Free Camping In Indiana: The Guidelines And Where To Find Free Campsites
With hiking trails crisis-crossing the state, many hikers and walkers prefer to camp as they walk. This is free camping at its wildest, but there are several rules that hikers are expected to abide by when wild camping, or staying in the free campsites that are situated beside trails.
However you can camp anywhere in Indianas forests apart from these areas:
- Paid campsites
How Do I Find A Dispersed Campsite
Finding a campground is easy when youre looking for developed areas. Here at The Dyrt, we specialize in helping you find campgrounds. Finding spots for dispersed camping is a little different.
Select an area of interest within National Forest Land and use Google Earth in satellite view to check your route for pull-offs. A great idea is to pick a trailhead and look nearby. A dirt pull off or small clearing in a forest is an indicator of an existing camp spot.
Once you have an idea of where youd like to camp, check with the local ranger station on any local camping or fire restrictions. Sometimes, especially during the off-seasons, forest access roads are closed, so check in advance to be sure that your route is clear.
Find BLM campsites from your car without WiFi. The Dyrt PRO lets you download maps and campgrounds without cell service. My alternative to using pro would be to drive back out to cell service.
Its also extremely helpful to have a hard copy map of the national forest youd like to camp in. These are difficult to find online, but you should be able to pick them up at local gas stations, grocery stores, and ranger stations once you reach your destination.
Part of the beauty of dispersed camping is that it isnt advertised on big Camp Here! signs. Finding your spot can take some work, even if you do your research. Its especially difficult to find unmarked camping spots in the dark, so leave yourself plenty of daylight to find your campsite and settle in.
Upper Teton View Wyoming
There are almost 200 sites that offer free camping across Wyoming. Upper Teton View – Toppings Lake Dispersed Campsites are popular due to their proximity to the Teton Range. Its advised to try to get to the area in Bridger-Teton National Forest , located in Moose, early due to the sites popularity.
You May Like: Free Camping Near Tulsa Ok
Can You Pitch A Tent Anywhere In A National Park
Camping Wherever You Want in a National Park. National Parks refer to this as backcountry camping. This means primitive camping outside of designated campgrounds, and well into the wilderness areas of the park. As long as you plan to camp in these areas, you are free to camp wherever you want.
What Is A Blm Campground
Inexpensive and remote camping opportunities are found on Bureau of Land Management . In comparison with national conservation areas and developed campgrounds, BLMs are undeveloped public lands that offer disperse camping options for those seeking solitude.
Also Check: Camping In Bridger Teton National Forest
Buzzard Roost Recreation Area
AddressGPS: 38.1215, -86.4639
Management: Public Forest Service
Buzzard Roost is an overlook on the Ohio River that provides a panoramic view of the Ohio River bottom. Free Indiana camping spots primitive picnic area though no toilets or water are provided. Camping is allowed.This was once the location of the Buzzard Roost Lookout Tower.
Enjoy Southern Indiana At These 7 Hoosier National Forest Camping Spots
This article about Hoosier National Forest camping is brought to you by Red Ledge. Their dependable gear will keep you dry and warm on your trip to any of these southern Indiana campgrounds.
The best way to enjoy Southern Indiana is through Hoosier National Forest camping. This 200,000-acre forest is a mecca for hikers, anglers, hunters, and campers. With campgrounds of every type, theres a place for every kind of nature lover. There are more than 260 miles of trails, acres of pristine lakes, and several cool historical landmarks. These Hoosier National Forest camping spots put you in the midst of Indianas most magnificent landscapes.
Read Also: Beach Camping Near Santa Cruz
Where Can I Go To Disperse Camp In Indiana
Top Indiana Dispersed Campgrounds Turkey Run State Park Campground. 56 Reviews. Brown County State Park. 47 Reviews. Dunewood Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. 43 Reviews. Pokagon State Park. 41 Reviews. Grandpas Farm Camp Ground. 3 Reviews. McCormicks Creek State Park. 32 Reviews. Clifty Falls State Park. Harmonie State Park.
Free Camping In Hoosier National Forest
The US Forest Service permits camping on its public lands in Indiana, free of charge.
The limitations are specifically that you cannot camp for free in established campgrounds and that you must stay within 125 feet of the road. The USFS doesn’t provide maps to these locations however, they’re often clearly marked and with a little exploration, should be easy enough to find. One example is crowd favorite Blackwell Horsecamp, which is primarily aimed at equestrians but has no official rules barring those without their trusty steed from camping there. Fire rings and vault toilets are provided.
Just note that there is a 14-day limitation on camping within the national forest, and before driving down dirt roads, you should have a good handle on how to boondock properly. When looking for free campsites, for example, the first rule of thumb is to find an already established spot so as not to damage the forest you’ve come to enjoy.
The forest service also provides free dump stations near Branchville, Indiana.
