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Indiana State Parks

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Central Region
Morgan Monroe State Forest
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Martinsville, Indiana   46151-9499
(lat:39.3463 lon:-86.4248) map location

Phone: (765) 342-4026
Morgan-Monroe State Forest encompasses more than 24,000 acres in Morgan and Monroe counties insouth central Indiana. The forest land encompasses many steep ridges and valleys, and is forested withsome of the state's finest hardwoods.The original settlers of the area cleared and attempted to farm the ridges, but were frustrated by rocky soilunsuitable for agriculture. The state purchased the eroded, abandoned land to create Morgan-MonroeState Forest beginning in 1929.
History of the Area
Morgan-Monroe State Forest, located in south-central Indiana, has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. Here is an overview of its historical background and development:

1. Early Settlement: The area where Morgan-Monroe State Forest is situated was initially inhabited by the indigenous Miami and Delaware Native American tribes. European settlers began arriving in the late 18th century, with the land gradually being cleared for agriculture.

2. Creation of the Forest: In the 1920s, as concerns about deforestation and soil erosion grew, the Indiana Department of Conservation initiated efforts to preserve and restore the state's natural resources. As a part of this conservation movement, the state government acquired 24,000 acres of land in Morgan and Monroe Counties for the creation of a state forest.

3. Development by the Civilian Conservation Corps: Between 1934 and 1942, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) played a crucial role in the development and improvement of the forest. CCC crews were responsible for the construction of roads, trails, recreational facilities, fire towers, and other infrastructure within the forest.

4. Name and Expansion: Initially known as the Morgan State Forest, the Monroe Reservoir project led to the addition of more land to the forest, which then became known as Morgan-Monroe State Forest.

5. Modern Management and Recreational Use: Today, Morgan-Monroe State Forest spans approximately 24,000 acres of forested land. The forest continues to be managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Forestry. It serves as a significant recreational area for activities such as hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, and horseback riding.

Morgan-Monroe State Forest has evolved from deforested agricultural land to a protected natural area, thanks to the conservation efforts of the early 20th century and the continued management and preservation by the Indiana DNR.
GeneralLand, acres24,000
 Hiking Trailyes
 Picnic Shelters, #4
BoatingBoating Limits-1
 Launch Ramps, #2
CampingPrimitive, #32
 Camper Cabins, #1
 Youth Group Campyes
Draper Cabin is a primitive, wooden-floored log cabin that takes visitors 100 years back in time to thedays before electricity, vehicles and modern plumbing. Reservations for the cabin are accepted for anynight from the first weekend in April to the weekend before Thanksgiving. The cabin may be rented on aday by basis, depending on weather conditions, during the winter. Click here for rental information,reservation form, and a picture of the cabin.
Primitive camping is available for a fee; campers must register for camping at the forest office. MasonRidge Campground, located behind the fire tower north of the forest office, has vault toilets and seasonaldrinking water available. There is a picnic table and grill located on each of the campground's 21 sites. Onbusy weekends, overflow camping is available at Oak Ridge Campground. Oak Ridge has 11 sites andthe same facilities as Mason Ridge.Scout Ridge Youth Tent Campground is available for scouts or other groups . Sites in Scout RidgeCampground are larger than regular campground sites and there are several picnic tables and grillsavailable. Scout Ridge Nature Preserve is located in this area.
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Boat ramps are located on Bryants Creek and Cherry Lakes; boat motors are limited to electric trolling motors only.
Three forest lakes, Bryant Creek Lake (9 acres), Cherry Lake (4 acres) and Prather Lake (4 acres) are all open to fishing; a valid Indiana fishing license is required.

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.

Morgan Monroe State Forest is located near Bloomington, Greenwood and Martinsville

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. The picnic shelter at Beanblossom Lake is closed. Other picnic areas, with picnic tables and grills, are located throughout the forest.
Hiking Trails The following trails are near the Forest Office and Mason Ridge campground. 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.

More Hiking Trails

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, orat 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 ofCherry 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 ispermitted. The trailhead is located along Forest Road just east of the turn for Beanblossom Road and theWall Picnic Shelter. Although there is no fee for camping, you must register at the forest office beforecamping in the Back Country Area. For a detailed map of the back country area, obtain aMorgan-Monroe State Forest trail map or purchase a topographical map of the Hindustan quad.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
April 23 fire by fire
park review stars; one to five This is half the story I called DNR at 11pm to report this fire. They told me sorry we have zero staff. They sent the Sherriff dept at 11:30pm they showed up went back and said yes people back there had huge fire and partying from Indianapolis. They said was NOT IN THERE ability to make them put it out because its a DNR issue. They then left.
January 16 Gold Prospecting by Ryan
park review stars; one to five Fun park, I do a bit of gold prospecting here and there is gold. Just make sure you call ahead and get the gold panning permit. Its free.
April 5 does anybody have mushrooms for sale? by roy cooper
park review stars; one to five any mushrooms for sale??
write a review read more reviews
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Area Campgrounds
Last Resort RV Park & Campground
2248 East State Road 46
Nashville, IN
Bill Monroe Music Park & Campground
5163 SR 135 N
Bean Blossom, IN

1. Start by heading north on IN:37 N from Bloomington.
2. Continue driving for approximately 10 miles until you reach the intersection with Old St Rd 37 S/Maple Grove Road.
3. Turn left onto Maple Grove Road and continue for about half a mile.
4. Take another left onto E Robinson Switch Road and drive for around 5 miles.
5. Next, turn right onto Covered Bridge Rd/Sunrise Arch Rd and proceed straight ahead for roughly 6 miles.
6. At the roundabout, take the second exit to stay on Sunrise Arch Rd/Covered Bridge Dr (signs will indicate "Morgan:Monroe State Forest").
7. Continue following this road as it winds through scenic forest areas until you arrive at your destination.

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Indiana State Parks