Deam Lake SRA advisories
- The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has adjusted services, events and operations to protect Hoosiers and prevent further spread of COVID-19. Please visit on.IN.gov/dnrcovid19 for a listing of what is open, closed, restricted and canceled.
- Beginner Loop Horse Trail Closure
- Blue-Green Algae: Found in lakes year round. More information.
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
Deam Lake State Recreation Area (SRA) offers the following camping types: electric, equestrian electric and rent-a-camp cabins. There are 113 electric campsites in the family campground. The equestrian campground offers 63 electric campsites with a hitching post and 36 electric campsites that come with a horse stall. The equestrian campground offers two short lead-outs to connect with 80 miles of multipurpose trails located in Clark State Forest.
Facilities include electric hookup at each site, modern restrooms/showers (at least one shower station wheelchair accessible), picnic table, fire ring and parking spur.
Drinking water/fill station and a dump station are also available in the area.
Campsites are available for reservation up to six months in advance by calling 1-866-622-6746 or online at Camp.IN.gov.
Deam Lake has 19 rent-a-camp cabins available seasonally (April - October), including three in the equestrian campground. Walk-ins are permitted in March and November, weather permitting (contact the Deam Lake office for availability during these months). 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.
No pets, smoking or cooking permitted in cabins.
Deam Lake is 194-acres in size. Fishing requires a valid Indiana fishing license. A boat launching ramp is available for this electric trolling motor only lake. Larger boats are permitted.
Rowboat and kayak rentals are available from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The swimming beach is available from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Restrooms, dressing facilities and showers are available throughout the week. Food concessions are available to visitors on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
A wheelchair ramp allows access to beach area.
Whitetail deer, turkey, squirrel, fox and raccoon. A valid hunting license is required.
Picnic areas are located throughout Deam Lake State Recreation Area. There are five picnic shelters and two playgrounds. Most shelters are available on a first come-first served basis. The Buzzard Roost Shelter and the Apple Orchard Shelter are available for online reservations through Camp.IN.gov.
Shelters must be vacated by the start of quite hours which begins at 11PM. Tables and grills are located at each shelter.
Forest Education Center
The Forest Education Center, located across the street from the office, is managed by a seasonal naturalist 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
There are several volunteer opportunities at Deam Lake SRA:
- Trail maintenance (brushing back, trail clearing, trash collection, etc).
- Forest Education Center clerk/naturalist aide - Assist the naturalist with the development of new exhibits, program delivery and visitor assistance in the naturalist's absence.
- General property assistance (mowing, weed eating, road side trash collection, etc.)
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.