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Deam Lake State Recreation Area

Deam Lake State Recreation Area
1217 Deam Lake Road
Borden, IN 47106
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Deam Lake SRA advisories

  • Description


    Deam Lake offers recreational activities such as fishing, boating, swimming, camping, picnicking, hiking and hunting in designated areas. The 194-acre lake was constructed in 1965 and was named in honor of Charles Deam, Indiana's first state forester. Deam is best known for his book, Trees of Indiana, a comprehensive study of trees throughout the state. He was also instrumental in setting aside land for what is now the Department of Natural Resources.

    Deam's books Trees of Indiana and Shrubs of Indiana are available from the Historic Hoosier Hills RC & D. Books are $16 plus $3 shipping. To order, contact:

    Historic Hoosier Hills Woodland Committee
    P.O. Box 407
    Versailles, IN 47042

  • Activities



    Deam Lake has 106 class "A" campsites in the family campground. There are additional 68 class "A" sites with a hitching post and 36 Class "A" stall sites in the horsemen's campground. The horsemen's campground has two short lead-outs to connect to the 80 miles of horse trails in Clark State Forest. Class "A" facilities include electrical hookup, modern restrooms/showers (at least one shower station wheelchair accessible), picnic table, fire ring and parking spur. Drinking water and a dump station are also available in the area.

    Class "A" campsites are available for reservation up to six months in advance by calling 1-866-6CAMPIN (1-866-622-6746). They can also be made online at http://www.camp.in.gov/.

    Rent-a-Camp Cabins

    Deam Lake State Forest Recreation Area has 16 rent-a-camp cabins, available seasonally (call property office for dates), including three in the horsemen’s campground. Each cabin has a front porch with a swing, outside electric outlet and  front porch light. Inside, there are two small rooms each providing a ceiling fan with light, a heating/cooling unit and electrical outlets. The front room offers a small table with bench seats, corner shelf, chair, rocking chair, and a loft. The back room offers a bunk bed (single) and a double bed (no linens or mattress provided). Air mattress recommended. Reserve cabins online at Camp.IN.gov. Dring off-season, reserve at the office. No pets, smoking or cooking permitted in cabins.


    194-acre lake; a valid Indiana fishing license is required. Boat launch ramp; boat motors are limited to electric trolling motors only. Rowboat rental is available from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. The swimming beach is available from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Restrooms, dressing facilities, showers and food concessions are available to visitors. A wheelchair ramp allows access to beach area. Rowboat rental is available.


    Whitetail deer, ruffed grouse, turkey, squirrel, fox and raccoon. A valid hunting license is required.


    There are several picnic areas throughout the property. Deam Lake State Recreation Area has five picnic shelter houses and two playgrounds. Most shelter houses are available on a first come-first served basis. The Buzzard Roost Shelter and the Apple Orchard Shelter are reserved one day at a time. Shelter houses must be vacated by 11 p.m. on the reserved day. Tables and grills are located at the sites.

    Forest Education Center

    The Forest Education Center, located across the street from the office, is managed by a seasonal Naturalist and and houses several displays and hands-on activities for kids and adults. For information on programs, events, or other activities, call or visit the office during regular operating hours. Contact the Naturalist via email at deamlakesra@dnr.IN.gov

    Volunteer Opportunities

    There are several volunteer opportunities at Deam Lake:

    • Trail clean-up – Requires chainsaw skills.
    • Forest Education Center clerk/naturalist aide - Assist the Naturalist with the development of new exhibits and helping visitors in the Naturalist's absence. Woodworking skills desired.
    • Smokey Bear – Wear the Smokey Bear suit during special events and occasionally on the weekends.
    • Programs assistant - Assist the Naturalist with developing and presenting new and/or improved programs. Experience with children preferred.

    To apply or inquire about any of the volunteer opportunities listed above, please call 812-246-5421 or email DeamLakeSRA@dnr.IN.gov.

  • Trails


    Hiking Trails

    Deam Lake State Recreation Area is home to four hiking trails, excluding the Knobstone Trail. Trails range from easy to rugged. Detailed Deam Lake State Recreation Area / Clark State Forest maps are $10.70 and available at the office. If desired, hikers are encouraged to report to the office or Forest Education Center before and after a hike. None of the trails are extremely difficult, but changing weather scenarios can make some areas challenging. Be sure to pack plenty of water before any extended hike. Additional supplies such as a compass are suggested, but not necessary as all trails have been marked. Please carry out all supplies and trash that you carry into the trails.

    • Trail 1 (about 0.6 miles) is the easiest. The entrance is east of the campground gatehouse. The trail loops through a Virginia Pine dominated forest. The easy hike takes about 30 minutes. The end is in the old playground just south of the entrance.
    • Trail 2 (about 0.2 miles) travels from the lawn north of the Apple Orchard shelter house, just north of the boat ramp, and into the campground. Near the campground is a steep incline.
    • Trail 3 Yellow Horse Trail (about a 6 mile loop) is the only “multi-purpose” trail and the longest. This scenic hike is a complete circle around the lake and much of the property. Several other trails branch off. Most access the trail a from the parking lot beside the wood barn at the campground entrance or from the horse day-riding area parking lot. Hikers may encounter horse riders and mountain bikers on this trail. Please be courteous to both the animals and riders. Horses may startle.
    • Trail 4 Lake Vista Trail (estimated 2.5 miles) is also known as the Lake Vista Trail. Trail is the most scenic and most rugged trail of the property. Park at the gravel lot beside the wood barn at the campground entrance. Follow the Yellow Horse Trail until about 500 yards southwest of the campground gatehouse. The entrance is marked with a large wooden sign. The trail winds through bottomlands which can be muddy or even submersed in water during wet times or after a heavy rain. There are steep and rolling hills overlooking the lake. At the apex of the trail, a large rock cutout has a nice view of the lake. This trail is clearly marked with red blazes on brown carsonite posts.

    Knobstone Trailhead The Deam Lake

    Knobstone Trailhead has been relocated inside Deam Lake State Recreation Area. After the entrance to the property, take the first right and follow the road until it ends at the trailhead which shares parking with the Buzzard Roost Picnic Shelter. Knobstone Trail maps can be purchased at the Deam Lake Office. Read more about the Knobstone Trail.

    Mountain Bike Trails

    Deam Lake S.R.A./Clark S.F. offers five miles of mountain bike trails. Mountain bikes are only permitted on those designated trails. See map below.

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