By Gabby Davis
No matter the time of year, Indiana is an excellent place to camp. The state has an abundance of places to backpack through and camp overnight, but here are the five most beautiful spots that should be on your list! Before taking a trip, be sure to check out tips brought to you by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources!
One of the best spots to backpack through and camp out is the Knobstone Trail. The trail is not for the faint of heart, as it is 58 miles and is often compared to the Appalachian Trail. It is Indiana’s longest footpath, and passes through several state forests. What makes this trail a perfect spot are the views. Once you’ve climbed several feet, you see the lay of the land for miles, and it really feels as if you’ve stepped out of Indiana and into the Appalachian Mountain area. Backpack camping is allowed, but only on public lands. It’s also suggested that overnight campers register at one of the nearby property offices, and that campers be sure to bring their own water supply. During much of the year, the trail is bare and has no incoming water source. For tips on hiking the Knobstone Trail, be sure to visit the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Another great destination for backpacking and camping in Indiana is the Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area, which is part of the Hoosier National Forest. The trail has over 37 miles, and is close to Lake Monroe, giving it that perfect lake view. The area is peaceful and is perfect for a quiet weekend getaway. The almost five-mile Sycamore Loop trail is for hikers only, and it is absolutely beautiful, especially in the fall as the leaves begin to change. Camping is allowed on the trail, but campers must stay in the designated areas. For more information, be sure to visit the USDA website.
One of the more advanced backpacking and hiking areas in Indiana is the Adena Trace Loop near beautiful Brookville, Indiana. Alternate between a calm and cool stillness as you backpack through the ravines and a high ridge top, which offers a spectacular view of Brookville Lake! The trail also offers many beautiful views of the Redbud and other flowering plants and trees. The trail itself is 25 miles-long, and it is recommended for overnight backpackers to start on the west side of the trail which would take them to the eastern side, where the campgrounds are located.
As part of the Morgan-Monroe State Forest, the Tecumseh Trail is a great place for backpack camping in Indiana this year. The trail is over 40 miles-long and is the signature trail of the Hoosier Hikers Council. It starts in the Morgan-Monroe State Park and ends in a more remote area of Brown County, near the Monroe Reservoir. Camping is allowed on the trails, as long as campers stay in the designated areas. Visit the Hoosier Hikers Council website for more information as to the designated trails. As you move through the trail, you will see beautiful plants and flowers such as the Wild Geraniums and Star Chickweed. The trail does have many large hills, but they are considered “gentle” so even the newest backpackers would be able to conquer them.
The final place that should be on everyone’s list for backpacking is the Yellowwood State Forest in southern Nashville, Indiana. The area is absolutely amazing with its views of trees, wildlife, and mini waterfalls. It’s even more beautiful in the fall, when the leaves change to various colors of bright reds, oranges, and yellows. There is also a lake that is over 100 acres and about 30 feet-deep, which makes for a wonderful view. Primitive camping is the only camping here, as well as a horseman’s camp for those who prefer to backpack on horseback.