Morgan-Monroe State Forest

  • Between Bloomington and Martinsville
  • on Highway 37
  • Bloomington, IN 47404
  • (765) 342-4026

Morgan-Monroe State Forest encompasses more than 24,000 acres in Morgan and Monroe counties in south central Indiana. The forest land encompasses many steep ridges and valleys, and is forested with some of the state's finest hardwoods.  The state of Indiana began to purchase the land that is now Morgan-Monroe State Forest beginning in 1929.

Three forest lakes, Bryant Creek Lake (9 acres), Cherry Lake (4 acres) and Prather Lake (4 acres) are located within Morgan-Monroe Forest and all are open to fishing; a valid Indiana fishing license is required. Boat ramps are located on Bryants Creek and Cherry Lakes.  Boat motors are limited to electric trolling motors only.  Swimming is not permitted in any of the lakes.


Primitive camping is available at Morgan-Monroe State Forest for a fee.  Campers must register for camping at the forest office. Mason Ridge Campground, located behind the fire tower north of the forest office, has vault toilets and seasonal drinking water available. There is a picnic table and grill located on each of the campground's 21 sites. On busy weekends, overflow camping is available at Oak Ridge Campground. Oak Ridge has 11 sites and the same facilities as Mason Ridge.

Scout Ridge Youth Tent Campground is available for scouts or other groups . Sites in Scout Ridge Campground are larger than regular campground sites and there are several picnic tables and grills available.

Although there is no fee for back country camping, you must register at the forest office before camping in the Back Country Area.

Several picnic areas and picnic shelters are available for day use. Picnic shelters are located at Cherry Lake, Bryant Creek Lake and Scout Ridge Campground. The Walls Picnic Shelter with a large picnic area and playground is located at the junction of Forest Road and Beanblossom Road. Use of all shelterhouses is on a first-come, first-served basis; reservations are not accepted. There is no charge to use the picnic shelters. Other picnic areas, without shelters are located throughout the forest.

There are several hiking trails in Morgan-Monroe State Forest.  Trails that are located near the Forest Office and Mason Ridge campground include:
Scout Ridge Nature Preserve Trail -1/2 mile
Pathfinder Trail  - 2/3 mile
Tree Identification Trail  - 2/3 mile  (Features numbered posts with tree species identified in a corresponding map available at the forest office.)

Other hiking trails in Morgan-Monroe State Forest include:
Rock Shelter Loop - 3 miles (moderate)  Scenic trail. Departs from the Low Gap Trail parking area.
Mason Ridge Loop - 2.7 miles (moderate)  Trail circles the main forest road. Pick up trail at the Orcutt Road parking area near the Forest Office, or at the Low Gap Trail trailhead.
Three Lakes Trail - 10 miles (rugged) Connects Cherry, Beanblossom and Bryants Creek Lakes. Trailheads are located at the south end of Cherry Lake and at Bryants Creek Lake shelter.
Low Gap Trail - 10 miles (rugged)
Loops through the Back Country Area, east of Low Gap Road, where overnight backpack camping is permitted. The trailhead is located along Forest Road just east of the turn for Beanblossom Road and the Wall Picnic Shelter.

Whitetail deer, ruffed grouse, turkey, squirrel, fox, and raccoon. A valid hunting license is required.
Hikers are advised to wear hunter orange or other bright clothing while on trails during hunting season. See for more information on Indiana hunting regulations.