After moving to Indiana a little over a year ago, I was concerned I wouldn't be able to get lost in nature since the state isn't really known for fantastic landscapes. However I soon discovered Southern Indiana, in particular the Charles Deam Wilderness Area of Hoosier National Forest, and the multitude of scenic areas and hiking trails this part of the state offers.
"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. To rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived.”
-Henry David Thoreau
When I decided to use the above quote I kept thinking, really...it seems a little over the top to describe a Labor Day Weekend backpacking trip in Southern Indiana. I can't help to think that Charles Deam had a similar idea in mind while he was travelling this area many years ago.
If you would like to view more images of Indiana landscapes, check out my Shades State Park gallery located below. Thanks for looking!
You can do the whole trail in one day if you just want to hike in and hike back out, but if you're gonna make the 3 hour hike in, why not set up camp? I would consider the campsites backcountry sites, and you are allowed to set up anywhere as long as it's at least 100 feet from the nearest body of water. Most of the sites I saw had fire pits made from someone semi-circle stacking the rocks found on the shores of Lake Monroe. You can see the lake rocks in my images, and look at the image of my campsite complete with fire pit! She's a beauty, Clark!
To get to the Charles Team Wilderness Area take State Route 446 south from State Route 46 out of Bloomington and turn at Tower Ridge Road. You will see a sign along a gravel road for the Charles C. Deam Wilderness. The Wilderness boundary begins just a few hundred feet down this road and continues for several miles. To hike out to the peninsula on Lake Monroe follow this route:
From the Grubb Ridge trailhead
(1) Follow the Grubb Ridge Loop Trail 5.9 miles to an intersection.
(2) Hang right and pick up the Peninsula Trail; take it 2.5 miles to its terminus at a beach on one of the fingers of Lake Monroe.
(3) Head .3 mile north on the shore to a campsite at the tip of the peninsula.
(4) Retrace your steps to your car.