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Indiana State Parks

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USA Parks
Southern Region
Clark State Forest
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Clark State Forest Clark State Forest_2 © Roger Schroeter
Clark State Forest Clark State Forest_4 © Roger Schroeter
Clark State Forest Clark State Forest_3 © Roger Schroeter
Clark State Forest Clark State Forest_1 © Roger Schroeter
Clark State Forest Fire Tower © Michael E. Ruby
Looking up at the 100 foot tall fire tower
Clark State Forest Drive © Michael E. Ruby
A slow drive through the forest with the sunlight filtering through the trees
Clark State Forest Looking out © Michael E. Ruby
Looking out of the fire tower at the fall colors
Clark State Forest Watching You © Jeff McDaniel
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2 Service Rd
Henryville, Indiana   47126
(lat:38.5591 lon:-85.7681) map location

Phone: (812) 294-4306
Clark State Forest, established in 1903, is the oldest state forest in Indiana. The original appropriations to purchase a 2,000 acre tract took place during the administration of Governor Winfield Durbin. In the ensuing 96 years, additional acquisitions have increased this area to the present 24,000 acres. Much of this land was originally part of Clark's Grant, lands provided by a clause in the Virginia Cession of Claims to the Northwest Territory on December 20, 1783.

History of the Area
Clark State Forest, located in southern Indiana, has a rich history that dates back to the 1800s. Here is a brief overview of its historical background:

1. Early Settlement and Land Acquisition:.
The land that is now Clark State Forest was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Miami, Potawatomi, and Delaware. In the early 1800s, European settlers began to arrive in the area. In 1805, the U.S. government acquired the land through the Treaty of Grouseland with the Native American tribes.

2. Clark State Forest Creation:.
Clark State Forest was established in 1903, making it the oldest state forest in Indiana. It was named after General George Rogers Clark, a key figure in the American Revolutionary War who played a significant role in the Northwest Territory, which includes present-day Indiana.

3. Great Depression and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC):.
During the Great Depression in the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented the New Deal programs to provide employment and address the economic crisis. As part of the New Deal, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was established to engage young unemployed men in conservation work. The CCC played a crucial role in shaping Clark State Forest. They constructed roads, trails, fire towers, and buildings, planted trees, and managed wildlife. Many of the structures they built are still in use today.

4. Management and Expansion:.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has managed Clark State Forest to balance the conservation of natural resources with recreational opportunities. The forest has expanded through land acquisitions, reaching its current size of over 24,000 acres. It is now managed for multiple purposes, including timber production, wildlife management, recreation, and educational activities.

5. Recreation and Education:.
Clark State Forest is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, picnicking, camping, horseback riding, and hunting. It features numerous trails, campsites, and picnic areas for visitors to enjoy. The forest also has educational programs and events that focus on environmental education, forestry, and wildlife conservation.

Clark State Forest continues to be an important natural resource and recreational area, providing a connection to Indiana's history and offering opportunities for people to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of the natural environment.
GeneralLand, acres24,000
 Hiking Trailyes
 Picnic Shelters, #8
 Mountain Bike Trails, miles5
 Bridle Trails, miles100
BoatingBoating Limits-1
 Launch Rampsyes
CampingPrimitive, #45
 Horsemen Campsites, #26
Primitive(class C) camping is available for a fee. Self check-in stations are located at the entrance to each campground. Sites have pit toilets and seasonal drinking water available. There is a picnic table and grill located on each of the campground's 45 sites. The Horseman's Campground offers 26 Class C sites for those visitors who are camping with horses. A dump station is available.
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Clark State Forest is located near Charlestown, Clarksville and Floyds Knobs

Several picnic areas and 8 picnic shelters are available for day use. Picnic areas, with picnic tables and grills, are located throughout the forest. The property also includes seven playgrounds, two baseball fields, tennis court, basketball court, firetower and public gun range.
Hiking Trails:

White Oak Nature Trail - 0.9 mile loop, self-guiding

Resource Trail - 1 mile, self-guiding

Knobstone Trail - 59 miles (backcountry) 32 miles in Clark State Forest 27 miles in Elk Creek and Jackson-Washington State Forest.

