- Indiana’s largest lake
- Hoosier National Forest
- Deam Wilderness, Indiana’s only wilderness
- 200 miles of trails
Bloomington, known for Indiana University, also has the largest man-made reservoir, Lake Monroe, with 10,750 acres of water spread over Monroe, Brown, and Jackson counties.
The lake boasts nine boat launch sites, more than 200 camp sites, cultural arts and interpretive programs, a nature center, volleyball courts, three distinct state recreational areas–Fairfax, Hardin Ridge and Paynetown–beaches, boat rentals, and a full-service marina.
Fourwinds Lakeside Inn & Marina serves Lake Monroe and recently underwent a complete renovation and offers 118 rooms with two restaurants, indoor-outdoor heated pool, boat rentals, private beach and other recreational amenities.
The Hoosier National Forest, on the southeast side of Bloomington, provides a wide mix of opportunities and resources for people to enjoy. Rolling hills, back-country trails, and rural crossroad communities make this small but beautiful Forest a favorite! A favorite portion is Deam Wilderness, Indiana’s only wilderness. During a beautiful hike through you can see a ridge top view of Lake Monroe, take in an amazing sunset while camping on the shores of Lake Monroe and the Peninsula Trail. Then do some fishing, collect geodes, and even have the opportunity to explore Patton Cave. The area features karst topography, with its flat-topped ridges, geode-laden streambeds, and over 12,000 acres. Hikers, backpackers, and horseback riders are also drawn to the wilderness and its 39 miles of trails. Most of the trails follow old roadbeds, and a bit of exploration off the main trails will bring visitors past other shadows of the past, including house foundations, domestic plants, old fences, and the occasional cemetery (five cemeteries exist within the wilderness boundary). If you go don’t miss the amazing views from the 110 foot Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower, once a sentinel built to protect a fledgling forest from wildfire. Today, it is the last lookout tower remaining on the Hoosier National Forest and boasts wonderful views.
Bloomington offers a variety of trails for all levels of cyclists, hikers and those who simply want to take a relaxing stroll. From easy, paved trails to more rugged natural hiking, Bloomington’s more than 200 miles of trails provide a fun outdoor experience for all ages and skill levels. Additional hiking trails can be found at properties listed on VisitBloomington.com.