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USA Parks
Southern Region
Jackson-Washington State Forest
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Jackson-Washington State Forest Bridge © Michael E. Ruby
Bridge over the dam for Knob Lake
Jackson-Washington State Forest Sign © Michael E. Ruby
Entrance sigh
Jackson-Washington State Forest At the bottom © Michael E. Ruby
Standing at the bottom of the dam for Knob Lake
Jackson-Washington State Forest Bridge © Michael E. Ruby
Bridge over the Knob Lake dam.
Jackson-Washington State Forest Dam © Michael E. Ruby
Overflow dam for Knob Lake
Jackson-Washington State Forest Knob lake © Michael E. Ruby
Looking toward the damn
Jackson-Washington State Forest Knob Lake © Kurt Bauer
Jackson-Washington State Forest © Kurt Bauer
Jackson-Washington State Forest © Kurt Bauer
Jackson-Washington State Forest © Kevin Bell
Jackson-Washington State Forest In the distance © Michael R. Johnson
View from a vista on Skyline Drive.
Jackson-Washington State Forest Vista © Michael R. Johnson
View from a vista on Skyline Drive.
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1278 Indiana 250
Brownstown, Indiana   47220
(lat:38.8613 lon:-86.0086) map location

Phone: 812-358-2160
Jackson-Washington State Forest encompasses more than 16,500 acres in Jackson and Washingtoncounties in the heart of Indiana. This part of the state contains unique topography known as the "knobs"region, and affords scenic views from Skyline Drive and some breathtaking hiking trails. The main forestarea, including the forest office and campgrounds, is located 2.5 miles southeast of Brownstown on St.Rd. 250.

The majority of the land that now makes up the state forest was purchased by the state of Indiana in the1930s and 1950s. The Heritage Trust program, using funds from the sale of environmental license plates,has made possible the acquisition of additional state forest land.
History of the Area
Jackson-Washington State Forest, located in southern Indiana, has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century. Established in 1920, it is one of the oldest state forests in Indiana. Here is a brief overview of its history:

Early Settlement and Logging:
Prior to the establishment of the state forest, the area was home to Native American tribes, including the Shawnee and Miami. European settlers started arriving in the early 1800s and began clearing the land for agriculture. However, due to the region's rugged terrain and poor soil quality, farming was challenging, and many settlers turned to logging instead.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, extensive logging took place in the area, primarily for hardwood timber. The demand for timber, particularly oak and walnut, fueled logging operations. This led to deforestation and environmental degradation, resulting in soil erosion and water quality issues.

Creation of State Forests:
To address the deforestation problem and conserve the remaining forests, the state of Indiana established the Division of Forestry in 1901. It aimed to protect, restore, and maintain the state's forests. As a part of this initiative, Jackson-Washington State Forest was formally established in 1920.

Efforts at Reforestation and Restoration:
Once the state forest was established, the Division of Forestry focused on reforesting and restoring the land. Through tree planting programs, they actively worked to replace the logged areas with new trees, primarily oak and hardwood species. Over the years, the state forest has seen several reforestation efforts and the planting of countless trees, helping to restore the natural ecosystem.

Further Development and Conservation Efforts:
As the years passed, the state forest expanded both in acreage and amenities. More recreational opportunities were introduced, including camping, hiking trails, fishing, and hunting. These developments aimed to strike a balance between conservation efforts and providing public access to the forest.

Additionally, the state forest has collaborated with various agencies and organizations for ongoing land management and conservation projects. These efforts have focused on restoring habitats, improving water quality, and promoting sustainable forestry practices.

Jackson-Washington State Forest spans over 18,000 acres and is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those interested in exploring the history and beauty of southern Indiana. It remains an important ecological and recreational area, showcasing the results of decades-long conservation and reforestation efforts.
GeneralLand, acres16,500
 Hiking Trailyes
 Picnic Shelters, #5
 Mountain Bike Trails, miles12
 Bridle Trails, miles14
BoatingBoating Limits-1
 Launch Ramps, #2
CampingPrimitive, #62
 Youth Group Campyes
Primitive(class C) camping is available for a fee; campers must self-register for camping at the gatehouse. Campsites are available on a first come, first serve basis. Knob Lake Campground, located north of the forest office, has pit toilets and seasonal drinking water available. There is a picnic table and grill located on each of the campground's 62 sites. Campsite 11 and campsite 62 are wheelchair accessible sites. Firewood is available near the forest office.

A Youth Tent Campground is available for scouts or other groups. The Youth Camping area is located at the trailhead for Trail 3. Backcountry camping is available in the backcountry area and along the Knobstone Trail.
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Boat ramps are located on Knob Lake and Spurgeon Hollow Lake; boat motors are limited to electrictrolling motors only. Plattsburg Pond and Potter Lake are walk-in lakes.

