Harrison-Crawford State Forest advisories
Harrison-Crawford State Forest lies in the central and extreme southern part of the state, bordering the Ohio River. Established in 1932, the forest contains about 24,000 acres of rugged hardwood forest in western Harrison and eastern Crawford counties. This working forest is a favorite destination for sightseers, birdwatchers, hikers, mountain bikers, horse riders, anglers and hunters. It is about 2 ½ hours south of Indianapolis, 2 hours east of Evansville, 15 minutes west of Historic Corydon and 45 minutes west of Louisville, Kentucky. It surrounds the 2,000 acre O’Bannon Woods State Park (formerly Wyandotte Woods State Recreation Area) which offers a variety of recreational opportunities. The state park and state forest here work in a unique partnership, with many of the recreational facilities situated on state forest land but operated by the state park.
Stage Stop campground is closed.
Wyandotte Lake, Blue River, and Ohio River are available for fishing. Smallmouth bass, channel catfish, and blue gill are among the favorite fish anglers go for on the many miles of Blue River that run through the State Forest. A valid Indiana fishing license is required. Four canoe ramps access the Blue River. A Corps of Engineers ramp at Leavenworth accesses the Ohio River. For more information about canoeing on the Blue River, and other rivers in Indiana, see the Indiana Canoeing Guide.
Harrison-Crawford State Forest has a long tradition of hunting. It was one of the first areas of Indiana that allowed the return of wild turkey hunting. The State Forest is a favorite destination for many white-tailed deer hunters. Squirrels and raccoons are also commonly hunted at Harrison-Crawford State Forest. Designated trails are available for disabled hunter access. A valid hunting license is required. Disabled hunters must have necessary permits. Check the Indiana Hunting and Trapping Guide for information on hunting dates and bonus deer permits.
All visitors are advised to wear hunter orange or other bright clothing while on trails or in the forest during hunting season.
Hiking and Biking Trails
Timber Harvest Self-Guided Interpretive Trail – 1.5 miles (MODERATE)
The new Timber Harvest Self-Guided Interpretive Trail is a 1.5-mile section of the Rocky Ridge Mountain Bike and Hike Trail which runs through a portion of Harrison-Crawford State Forest that was harvested in winter 2014. The trail features 10 stops describing aspects of the timber sale. The trail is meant to begin where the Rocky Ridge Mountain Bike and Hike Trail crosses the Iron Bridge Fire Trail and end where the Rocky Ridge Mountain Bike and Hike Trail crosses Fox Hollow Fire Trail, but can be viewed from either direction.
Adventure Hiking Trail - 25 miles, backpack.
The Adventure Hiking Trail (AHT) runs through Harrison-Crawford State Forest and O’Bannon Woods State Park. It is a roughly 25-mile loop trail that takes about 3 days to complete. Overnight backpack camping is permitted (the Adventure Hiking Trail is the only trail along which camping is permitted). There are five shelters, two primitive sites, and four road crossings along the trail. Shelters are first-come, first-served and only available to those hiking the Adventure Hiking Trail. Shelters were scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most improved.