You May Like: Best Camping Near Prescott Az
What Is Hoosier National Forest Camping Known For
Hoosier National Forest is not your typical wildlife forest that only houses wild animals, trees, and plants. This is known for being a community for a small population. It is located in hilly Indiana and has different features to offer to locals and tourists. This place hides beautiful back-country trails, rolling brown hills, and long rural crossroads. Its a stunning 203,000-acre forest worth treasuring.
This tourist spot offers different highlights to people, including camping, day hikes, horseback riding, fishing, and mountain biking. Anything that will take you away from the stress of the city is hereno car horns, no traffic lights, no rushing people. Adults and kids are welcome to enjoy the green sceneries. Although there is no beach to do other stuff like swimming and surfing, theres a special place for people who are craving the natural waters of the forest. Look for small bodies of water like streams or rivers and swim like you are on the beach!
Free Camp Sites In Ohio
Hidden Hollow Campground Tent and RV camping with around 20 campsites picnic tables, fire rings, and VAULT toilets. Law enforcement patrols the area regularly and is a great guide to the area.
Bob Evan Farm Restaurant and Museum A great place to camp you can get sites with electricity for $15 or sites with our for free. This location is on the National Register of Historic Places and they host many events throughout the year.
Lane Farm The plus side of this campsite is you have to travel the Covered Bridge Scenic Byway to get there! This site along the Little Muskingum River is a shady area adjacent to a walnut plantation.
Loose Moose Lodge 30AMP electric hookup, water, a dump station, and an off-leash area for pets!
Edgar Ranch A boondocking spot on a beautiful scenic working livestock ranch. They do maintain bees on one side of the farm so not the best spot if you are allergic.
Related Must-Have Camping Gear List
Read Also: Anastasia State Park Rv Camping
Goodenough Creek Campground Idaho
Even though the name literally says good enough, visitors of Goodenough Creek Campground whove reviewed this place tout it as much more than that. The grounds in McCammon offer gorgeous views as well as toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings. There are 10 designated camping spots five for tents and five for RVs and trailers.
Maine & New Hampshire National Forests
Total National Forest Acreage: 761,687
Travel Writers Wanted
Can you string a few syllables together? Want to get paid to write great stories about living on the road?
Maine and New Hampshires White Mountain National Forest plays home to Mount Washington, once believed to be the highest mountain east of the Mississippi. There is dispersed camping along Haystack Road, the backdrop sounds of rushing rivers along Old Cherry Road, and designated camping in some parts of the Gale River Loop.
North of these spots, the classically New England towns of Gorham and Berlin are worth a visit.
Recommended Reading: Rv Camping Memberships For Sale
Free Camp Sites In Illinois
Jackson Falls Located in the Shawnee National Forests Hidden Springs Ranger District, the road to get here is a bit rough but for those who love to hike its an amazing location.
Kaolin Pit Pond Located in the Trail of Tears State Forest this campsite will fit RVs up to 25 feet in length.
Free Camping on a Rural Farm Located on a 50-acre beautiful and quiet farm.
Turkey Bayou Campground I small little park with places to camp. There is a lake in the campground area as well.
Where Can I Camp For Free In The Hoosier National Forest
Read Also: Best Portable Fire Pit For Camping
How To Find Dispersed Camping
There are several different ways to find great National Forest dispersed camping spots. Below are some of the best methods weve found. Dont limit yourself to just one of these. Depending on where you are and what kind of camper you have, one might work better than another. At a minimum, plan to research using 2-3 different sources before deciding on a dispersed camping area.
Dispersed Camping In Indiana
Dispersed camping is allowed throughout most of the Hoosier National Forest. Dispersed camping is acceptable on National Forest System lands away from developed campgrounds, nearly anywhere your camping equipment and/or vehicle does not block developed trails or road rights-of-way. It is not necessary to check in with the Forest Service when you camp overnight.
Where dispersed camping is NOT allowed: within campgrounds along roads, parking areas, or day use areas within developed recreation areas at day use trailheads or parking areas, including boat launches within Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest within the Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower site within Hemlock Cliffs area
All dispersed camp sites must be at least 300 feet away from trailheads and at least 100 feet from trails and waterfronts.
Roadside dispersed camping should be done at established sites if any are provided, but must stay within 125 feet of the road. We do not have maps for where these sites are located, but if you drive most Forest roads you are likely to see them in the more popular areas of the Forest. Roadside camping is not allowed within campgrounds.
Please pay close attention to parking locations for your dispersed camping trip. Ensure your vehicle is parked legally on public land. For example, parking is prohibited on Tower Ridge Road except at designated trailheads.
