State Forest

Natural Areas: Yellowwood State Forest

Yellowwood State Forest occupies more than 23,000 acres and takes its name from the yellowwood tree (facing, below), 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

Yellowwood Lake. Click to enlarge

Jackson Creek Trail (1.3 relatively flat miles) is the most popular in the forest. Itís a lollipop that begins near the northern end of the lake, where the shallow water is 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 before returning.

Yellowwood Forest

Yellowwood Forest. Click to enlarge

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 more solitude and better views as it works its way through and around small ravines bordering the lake.

Ravine at Yellowwood State Forest

Ravine. Click to enlarge

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 better views. From there itís a short but steep descent to trailís end.

Trail Map

trail map

Click to enlarge


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

GPS: N 39 10.975 W 86 20.333 (Headquarters)


Camping, water, shelter house

Finder Sketch

Click to enlarge

Nearby Natural Areas (miles)

Selma Steele Nature Preserve (4.7)
Brown County State Park (10.7)
Scarlet Oak Woods (11.2)
Hitz-Rhodehamel Woods (13.7)
Hare Preserve at Downey Hill (15.7)
Morgan-Monroe State Forest (16.8)
Branigin Nature Preserve (18.6)
Leonard Springs Nature Park (19.9)