Ferdinand State Forest advisories
- BLUE-GREEN ALGAE AT FERDINAND LAKE BEACH: Swimming and boating permitted. Avoid contact with algae. Avoid swallowing water while swimming. Take a bath or shower with warm soapy water after coming in contact with lake water. Do not use lake water for cooking or bathing. Do not allow your pets to swim or drink water where algae are present. More information.
In 1933, a local conservation club raised funds to buy 900 acres to build a lake and establish an area to hunt and fish. They offered management of the project to the Indiana Department of Conservation the following year, and this marked the establishment of Ferdinand State Forest.
Established in 1934 as a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp, CCC workers built roads, service buildings, and one of the most beautiful forest lakes in the state. Ferdinand State Forest is well known for its excellent deer and squirrel hunting. The area surrounding Ferdinand is rich in German heritage, including St. Meinrad Archabbey, the Monastary Immaculate Conception and many other local landmarks and seasonal community festivals.
Beginning in mid-May running through October, Ferdinand State Forest operates an entrance gate house. During times of gate operation, there is an entrance fee required to gain access to the state forest's primary recreation area (i.e., campground, beach, shelters, etc.). The fee is $7/vehicle for in-state plates and $9/vehicle for out-of-state plates. Indiana DNR annual entrance passes are accepted and sold at the property.
Primitive (class C) camping is available for a fee. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis; please self-register for camping at the campground check-in booth.
Vault toilets and seasonal drinking water are available. There are a picnic table and grill located on each of the campground's 57 sites.
Fishing is permitted in Ferdinand Lake, Coyote Lake, Campground Lake, and Fossil Lake; a valid Indiana fishing license is required. A boat launch ramp is located on Ferdinand Lake; boat motors are limited to electric trolling motors only. Rowboat and canoe rental is available on Ferdinand Lake from mid-April through October. The swimming beach is available from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Restrooms, dressing facilities, and showers are available to visitors. (Swimming is permitted in Ferdinand Lake beach area only)
Whitetail deer, turkey, squirrel, fox, and raccoon. A valid hunting license is required.
There are picnic areas and picnic shelter houses available for day use. Picnic tables and grills are located at the picnic sites. Playground and horseshoe pits are located near the swimming beach.
- Twin Lake Trail -2.3 miles
- Kyana Trail - 2.5 miles
- Firetower Trail - 1.3 miles
- Foxey Hollow Trail - 1.5 miles
- South Ridge Trail - 2.1 miles
Hikers are advised to wear hunter orange or other bright clothing while on trails during hunting season
Mountain Bike Trails
Ferdinand State Forest offers 8.8 miles of mountain bike trails. Mountain bikes are only permitted on those designated trails. View our publications page for further details and a trail map.
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