Clark State Forest, established in 1903, is the oldest state forest in Indiana. The original appropriations to purchase a 2,000 acre tract took place during the administration of Governor Winfield Durbin. In the ensuing 96 years, additional acquisitions have increased this area to the present 24,000 acres. Much of this land was originally part of Clark's Grant, lands provided by a clause in the Virginia Cession of Claims to the Northwest Territory on December 20, 1783.
Clark State Forest was used as an experimental forest for many years, early in the development of forestry into a science and profession. More than 150 experimental tree plantings, established from 1905 through 1935, can still be observed in many areas throughout the forest.
Primitive(class C) camping is available for a fee. Self check-in stations are located at the entrance to each campground. Sites have pit toilets and seasonal drinking water available. There is a picnic table and grill located on each of the campground's 38 sites. The Horseman's Campground offers 26 Class C sites for those visitors who are camping with horses. A dump station is available.
Seven lakes are open to fishing; a valid Indiana fishing license is required. Schlamm Lake (18 acres), Franke Lake (12 acres), Bowen Lake (7 acres), Oak Lake (2.5 acres) Pine Lake (2 acres), Shaw Lake (13 acres) and Wilcox Lake (5 acres). Boat launch ramps are available in all except Pine and Shaw Lakes; boat motors are limited to electric trolling motors only. Swimming is not permitted in any of the lakes. A summary of fishing regulations is available on line at the Division of Fish and Wildlife's web pages.
Whitetail deer, ruffed grouse, turkey, squirrel, fox, woodcock and raccoon. A valid hunting license is required. Hunting and trapping regulations are available on line at the Division of Fish and Wildlife's web pages.
Clark's shooting range provides users of firearms a place to hone their skills. Be sure to review the Gun Range Regulations for rules of use and hours of operation.
Several picnic areas and 8 picnic shelters are available for day use. Picnic areas, with picnic tables and grills, are located throughout the forest. In the past, all shelter houses have been available first-come, first-served. Three of the shelter houses can now be reserved: Old Franke, New Franke and Firetower. Cost is $40/day. One of the enclosed buildings on property can also be rented. This building has electricity and indoor restroom facility. Cost is $100/day. Please call (812) 294-4306 to inquire about availability.
The property also includes seven playgrounds, two baseball fields, tennis court, basketball court, firetower and public gun range.
Hiking is permitted on the entire property including firetrails and horse trails. Hikers and horseback riders are advised to wear hunter orange or other bright clothing while on trails during hunting season.
- White Oak Nature Trail - 0.9 mile loop, self-guiding
- Resource Trail - 1 mile, self-guiding
- Knobstone Trail - 59 miles (backcountry) 32 miles in Clark State Forest 27 miles in Elk Creek and Jackson-Washington State Forest. Visit the Knobstone Trail page for more information.
Mountain Bike Trails
Clark S.F./Deam Lake S.R.A. offers 5 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.