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Clark State Forest

P.O. Box 119
Henryville, IN 47126

Clark State Forest advisories

  • This section of trail on Clark State Forest will be temporarily closed on or shortly after May 21, 2024. The trail will reopen after the completion of forest management activities.
  • The Clark State Forest fire tower is closed for improvements. This closure restricts the use of the stairs. Once all improvements are completed, the tower will reopen.
  • Description

    Clark State Forest, established in 1903, is the oldest state forest in Indiana. The original appropriation to purchase a 2,000-acre tract took place during the administration of Gov. Winfield Durbin. In the ensuing years, additional land acquisitions have increased the state forest to more than 25,600 acres. Some of the original purchase was part of Clark's Grant, lands provided by a clause in the Virginia Cession of Claims to the Northwest Territory on Dec. 20, 1781.

    Originally named The State Forest Reservation and Experiment Station, Clark State Forest was first used as a seedling nursery before opening to the public. More than 150 experimental tree plantings were established from 1905 through 1935. Some can still be observed today.

    There are four nature preserves in Clark State Forest: White Oak, Virginia Pine-Chestnut Oak, Alum Cave Hollow, and Outbrook Ravine nature preserves.

    Multiple land uses include timber management, recreational activities, wildlife habitat, and watershed protection.

  • Activities


    Two nonelectric campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each campsite offers a picnic table and a fire ring. The equestrian campsites include a hitching post. There are pit toilets and water supply located throughout each campground that are available year-round. The dump station in the equestrian campground is available to guests of both campgrounds. A modern comfort station, which is also in the equestrian campground, is also available to guests of both campgrounds.

    Family Campground - $18 per site per night

    This nonelectric campground is east of I-65 off Winding Road. It offers 40 individual campsites, each with a picnic table and fire ring.

    Equestrian Campground - $21 per site per night

    This nonelectric campground is west of I-65, off Winding Road. It offers 26 individual campsites, each with a picnic table, fire ring, and hitching post.

    Comfort Station

    The comfort station for both campgrounds is in the equestrian campground. This facility is available to paid campers only. It is a modern restroom facility offering showers, toilets, urinals, sinks, and changing tables for young children. Also included is a separate small bathroom that offers the same amenities for winter use, when the main facility is closed for the winter.

    Dump Station

    The dump station for both campgrounds is in the equestrian campground and free to paid camping customers. Nonpaying customers may use the dump station for a fee of $10 per dump, paying using the self-registration system at the office.

    All campers are required to self-register and pay at the Clark State Forest main office.

    How to register and pay:

    1. Campground self-registration envelopes are at the self-serve station on the front exterior of the office, which is at 2 Service Road Henryville, IN 47126.
    2. Complete both sides of the campground self-registration envelope. Tear off the receipt slip and take it with you to your campsite.
    3. Place your payment (cash or check made payable to “DNR–Clark State Forest”) in the envelope, seal the envelope, and insert it with payment into the gold mail slot on the exterior of the office.
    4. Attach the envelope receipt/slip to the numbered site marker in the campground with the clothespin provided. If you are unable to attach the receipt/slip to the campsite post, please keep receipt/slip for proof of payment until you leave the campground.

    Boating and Fishing

    There are seven lakes on property that are open to boating and fishing. All require a DNR lake permit for use of a boat, canoe, or kayak. All are trolling-motor-only, and swimming is not permitted. A valid Indiana fishing license is required, and all fishing regulations apply. Below is general information on each lake.

    Lake NameSizeRamp TypeLocation
    Bowen 7 acres No Ramp Near gun range
    Franke 12 acres Concrete Ramp South of west side shelter
    Oak 2.5 acres No Ramp Near front entrance off S.R.-31
    Pine 2 acres No Ramp Near front entrance off S.R.-31
    Schlamm 18 acres Concrete Ramp West of west side shelter
    Shaw 13 acres No Ramp North of Bloomington Trail Road
    Wilcox 5 acres No Ramp Off Switchback Road

    Hunting and Trapping

    Clark State Forest is a favorite destination for many white-tailed deer hunters. Squirrels and raccoons are also commonly hunted as is other wildlife and waterfowl during legal seasons. Some trapping is allowed, by permit only. There are designated trails for those with a disability through a special permit issued by the DNR. A valid hunting license is required, and all hunting and trapping regulations apply.

    Shooting Range

    Clark's shooting range provides users of firearms a place to hone their skills. Be sure to review the Shooting Range Regulations for rules of use and hours of operation.

    Picnicking and Shelters

    Clark State Forest offers multiple picnic areas and eight shelters (see map section for further details regarding location). All picnic areas and shelters are equipped with tables and grills for public use and enjoyment. Shelters may be reserved for day use through the online reservation system. Pricing varies by shelter. The White Oak Center, an enclosed building with a kitchenette and restroom, is also available. Clark State Forest also offers a variety of other recreational opportunities, including fire tower, seven playgrounds, a ballfield (bases are not provided), and basketball courts.

  • Trails

    Hiking Trails

    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.

    Mountain Bike Trails

    Clark S.F./Deam Lake S.R.A. offers five 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.

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