

6. German Ridge Recreation Area

The German Ridge campground is also on the south edge of Hoosier National Forest, off the Ohio River Scenic Byway. This primitive campground has spacious sites with fire rings and vault toilets. You’ll need to bring your own water. You have immediate access to German Ridge Lake and the 24-mile German Ridge Trail. You can fish for bass, swim in the lake, or check out the historic buildings. German Ridge is a great basecamp for hiking, biking, hunting, and water activities. If you want a quiet respite from life, this is the place for you.

“This is a self service campground, nice trails with beautiful views for hiking or horseback. Can be busy during hunting seasons but usually quiet, Walmart and civilization is close (10miles). Vault toilets are clean, fire rings, tables and hitching posts at each campsite. During the summer there is a day use area with a beach.”Stallard R.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $8
  • Number of sites: 20
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

7. Tipsaw Lake

The Tipsaw Lake campground is on the shores of Tipsaw Lake, off State Road 37. This developed campground has shaded sites for tents and RVs. Amenities include electric hookups, fire rings, flush toilets, and showers. You can walk to the 131-acre lake to fish for panfish, kayak, or relax on the lakeside beach. There’s also a six-mile multi trail featuring scenic overlooks of the lake and valley. Tipsaw Lake is a popular place for families to enjoy the soothing relief of the forest and beyond.

“Hoosier National Forest is a nice quiet family/group oriented area. There is a basic boat ramp with dock, parking and pit toilet. The trail traverses the lake area. It’s a nice 5.9 mile tromp through the woods but I noticed it was a little unkept. The beach is the main attraction to this area of Hoosier NF. A very nice set up on the shore of Tipsaw with sand to get in all those cracks and a play area for the kids. Small pavilions on cement walkways and a picnic area with a pit toilet.”Shelly S.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $20-43
  • Number of sites: 35
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

 

Explore everything southern Indiana has to offer by staying at these Hoosier National Forest camping spots.

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