Yellowwood State Forest

Yellowwood State Forest is a large property (23,000+ acres) in Brown County. The forest takes its name from the yellowwood tree, a species found in only a few Indiana locations. Most of the forestís infrastructure (headquarters, camping, boat ramps) are on the east side of 133 acre Yellowwood Lake.

Yellowwood Lake


The Lake Trail (4.5 miles) follows jagged blazes and circles Yellowwood Lake, sharing parts of its tread with other trails and the main forest road. The eastern part has too much development for my taste; the western portion offers better views as it works its way through and around small ravines bordering the lake.


The Scarce oí Fat Trail (4.7 miles) begins near the western end of the dam; white diamonds blaze the loop. It starts out flat but soon begins a sustained climb to a ridge forested with oak and beech; deep ravines appear occasionally on the left, and a road occupies the ridge line to the right.


The trail takes a pair of hard left turns as it first joins, then soon leaves, a forest road. From there, it follows a stretch of the Tecumseh Trail into an intermittent stream valley.


The climb out of that valley leads to the top of High King Hill. Trees largely obscure the vistas; winter offers the best views. From there itís a short but very steep descent to trailís end.

The much shorter (1.3 miles) and flatter Jackson Creek Trail is the most popular in the forest. Itís a lollipop that begins near the northern end of the lake, where the water is shallow and full of emergent vegetation.

It heads north, then turns west to cross a footbridge over Jackson Creek and into a mature pinery before exploring the creek valley. Youíll cross the creek again (no bridge this time) before returning.


Brown County. From the intersection of IN 46 and IN 446 east of Bloomington, go east 9.5 miles on IN 46, then left 1.2 miles on winding Yellowwood Road. Turn left at the ďTĒ, continuing 0.9 miles to another intersection. Go straight 0.5 miles to the Scarce oí Fat trailhead, or turn right and go 1.5 miles to parking for the Jackson Creek and Lake Trail trailheads.

North 39 10.975 West 86 20.333
DeLorme 50:B5/6

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Camping, water, shelter house.

Nearby Natural Areas

Brown County State Park
Hitz-Rhodehamel Nature Preserve
Morgan-Monroe State Forest
Selma Steele Nature Preserve


Bloom: Hiking Indiana; Page 147
Habeck: Wild Indiana; Page 110
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
McPherson: Indiana Best Hikes; Page 322
McPherson: Nature Walks in Southern Indiana; Page 198