Hiking is also 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.

Horse Trails:

Approximately 100 miles of marked trails and six day ride parking areas.Horseback riding is permitted only on designated bridle trails. All horses brought,driven or ridden onto Clark State Forest must have a valid annual horse use tag.

Wildlife Loop (blue trail marker) - 3.5 miles

Easy. Area has wide trails enhanced by wildlife openings and ponds.

Shaw Lake Loop (green trail marker) - 5.5 miles

Moderately Rugged. Very scenic trail bordering Shaw Lake . High vistas withtwo steep areas.

Horse Camp Loop (blue trail marker) - 5 miles

Moderate. Good scenery. Trail crosses one creek, goes by several vistas,switches back and cuts around camel backs.

Beginner Loop (orange trail marker) - 3 miles

Easy. Wider trails built for beginning horses and riders.

Wilcox Valley Trail (yellow trail marker) - 0.5 mile

Moderately Rugged. Scenic with large trees and winding creeks. Wet in spring.

Bowen Loop (blue & yellow trail marker) - 7 miles

Moderate. Upland trees include chestnut oak and pine; several vistas.

Deam Trail (red trail marker) - 20 miles

Moderately Rugged. Day-long ride with all types of scenery and wildlife. Ends atday ride area on Flower Gap Trail.

Mountain Grove Trail(green trail marker) - 4.9 miles

Moderately Rugged. Trails are wider due to wildlife habitat enhancement work,wildlife food plots and ponds. Some creeks, hills and hardwood trees.

Dry Fork Loop (orange trail marker) - 12 miles

Rugged. Very primitive area with two ever-changing creek crossings. Large treesand steep valleys, creeks and knobs. This trail is one of the most scenic, and hastwo crossover shortcuts (green & yellow).

Trail Difficulty Ratings:

Easy- A wide trail, often short in length and free of obstacles, located near dayuse areas, horse camp facilities and recreation areas where heavy use isexpected. Moderate- A wide, longer trail of moderate grade, traversing varyingtopography and free of obstacles. Moderately Rugged- For the more experienced horse and rider. Trail widthmay vary from 4-6 feet and may accommodate both double and single file riding.Steeper grades, varying topography and changes in trail surface will beencountered. Rugged- Rugged trails are designed for single file riding over extremely steepgrades, dramatic topography, native rock and frequently changing trail surfaces.Obstacles such as rock ledges, fallen trees and creek crossings may beencountered.

Mountain Bike Trails:

Clark S.F./Deam Lake S.R.A. offers 5 miles of mountain bike trails. Mountainbikes are only permitted on those designated trails.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
September 24 Equestrian day use by Diane
park review stars; one to five I would love to be able to return to the lovely area around Shaw Lake for a day trip and ride the trails which I understand are in great condition due to countless volunteer hours. The day parking lot for horse trailers in this area has been closed for years and I understand it still is. Is there any place to park with a horse trailer for just day use without having to pay for Camping overnight If so, where is it I tried calling with this question, had to leave a message but never got an answer back.
March 30 what about the trail systems. by Chip Heath
park review stars; one to five I bought 4 bridle tags for myself and family,now I find out all of the trails are closed, someone decided they needed to close all of the trails after the March 2nd tornado. Most trails were not even affected. Do not forget DNR the tax payers own this park, we pay you to manage it not to close it. Wake up and do the right thing!!!
January 7 Re: Lady kicked by a horse by Redqueen
park review stars; one to five Becky is all healed; back at work.
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Yogi Bear Campground at Raintree Lake
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Clark State Forest is located in Henryville, Indiana. To get there from Indianapolis, start by heading south on I-65 for approximately 100 miles until you reach Exit 19B towards Memphis/Charlestown. Merge onto IN-160 W and continue for about 6 miles before turning right onto US-31 N/S Main St.

Follow US-31 N for around 5 miles and then turn left onto E County Road (CR) #800 S/Old Michigan Rd. Continue straight on this road as it turns into CR #700 S/Wilson Switch Rd after a few minutes of driving.

After another mile or so, take a slight left to stay on Wilson Switch Rd which will lead you directly to the entrance of Clark State Forest at your destination.

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Indiana State Parks