Explore the most popular camping trails in Indiana with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

2 hour hike each way. Down hill in, uphill out. Campsites are the nicest remote sites I’ve seen.

I grew up about 10 miles away and I have never been until today! It was awesome! Signs are a little confusing and almost nonexistent in some areas. At one point, we were going to turn around when we came to a dam thinking that were weren’t going to be able to make it over, but once you climb over there is even terrain!! Just keep going!☺️ There are some trails that are closed due to damage (Trail 7 and Cascade Falls) but we were able to go around the broken stairs and reach Sugar Creek. Trail 7 and 8 are very rugged but I would rather climb rocks than stairs! I can’t wait to go back when it’s not so muggy!!!!

2 days ago

One of the best places to backpack in Indiana. Some of the sites have great scenery of the lake. The only access to water is from campsite 6 so make sure that is something you bring

The trail was very good marked and maintained pretty good as well. We went early on a Saturday and just saw one parked car but met no other hikers at all. We saw a few deers, chipmunks and beautiful wildflowers. There were some spider webs but not an awful lot, we experienced worse. The flies were kinda annoying though. The only downside and the reason for not giving this one 5 stars is the amount of flies, mosquitos and that we got attacked by mini ticks. Long pants, long socks and anti tick spray on shoes, socks and pants didn’t hold them back. Besides that it was a really pretty and strenuous trail. I’d suggest to start the loop by going left, then you’ll start out with a couple of climbs and the second half is mostly flat. I’d defiantly do this one again, but I’d check for the mini ticks every couple of hours. Those are nasty!

6 days ago

Backpacked the full route this past weekend with friends. Loved the trail and terrain. Hats off to the volunteers who've created, maintained, blazed, etc. these trails. Fantastic job. Couple of quick tidbits to pass along, buy the official trail map - I can't imagine how much more difficult it would have been without it. Download the HHC trail guide and take it with you. It has key info regarding places where it would be easy to get lost, and upcoming water. Note that the Pine Rd. exit off 37 no longer exists so you'll have to access the SF HQ from the south (Bloomington) or the north (Martinsville). Stop for a cold drink at the Hickory Shades motel in Belmont, the only vending machine we found on the route.
90 degree days with no breeze to speak of...quite a challenge. I'd like to do it again in the full color of fall.

I’m fit, yet this trail kicked my butt. You’ll need AT LEAST three full days of hiking, unless you are a freak of nature. It’s a lot of fun though and great southern Indiana scenery!

OH MY GOD! Tick city!! Three of us went on this trail and yes, it was beautiful but took a terrible turn towards the end with all the ticks. Beautiful hike but beware!

The Shades has the best trails in the state. Prepare to walk in creekbeds and take extra shoes and socks.

Beautiful, large variety of difficulty.

11 days ago

Horrible. Not worth it. Trails need to be cleared of brush and many parts are not walkable. Full of poison ivy and ticks. No warnings about how the place has become overrun with ticks until you do a lot of digging on the Hoosier National Forest website. I hope no one gets Lyme Disease here. Please go somewhere else.

Overgrown; covered in poison ivy, stickers and spider webs. Lake campsites are nice though.

ive been going here since i was a child. its even become my adult escape just because of the drive time from fort wayne. be prepared for bugs, twisted ankles, waterfalls and deep breaths. many dont believe that there are hills in norther indiana. but once you go past that first waterfall and climb up from the bottom youll bite your tongue. I have found a total of 7 waterfalls on the south side of the river. go explore.

15 days ago

Great trail! Would not grade it as hard. More of the high end of moderate. Well marked. Dachshund friendly. Great workout. No real excess to the lake.

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.

Enjoyed all the clean trails!!

Views of the lake were great but the lack of signage along the trails made it a bit confusing.

Awesome trail with a cool reward! Maybe 2-3 miles of gravel. Up, down, repeat!

