Owen-Putnam State Forest advisories
- Beginning on or shortly after May 30, 2023 the horse campground and day ride parking area at Owen-Putnam State Forest will be closed for a paving project. During this time no access will be allowed to the campground or day ride parking area. The paving improvements include the access road in and through the campground as well as the campsites themselves. The project is expected to take 1-2 weeks and reopen by the July 4 weekend. Call 812-829-2462 for updates. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Spencer, IN 47460
Hike through some of the best hardwood forests in the country. Enjoy deer, squirrel, and turkey hunting. Fish in one of the ponds. Horseback ride through some of the beautiful hills of south-central Indiana, including a view of a 50-foot sandstone bluff. This property consists of many scattered holdings in a north-south orientation and because of this scattered nature, care should be exercised to avoid trespassing on private land.
Developed areas include the Forest Office, Fish Creek Campground, Horse Campground, and Rattlesnake Campground.
Fish Creek Campground: 14 sites, available water; Horse Campground: 15 sites, water trough; and Rattlesnake Campground: 9 sites. Campgrounds are primitive (Class C) and are provided with vault toilets, picnic tables, grills, and parking spurs. Rattlesnake and the Horse campground have no drinking water, but this can be obtained at the Forest Office or Fish Creek Campground.
Campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis; please self-register at booths located in each campground. See the fees page for a list of camping fees.
Deer, squirrel, and turkey hunting. A valid hunting license is required. Hunter access: please respect the rights of private landowners. Know where you are! Not all state forest boundaries are marked. Lines that are marked have orange paint on the state side of the trees. Boundary signs are posted at intervals on the private side.
Many of our fire trails are cleared annually to provide access to the property. These trails are usually located near parking areas and have steel cables across them with DNR padlocks. Please refrain from parking in front of these cables and blocking emergency access.
Hiking is available on the forest access trails and bridle trails throughout the forest property. Hikers and horseback riders are advised to wear hunter orange or other bright clothing while on trails during hunting season.
- Poplar Top - 1.2 miles
Enjoy a moderate hike through Owen-Putnam State Forest. This hike includes a wildlife pond as well as a waterfall that may occur after significant rain. Wearing hiking boots and carrying drinking water is recommended.
- Fish Creek - .3 mile
A short and moderate hike. Park by the shelter house and walk down to Fish Creek, enjoying a variety of tree species along the way.
All horses brought, driven, or ridden onto Owen-Putnam State Forest must have either a valid daily or annual horse use tag.
- Pleasant Grove - 1.6 mile
Highlights include the Horse Campground and a pioneer cemetery.
- Sandstone Bluff - 1.5 mile
See a 50-foot sandstone bluff, waterfall and the Horse Campground.
- Bridle Loop - 9.8 miles
Start this scenic route from the Horse Campground and ride to the Rattlesnake Campground area and back.
Mountain Bike Trails
The bike trail is part of the Bridle Loop horse trail. Most riders will find the approximately 9-mile ride moderately difficult. An off-road cycling permit is required to use the trail. For the enjoyment of all our visitors, please remember:
- Mountain bikes are only permitted on the marked areas of the Blue horse trail.
- Mountain bikers share the trail with horseback riders. Right-of-way should be yielded to people on horseback.
- The trail is marked with blue decals, a horse, and a bicycle, on Carsonite-brand posts. The markers are located on the right side of the trail until you pass the halfway point on the loop. At that point, the markers will be on the left side.
The trailhead parking lot has a capacity of four to six cars. Please do not block the fire lane entrance, which is normally marked by a steel cable stretched across it.
- Poplar Top - 1.2 miles
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