- Old Barn Shelter – 1 (shed; somewhat easily accessed from State Road 462)
- Indian Creek Shelter – 4 (wooden floor, three walls and a roof)
- Homestead Overnight Shelter – 4 (wooden floor, three walls and a roof)
- Ohio River Shelter – 5 (totally enclosed with wooden floor, windows, door and a roof)
- Pioneer Picnic Shelter – 2 (open air with roof, easily accessed from the main O’Bannon Woods State Park Road)
The AHT starts in the parking lot (Rock Creek trailhead) off of State Road 462 and travels west to the Old Barn Shelter and then south to Rendezvous Point (parking lot to Rendezvous Point is about 1.6 miles). From Rendezvous Point, hikers choose whether to do the AHT in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion. Going clockwise (east) from the Rendezvous Point, the AHT follows a ridge and then drops into the bottoms before crossing State Road 462 (Rendezvous Point to Indiana 462 Crossing is about 1.7 miles). From State Road 462 the AHT winds northeast and then southwest to cross Old Forest Road (State Road 462 crossing to Old Forest Road crossing is about 2 miles). After crossing Old Forest Road, the AHT runs south to the Indian Creek Shelter which is on the bluffs above Indian Creek (Old Forest Road Crossing to the Indian Creek Shelter is about 2.9 miles). From the Indian Creek Shelter the AHT runs west to the Primitive Site. There is not a shelter available at this location (Indian Creek Shelter to the Primitive Site is about 1.1 miles). After leaving the Primitive Site, the AHT climbs several ridges and descends into the valleys again before coming to the Homestead Overnight Shelter (Primitive Site to the Homestead Overnight Shelter is about 2.5 miles). The Homestead Overnight Shelter lies within the Charles C. Deam Nature Preserve , dedicated in 1993 to the preservation of the Ohio River Cliffs. From the Homestead Overnight Shelter the AHT travels in a northerly direction along the ridge and then descends to cross Cold Friday Road (Homestead Overnight Shelter to Cold Friday Road Crossing is about 1.4 miles). After crossing Cold Friday Road the AHT winds to the Ohio River Shelter, which lies to the northwest (Cold Friday Road Crossing to the Ohio River Shelter is about 2.8 miles). From the Ohio River Shelter, which also lies in the Charles C. Deam Nature Preserve, the AHT runs northwest to the Pioneer Picnic Shelter just off the Main State Park Road (Ohio River Shelter to the Pioneer Picnic Shelter and Road is about 1.3 miles). The Pioneer Picnic Shelter can only be accessed by vehicle by entering through the gate of O’Bannon Woods State Park. After crossing the road and leaving the Pioneer Picnic Shelter the AHT winds west and then turns northeast before coming to the campground of O’Bannon Woods State Park (Pioneer Picnic Shelter and Road to Campground Turnoff is about 2.5 miles). There is not a shelter available at the Campground Turnoff, but there is water available most of the year. From the Campground Turnoff the AHT travels northwest to the Old Iron Bridge (Campground Turnoff to the Old Iron Bridge is about 1.1 miles). There is not a shelter available at the Old Iron Bridge. The Old Iron Bridge is historic to the 1870s and once provided a means of crossing the Blue River. Today it is closed to ALL traffic. From the bridge, the AHT follows the Blue River through the bottomlands before climbing to the ridgetop and moving in a northeast direction to the Hog Barn Primitive Site (Old Iron Bridge to the Hog Barn Primitive Site is about 2.1 miles). The Hog Barn Primitive Site is often difficult to find because it is not directly on the AHT and is often missed by hikers. From the Hog Barn Primitive Site, the AHT meanders east and then turns north to bring hikers back to the Rendezvous Point (Hog Barn Primitive Site to the Rendezvous Point ~1.8 miles). And finally the Rendezvous Point back to the parking lot off of State Road 462 (Rock Creek) is 1.6 miles northeast bringing hikers to the end of their Adventure Hiking Trail journey.
Fire Tower to Rocky Ridge Bike and Hike Trail - 2 miles (MODERATE TO RUGGED)
Begins at the fire tower and travels west, intersecting with the Rocky Ridge Trail. Combined with the Rocky Ridge Trail and with a return to the fire tower this route provides 6 miles of mountain biking and hiking trail. Parking, comfort station and water are available at the fire tower.
Rocky Ridge Bike and Hike Trail - 2 miles (MODERATE)
Begins and ends in the campground of O’Bannon Woods State Park near campsite 35. The trail meanders and eventually enters Harrison-Crawford State Forest. This loop trail passes through deep ravines, climbs up rocky scenic slopes, and boasts stunning views down on the Blue River.
Cliff Dweller Trail - 1.75 miles (MODERATE)
This loop trail crosses a dry creek bed, follows a beautiful, spring-fed creek and has some long stretches of climbing. Parking is available at the Pioneer Shelter House.
Sharpe's Spring Trail (formerly Buckeye Trail) - 1 mile (EASY to MODERATE)
This trail loops around the perimeter of Wyandotte Lake and passes Sharpe’s Spring on the north end of the lake. Sharpe’s Spring is at the base of a towering cliff. The water, which stays around 50 degrees year round, gurgles out from several outlets to create the rushing stream which feeds into the lake. In order to do this trail in a loop hikers must cross the spillway of Wyandotte Lake. Crossing should not be attempted during times of high water, be conscious of the potential for flash flooding. A parking lot and picnic shelter are available just off of State Road 62.
