Morgan-Monroe State Forest
Morgan-Monroe State Forest is comprised of more than 24,000 acres in Morgan and Monroe counties in South Central Indiana, which the state began to purchase in 1929. The forest land encompasses many steep ridges & valleys and is forested with some of the state's finest hardwoods.
Three lakes — Bryant Creek Lake (nine acres), Cherry Lake (four acres) and Prather Lake (four acres) — are located within Morgan-Monroe State Forest and all are open to fishing with a valid Indiana fishing license. Boat ramps are located on Bryant 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, which features 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 (0.5 miles)
- Pathfinder Trail (0.66 miles)
- Tree Identification Trail (0.66 miles; features numbered posts with tree species identified on a corresponding map available at the forest office)
Other hiking trails in Morgan-Monroe State Forest include:
- Mason Ridge Loop (2.7 miles; moderate)
- Rock Shelter Loop (3 miles; moderate)
- Three Lakes Trail (10 miles; rugged)
- Low Gap Trail (10 miles; rugged)
Species include 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 www.in.gov/dnr for more information on Indiana hunting regulations.