Jackson-Washington State Forest encompasses nearly 18,000 acres in Jackson and Washington counties in the heart of southern Indiana. The main forest and office area are located 2.5 southeast of Brownstown on State Road 250. This part of the state contains unique topography known as the “knobs”. This region provides scenic views second to none and offers some breathtaking hiking opportunities.
The majority of the land that now makes up Jackson-Washington was purchased by the state of Indiana in the 1930’s and 1950’s. The Heritage Trust program, which uses funds from the sale of environmental license, Division of Forestry funds generated from portions of timber sales, and assistance from other conservation partners has made possible the acquisition of additional state forest lands.
Primitive(class C) camping is available for a fee. Campers can choose from any of the 56 sites (2 are wheelchair accessible) available sprawling across the landscape surrounded by hills and “knobs”. Some are water front sites on Knob Lake while others provide camping among hardwoods or towering eastern white pines. Firewood is located at the forest office for campers at Jackson-Washington for a small fee. Firewood is available from Memorial Day weekend through Fort Vallonia Day weekend in late October.
A Youth Tent Campground is available for scouts and other groups. The Youth Camping area is located near the forest office in Jackson County at the trailhead for Trail 3. Backcountry camping is available along the backcountry hiking trail in Washington County, including along the Knobstone Trail also located in Washington County.
Five forest lakes are open to fishing; a valid Indiana fishing license is required.
Washington County Lakes
Spurgeon Hollow Lake (12 acres)
Potter Lake (10 acres)
Plattsburg Pond (8 acres)
Jackson County Lakes
Knob Lake (7 acres)
Cypress Pond (1 acres)
Boat ramps are located on Knob Lake and Spurgeon Hollow Lake; boat motors are limited to electric trolling motors only. Plattsburg Pond and Potter Lake are walk-in lakes. Knob Lake has wheelchair accessible docks. Swimming is not permitted in any of the lakes. All lakes have been stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and channel catfish. All boats require annual lake use permits.
Jackson-Washington offers 4 picnic shelters (Skyline Drive, White Oak, Museum, and Pinnacle), 2 oven shelters (Skyline and CCC playground) and 9 picnic areas available for day use on a first come-first served basis. All are located near the main forest area in Jackson County. There is no charge to use the shelters, and reservations are not accepted. Some picnic areas are designated for individual families, while others will accommodate large groups. Playgrounds are located adjacent to all picnic shelters except the Pinnacle Shelter.
The archery range provides four targets for shooters to practice from known distances of 15, 20, 30, and 40 yards and seven different target stations of unknown distance to the shooter. The entire range is wooded with each of the seven stations providing a different shooting opportunity, including one (target #7) with an elevated platform to simulate a tree stand shot.
There are a variety of trails to choose from ranging from easy to rugged including a wheelchair accessible trail. Two of the trails also serve as educational trails. Trail 4 serving as a Tree Identification Trail and Trail 6 serving as Sawmill Hollow Interpretive Trail. Hikers are advised to wear hunter orange or other bright clothing while utilizing the trails especially during hunting season. Check with forest office for status of trails.
Approximately 13.9 total miles of marked trails in two separate areas. Horseback riding is permitted only on designated bridle trails. All horses brought or ridden to Jackson-Washington State Forest must have a valid annual horse tag which can be purchased at the forest office or at Starve Hollow SRA. Horseback riders are advised to wear hunter orange or other bright clothing while on trails during hunting season.
Mountain Bike Trails
Jackson-Washington S.F./Starve Hollow S.R.A. offers 12.2 miles of mountain bike trails in two different locations. Mountain bikes are only permitted on those designated trails. For further details and a trail map click here.
Jackson-Washington provides hunting for white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, eastern wild turkey, rabbit, quail, dove, squirrel, fox, coyote, and raccoon. A valid hunting license is required. Trapping is allowed only by written permit by the property manager.
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