Post Oak Cedar Nature Preserve Trail - 0.8 miles (RUGGED)
This trail is on Cold Friday Road, 1.5 miles south of the main property office. The Division of Nature Preserves requests that you register at the trailhead before entering the nature preserve.
The horse trail system includes about 64 miles of marked loop trails. All horses brought, driven or ridden onto Harrison-Crawford State Forest must have a valid annual horse use tag.
The trails travel through every region of the two properties between the three rivers. The natural bluffs overlooking the Ohio River, Blue River, and Indian Creek, the karst landscape caves and sinkholes, and the diversity and density of native wildlife and vegetation all enhance the trail ride experience.
The horse trails of Harrison-Crawford State Forest begin at the Horseman's Hideaway Campground located in O'Bannon Woods State Park. Designed as loop routes, the horse trails are marked with painted triangles on 4"x4" or brown Carsonite posts.
For those riders not wishing to enter or camp at the O’Bannon Woods State Park, there are 3 parking lots available for day use riding. One is located on State Road 462 (connects with Upper Blue River Trail), one on State Road 62 (Wyandotte Cave Trail), and one on Wyandotte Cave Road, just north of Wyandotte Cave (Wyandotte Cave Trail).
Before riding, please check the map information boards to determine the status of the trails.
Hikers and horseback riders are advised to wear hunter orange or other bright clothing while on trails during hunting season.
1. Fox Hollow Trail – 8 miles (red trail markers)
Fox Hollow Trail begins at the northwest end of the Horseman's Hideaway Campground and travels through the Fox Hollow wildlife habitat improvement project area. The renewed meadows and man-made forest openings provide habitat for fox, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, and other native wildlife. Riding quietly will increase your chance of wildlife sightings. The descent and climb out of the valley are long and steep. Rest your horses along the way. Riders can return to the campground along the trail that parallels the fire tower road or take the Idlewild Trail.
2. Greenbriar Trail – 9 miles (orange trail markers)
Greenbriar Trail starts at the west end of the Horseman's Hideaway Campground and follows the ridge of Cold Friday Pond. The trail drops to the old town sites of Cold Friday and Worth, then travels through the old farm and Ohio River based communities. The old fields, pastures, and home sites of the 1930's are now a managed forest environment. The rider can return to the campground using the same route or either the Turkey Ridge or Ohio River trails. The scenery, history, and terrain make this trail an enjoyable full day's ride.
3. Ohio River Loop Trail – 5 miles (yellow and blue trail markers)
Ohio River Loop Trail starts at the east end of the Horseman's Hideaway Campground and leads the rider to the bluff region overlooking the Ohio River. The trail to the river is steep and rocky. Riders can return to the campground along the same route or use the Blue River Bluff Trail.
4. Idlewild Trail – See O’Bannon Woods State Park.
5. Nature Center Trail – See O’Bannon Woods State Park.
6. Iron Bridge Trail - 3 miles (yellow trail markers)
Iron Bridge Trail begins at the east end of the modern campground at O’Bannon Woods State Park from the Campground Trail (Trail 17 or Trail D). It is a 3-mile trail that explores the rich bottomland forest of Blue River and brings the rider past an 1870s historic iron bridge. The bridge is closed to all traffic.
7. Riverside Trail - 1.5 miles (red trail markers)
Riverside Trail splits from the Greenbriar Trail as a route to the Ohio River Loop Trail and a return to the Horsemen’s Hideaway Campground. It travels downhill in a westerly direction through multiple wildlife openings and mature hardwoods forest. To return to the Horsemen’s Hideaway Campground, take either the Ohio River Loop Trail or the more adventurous Mushroom Hollow Trail.
8. Turkey Ridge Trail – 5 miles (yellow trail markers)
Turkey Ridge Trail begins at the east end of the Horseman's Hideaway Campground and travels along the Potato Run drainage. After crossing Kintner Road, the trail follows the Turkey Ridge, a wildlife habitat management area. Wild turkey, gray fox, white-tailed deer, grouse and other native wildlife can be seen in the forest openings and meadows. The trail, which overlooks the Indian Creek Valley, is long but the terrain is not overly difficult. The rider can return to the horse campground along the Greenbriar Trail.
