Shades State Park Backpack and Campground Loop

MODERATE 12 reviews
#5 of 10 trails in

Shades State Park Backpack and Campground Loop is a 5.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Brown, Indiana that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.1 miles
314 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly





nature trips

trail running





wild flowers


Trail begins at parking lot #3 shortly after the entrance into the park. No vehicle traffic is allowed in this area. You must hike the trail to the camp sites that are marked. If you request fire wood when checking in, they will drive a vehicle with fire wood in the evening to your site. There is a water spigot and clean enclosed latrine style restrooms at the destination. The river and canoe camp area is a short 5-10 minute walk. Great place to skip stones and let the dog fetch sticks in the water.

4 months ago

We followed a well marked trail to a very nice camp site with plenty of options for hanging a hammock. As we explored the nearby creek, we spotted a ring necked snake and a five lined gecko. Couldn’t believe it! This is a lovely park with plentiful trail options. When you leave stop by Hershey’s Drive Inn in Veedersberg for a burger and a malt.

5 months ago

The trail is well marked, but is closer to 3 miles instead of the 2.25-2.5 that I've read elsewhere. There's not a lot to look at along the way, but is about the right distance for a family. The fact that there is water, an outhouse and firewood are added benefits for a family trip.

The trail is wide enough to walk side by side in some sections, while in others it's barely a foot wide, with brush rubbing against your legs. where we went under the power lines, the weeds were over our heads and rubbing against us. Despite having only sprayed our knees and below, we all made it out without ticks or chiggers.

Firewood is self-serve, just deposit the $5 fee in the slot. If you can't register up front, the ranger will come collect and register you, but be aware that unlike the firewood fee, the campsite is actually $12.84, because they collect tax.

This trail is a nice feature that would be nice to see at more Indiana DNR properties.

7 months ago

First of all, Be careful of the wood stairs and wood foot-bridges when it’s wet. They are all very slippery! I almost fell down a thirty foot fight of stairs while it was pouring. I slid down five steps, but luckily I was able to grab the rail with my arm.

Backpacked and camped at the backpacking campground this weekend with my 6yo daughter. The campsites are nice. Water, privy and firewood are available.
No need to request firewood to be delivered as told in the trail description. There are bundles stacked up in a small wood shelter, and there is a slot to drop your money, $5 per bundle.
You must register for your campsite at the main gate and it costs $12 plus tax per night. Seven sites are available and they’re on a first-come-first-serve basis.
The raccoons are aggressive so don’t leave your food or trash out unattended even for a few minutes. I went it to my tent to get my daughter ready for bed, and I heard something fall from the pic-nick table. A raccoon snagged our six pound food bag, and I had to chase him 100ft down the trail and into the woods to get it back!
Friday night there was only one other group of campers. We were the only ones there on Saturday. There’s lots of animal sounds at night, many I couldn’t recognize.
The canoe camp is less than a half mile walk away from the backpacking camp. There is a very nice view of Sugar Creek from there. I was surprised that we didn’t see anyone camped there either night. Though, there was quite a bit of rain this past weekend. As far as registration for The canoe camp, no need to register at the gate as the ranger will come around in the evening to collect fees from the canoe campers. As the park’s trail guide states, there is no limit to how many can camp there, all canoe campers must be accommodated as there are no other camping options.

8 months ago

Excellent trail for a quick overnighter, or for beginners .. The campsites were excellent , having the means of firewood, water and facilities right at camp is nice .Short walk to sugar creek ,.. My real only complaint is that the trail is so peppered with signage,..Prob, close to 50 signs on a 2.5 mile stretch.. Two dozen were completely not needed and takes away the feeling of "being out there" .. But , all in all , very nice. Would recommend .

Thursday, July 06, 2017

i love this quite little trail and camp ground

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Tuesday, May 17, 2016