Hiked the whole 11 mile, 1600+ elevation, hills, tight ridge passes, climbs as good as it gets for nontechnical. Red pines at 870, , no droning traffic noises, very very lightly trafficked. Amazing time. Whoever designed this trail must receive a medal. Why 15 reviews? It may not be pet/kid friendly but it is definitely serious hiker friendly.

22 days ago

This was a great trail despite some areas in need of maintenance. We completed the full 10 miles in approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes. Like many others have said, the trail is well marked, provides great views, and is in the shade the majority of the time. Exposed roots and fallen branches are concerning if trail running. The point of the trail for us was to get some mileage and climbs in before a trip to Arizona, and this trail provided that for us. Will definitely come back.

trail running
24 days ago

This loop is long enough (10+miles) to count as a serious training ground for the mountaineering expedition for which I am in training- a weeklong attempt of Mexico’s Pico de Orizaba. The Low Gap Loop features glorious single track, horse trail, scenic forest canopy, and a stretch of wide gravel service road. There are ponds, stream crossings, interesting rock overhangs and good vertical rise and gain. I do this trail several times per year, and have completed it in pouring rain, intense heat and bitter cold. There’s perhaps no place equal to Low Gap’s combination of challenge and length nearby. Definitely recommended.

Not extremely scenic and the trail was littered with spider webs. Bring plenty of water as well, drank about 3 liters myself on the hike. The overlooks of the lakes however are pretty, and at one end of the trail, you end up walking through an open prairie which is a nice break from the woods.

26 days ago

Beautiful park with nice views of wildlife and scenery. We went on a cloudy day so the beach was empty. The trail map given to us at the entrance had been copied many times it appeared so it was pretty much impossible to read. The trails are not marked well and at times we had no idea where we were. Regardless of all that it’s a beautiful area and I will return. One more thing is they need to clean up some of the trash on the trails from losers who leave cans and bottles. Sad.
A little TLC and this park would be 5 stars.

28 days ago

Many hiking trails offering great views and beauty all around. The canyons are so much fun to climb in for all ages.

Gorgeous views. We actually hiked at Hemlock on a rainy day, and it was a lot of fun.

29 days ago

This along with trail 8 has become my favorite trail at The Shades. We began on an easy trail from the campground to the main trailhead. Once we got to trail 7 we descended down Kickapoo Ravine to Sugar Creek. We went directly to Sugar Creek instead of taking the stairs that ascended back up the ravine. Once we reached Sugar Creek we turned left to meet up with Trail 8, which ascends Shawnee Ravine. By taking the trails in this manner we were able to avoid most stairs and ascend using rugged ravine terrain instead of the stairs. It is also cooler in the ravines so during the summer especially I would reccomend taking the trail in this manner.

1 month ago

The scenery is not super exciting for the first half of the trip, but once you loop around to the woods it gets a lot better. It is also used for mountain biking so the second half of the trail is a lot more windy, with small hills to hike up and down which we liked. We used this trip as practice for a week-long camping trip in August so we picked it for the distance/elevation changes and didn't care as much about the scenery.

FYI - no pit toilets so be prepared with a trowel to dig a hole and toilet paper. Also, the only campsite that has access to the lake is #6 (or #2 if you're looking at the map that just has two campsites listed) so if you are packing light on water with the intention to use a filter to refill, be sure to at least stop at this campsite.

closer to 10 miles and that was longer than I thought!! Nice trail that were well marked. Mostly shady with some open meadows. Around mile 8 were some odd cold air pockets which were refreshing and unexpected! My son and I had a lot of fun and are glad we can say we made it!

Well marked trails, especially because as you enter the park (and pay $9 if you’re from out-of-state), you get a trail map. You can choose how long/short you want to hike. Nice stretches of shade and sun. A little buggy. Trails were well maintained.

1 month ago

Went with my wife on her first backpacking trip. Didn’t get full trail in and had spots that were grown over and had to carefully look for blazes. Plan to do myself in the near future.

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