9. Cypress Bog Trail – 3 miles (blue and green trail markers)
Cypress Bog Trail begins at the east end of the Horseman's Hideaway Campground and leads the rider to one of the more unique ecosystems present on the property. The cypress trees were probably planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1930's. The trail begins with a long, but not too steep, climb to the top of a horseshoe-shaped ridge. Once on top, the terrain is gentle and the route follows a fire trail to Cold Friday Road. The rider can cross the road and follow the Greenbriar Trail back to the horse campground.
10. Blue River Bluff Trail - 6 miles (blue trail markers)
Blue River Bluff Trails starts at the iron bridge and ends when it intersects the Ohio River Loop Trail. It provides the rider with an aesthetic recreational experience overlooking the Blue and Ohio Rivers. The climbs and descents along this trail can be quite steep. The Ohio River Trail provides the return to the Horseman's Hideaway Campground. During periods of heavy rainfall, Potato Run flash floods to become a raging torrent. If the creek is high at the horse campground, the trail crossings will be dangerous; wait until the water recedes before riding this trail.
11. Upper Blue River Trail – 7 miles (blue trail markers)
Upper Blue River Trail starts at the intersection with the Turkey Ridge Trail, which starts at the east end of the Horseman's Hideaway Campground, where it turns north out of the Potato Run drainage and heads for the upper section of Blue River. The descents and climbs of this trail, which follows Blue River for one mile, are long but less steep than other trails. Portions of the river bank are gently sloped, providing solid footing for horses and river access to water them. Return to the Horseman's Hideaway Campground along the west leg of the Blue River or take the alternate trail to Fox Hollow.
12. Blackie’s Hollow Trail – 2.5 miles (orange and yellow trail markers)
Blackie’s Hollow Trail begins at the east end of the Horseman's Hideaway Campground. This trail follows a dry creek bed. It has water holes in three different places at the start. The trail crosses the Cypress Bog Trail and ends at the Turkey Ridge Trail. It is named after Blackie Flora, a long-time trail rider on the property.
13. Cole’s Loop Trail – 2.5 miles (red and green trail markers)
Cole’s Loop Trail splits off of Fox Hollow Trail and heads north to Blue River. This trail follows an old roadbed that is rocky and narrow. Stay on the trail when the trail gets in the river bottoms.
14. Mushroom Hollow Trail – 1.5 miles (blue and yellow trail markers)
The Mushroom Hollow Trail splits off the Greenbriar Trail and goes down a steep hill to the bottom of Mushroom Hollow. This trail ends on Cold Friday Road.
15. Wyandotte Cave Trail – 20 miles (green trail markers)
Wyandotte Cave Trail is 20 miles long with two parking lots, one off of State Road 62 and one off of Wyandotte Cave Road. The first parking lot is north of Blue River Chapel, just off State Road 62 and is commonly referred to as Little Italy. From this parking lot the loop of the trail on the east side of Wyandotte Cave Road is accessed easily. The eastern loop of the trail is roughly 10 miles and the Wyandotte Cave Road parking lot is roughly 5 miles away regardless which direction the rider chooses. The Wyandotte Cave Road parking lot is located roughly one mile north of Wyandotte Cave. From there the western inner and outer loop of the Wyandotte Cave Trail are accessed easily. The inner loop is approximately 2.5 miles and the outer loop is roughly 10 miles. Returning to the Wyandotte Cave Road parking lot from either loop requires the rider to cross Wyandotte Cave Road (onto the east side) at Wyandotte Cave or to return the way they came.
16. Voyles Pass Trail – 1.5 miles (orange and blue trail markers)
Voyles Pass Trail splits off of the Greenbriar Trail at Greenbriar Cemetery. This nice easy trail is often used as a shortcut.
17. Horsemen’s Campground Trail - See O’Bannon Woods State Park.
18. Twin Chimneys Trail – 1 mile (yellow trail markers)
The Twin Chimneys Trail is a 1-mile loop trail that is often used as a diversion from the Fox Hollow Trail.
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