Jackson-Washington State Forest is located near Scottsburg, Seymour

Several picnic areas and picnic shelters are available for day use. The Museum Shelterhouse is located justnorth of Knob Lake; the Pinnacle Shelterhouse is located in the campground; the CCC Shelterhouse islocated in the north playground; and the White Oak Shelterhouse is located next to the playgroundnortheast of the forest office. Skyline Shelterhouse, rebuilt by local volunteers after the originalshelterhouse was destroyed by arson, is located on Skyline Drive. Use of all shelterhouses is on a first-come, first-served basis; reservations are not accepted. There is no charge to use the shelterhouses.
1. Knobstone Trail: This is the longest trail in Jackson-Washington State Forest, stretching over 58 miles from Deam Lake to Delaney Park. It offers challenging terrain with steep inclines and declines.

2. Pinnacle Peak Loop: A moderate difficulty level hike of about 3 miles that takes you through a beautiful forested area leading up to an overlook at Pinnacle Peak offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

3. High Point Hike: As its name suggests, this short but strenuous hike leads hikers to one of the highest points within Jackson-Washington State Forest providing panoramic vistas across southern Indiana's rolling hills.

4. Tree Identification Trail: An educational hiking route where visitors can learn about different tree species native to Indiana as they traverse along it for approximately half a mile near Skyline Drive entrance station.

5. Tulip Poplar Nature Walk: Easy walking path suitable for all ages which showcases some large Tulip trees found throughout these woods; interpretive signs are placed strategically on this quarter-mile loop explaining more about local flora and fauna.

6. Scarce O Fat Ridge Loop: Approximately five-miles long moderately difficult trek featuring dense hardwood forests, creek crossings and occasional wildlife sightings like deer or wild turkey.

7. Orchard Road Pathway: Shorter than most other trails (about two miles), Orchard road pathway provides ample opportunities for bird watching while meandering through mixed deciduous:coniferous woodland areas.

8. Pyramid Mound Interpretative Route: Half:a-mile-long easy walk around Pyramid mound showcasing Native American history related artifacts discovered here during archaeological excavations.

9. Hickory Hollow Nature Preserve Trails: These consist several interconnected pathways totaling roughly four-and-half-miles traversing diverse habitats including wetlands rich in amphibian life forms.

10. Mt Zion Historical Trek: About three:quarters-of-a-mile round trip journey taking hikers past Mt.Zion historical cemetery and a 19th century log cabin, offering glimpses into Indiana's pioneer past..

11. Skyline Drive Overlook Trail: A short but steep hike leading to an overlook providing breathtaking views of the forest canopy below especially during fall when leaves change colors.

12. Pinnacle Peak Interpretative Pathway: Half:a-mile long easy walk around Pinnacle peak with interpretive signs explaining geological history related facts about this area.

13. Lake Trails: These trails encircle Starve Hollow Lake and offer beautiful water vistas along their length; they are relatively flat making them suitable for hikers of all skill levels.

14. Horseman's Camp Loop: This is specifically designed for horseback riding enthusiasts covering approximately ten miles through diverse terrain including hardwood forests, open meadows and creek crossings.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
August 1 Large bugs everywhere by R Smith
park review stars; one to five It is August 1st, 2019. Drove 3 hours to Jackson-Washington State Forest today to camp for the night. When we got there, it was big bugs swarming everywhere we went. About an inch long with brownish yellow and white bodies. I mean they were everywhere. Got out of the truck and got pelted with them. Turned around and came back home. We have been camping before there and have never seen anything like that, but it may be the last time we go.
February 13 memories by morgan frazier
park review stars; one to five My family used to go camping here every summer. My dad would take us fishing and mom would cook. some if my fondest memories of my dad were made here.
October 29 Excellent Forest by Forest Hiker
park review stars; one to five This is an excellent actively managed State Forest. They provide recreation and sustainable timber harvesting at the same time.
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1. Start by getting on I:65 South from W Washington Street.
2. Continue driving south on I:65 for approximately 45 miles until you reach Exit 50B to merge onto IN-46 West toward Columbus/Shelbyville.
3. Stay on IN:46 West for about 20 miles until you reach US Highway 31 North/South Walnut Street in Seymour.
4. Take a slight right onto US Highway 31 North and continue for around half a mile before turning left onto East Tipton Street/IN:258 N/East County Road (CR)1000N/West Commerce St./West CR200S/North Ewing St., following signs towards Vallonia/Brownstown/Jackson-Washington State Forest.
5. After about six miles, turn right at the sign indicating "Jackson:Washington State Forest" into the forest entrance.

If coming from Louisville, Kentucky:

1. Start by taking Interstate Hwy64W/IHwy71North ramp towards New Albany/St Louis.
2. Continue straight then take exit #123A/New Albany/Louisville across bridge.
3. Take first exit off bridge which will be HWY150/Paoli Pike: go approximatley .8miles.
4. Turn Left at light where McDonalds is located this should put you going westbound back over interstate hwy64/hw135 intersection stay stright through next stoplight staying now heading north bound out of new albany area.
5. Stay Straight as road turns into Paoli pike/HWY150 travel appoximately another10+/: Miles till come upon flashing yellow caution lights that indicate sharp curve ahead slow down here!
6. Just past curves look closely see small brown state park sign with arrow pointing Right saying JACKSON:WASHINGTON STATE FOREST turn right here onto county road 150S.
7. Follow this winding country road for approximately 5 miles until you reach the entrance of Jackson:Washington State Forest on your left.

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Indiana State Parks