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In 1933, a local conservation club raised funds to buy 900 acres to build a lake and establish an area to hunt and fish. They offered management of the project to the Indiana Department of Conservation the following year, and this marked the establishment of Ferdinand State Forest.
Established in 1934 as a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp, CCC workers built roads, service buildings, and one of the most beautiful forest lakes in the state. Ferdinand State Forest is well known for its excellent deer and squirrel hunting. The area surrounding Ferdinand is rich in German heritage, including St. Meinrad Archabbey, the Monastary Immaculate Conception and many other local landmarks and seasonal community festivals.
Primitive (class C) camping is available for a fee. Campsites are available on a first come, first serve basis; please self-register for camping at the campground check-in booth.
Vault toilets and seasonal drinking water are available. There is a picnic table and grill located on each of the campground's 57 sites.
Fishing is permitted in Ferdinand Lake, Coyote Lake, Campground Lake and Fossil Lake; a valid Indiana fishing license is required. A boat launch ramp is located on Ferdinand Lake; boat motors are limited to electric trolling motors only. Rowboat and canoe rental is available on Ferdinand Lake from mid-April through October. The swimming beach is available from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Restrooms, dressing facilities and showers are available to visitors. (Swimming is permitted in Ferdinand Lake beach area only)
Whitetail deer, turkey, squirrel, fox and raccoon. A valid hunting license is required.
There are picnic areas and picnic shelterhouses available for day use. Picnic tables and grills are located at the picnic sites. Playground and horseshoe pits are located near the swimming beach.
Hikers are advised to wear hunter orange or other bright clothing while on trails during hunting season
Mountain Bike Trails
Ferdinand State Forest offers 8.8 miles of mountain bike trails. Mountain bikes are only permitted on those designated trails. View our publications page for further details and a trail map.