Permits and Restrictions
Dispersed Camping Best Practices
Read Also: Where Is Spread Creek Dispersed Camping
Free Blm Campgrounds In Indiana
BLM-managed lands provide a variety of options for camping under the stars, ranging from staying in an RV at a well-developed campground to simply sleeping in the woods with a sleeping bag on the ground. On BLM-managed public lands, you can have any kind of experience you want.
Many Bureau of Land Management campgrounds provide free camping. That isnt always the case, though. A permit, which may include a cost, may be required in some campgrounds or places. Many of these permits cost anywhere from $5 to $15 and are valid for seven to fourteen days.
If you plan to camp on BLM land, make sure you read the rules first. Some places have more patrols than others, and not knowing the rules may not save you from a punishment. The cost of fines for camping without a permit can be far more than if you had purchased the permit.
Sams Throne Recreation Area Arkansas
Sams Throne Recreation Area in Ozark National Forest is popular among campers, hikers, photographers, and nature enthusiasts alike. Theres no fee to stay in the Newton County campground, but previous visitors have warned that those with large RVs may struggle to make their way toward the campsites on small, winding roads.
Recommended Reading: Free Camping Near Sand Hollow
Boondocking Is Legal In Indiana
Free camping is often simpler to come by in the western part of the country than in the rest of the country. However, while it may require a little more effort, the Midwest has some excellent possibilities.
The Hoosier State may not come to mind when you think of boondocking, but were going to look at some of the best free camping opportunities in Indiana today, including Indiana RV parking.
In Indiana, as in many other states, boondocking is permitted in designated areas. The Hoosier National Forest in south-central Indiana is one of the nicest places to visit. As long as your car does not block developed trails or roadways, you can boondock almost anyplace in the national forest.
You cannot, however, boondock in campsites, parking lots, day-use areas, boat launches, or any other location where there is a notice prohibiting camping.
Because many roadside places in the national forests arent mapped, finding a campsite might be difficult. You must stay within 125 feet of the road and only camp in already constructed sites. If you visit the most popular areas of the national forest, you should have little trouble finding them.
Indiana Camping Spots: The Guidelines And Where To Find Free Campsites
Many hikers and walkers opt to camp as they travel since Indiana hiking routes are in such bad shape around the state. This is free camping at its most natural, but there are a few ground rules that hikers must follow either wild camping or staying in the free Indiana boondocking campsites located beside trails.
Apart from these sites, you can camp anywhere in Indianas woodlands:
- Paid campsites
- Parking areas, trailheads, and day-use areas
- Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest
- Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower site
- Hemlock Cliffs area
Campers must stay 300 feet away from trailheads and 100 feet away from waterfalls and trails, according to state forest officials.
You should also leave your pitch in the same condition as you found it and squander as little as possible. When using the restroom, keep at least 100 meters away from a water source and use a trowel if necessary.
Additionally, be mindful of any prohibitions on campfires in your area. If youre unsure, dont start a campfire. We advocate utilizing a storm cooker because it allows you to cook anywhere.
Its advisable to only stay in each camping area for a short period of time. However, you can stay in Indiana state parks for up to two weeks at a time.
Be informed of the vegetation and fauna in the Indiana region where you intend to camp. While staying in forested areas, theres a chance youll see bears, coyotes, and maybe mountain lions!
Also Check: Best Camping Near Lake Placid
Free Camp Sites In Missouri
Indian Trail Conservation Area This location can fit RVs up to 45 feet in length and while just a very basic place to camp its right b the Mark Twain National Forest and has hiking and fishing.
Bismarck Conservation Area A well-maintained camping area near water and a boat dock. Each site has picnic tables, a fire pit, and a grill.
Daniel Boone Conservation Area This camp area can fit RVs up to 30 feet in length and is also well maintained near the Missouri River and close to wineries!
Related Family Camping Safety Tips You Dont Want to Miss
New Mexico National Forests
Total National Forest Acreage: ~9 million
Travel Writers Wanted
Can you string a few syllables together? Want to get paid to write great stories about living on the road?
Despite calling itself the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico is a tragically underrated state where the secret to finding said enchantment is to stay off of the freeway towns and explore its many national forests.
The Gila National Forest is a personal favorite, particularly the whirlwind juniper drive through US 180, options like the lonesome, wide-open Cattleman Trail will introduce you to the elusive Continental Divide Trail hiker and just get out there, youll dig itApache Creek are some of the highlights. Cosmic Campground is a designated dark sky sanctuary, but there doesnt tend to be a lot of light bleeding into any campsite in Gila National Forest. Silver City is the anchor town here, a more laid-back, small town version of artsy New Mexican villages like Santa Fe and Taos.
Speaking of Santa Fe, the national forest surrounding it, and by the same name, is home to a handful of gems of its own. Camp along the Rio Chama in dark seclusion, camp in the aspens and get a sweeping view from Big Tesuque, or just get yourself some alone time along colorful Forest Road 88.
Recommended Reading: Where Can You Go Camping For Free