Owen-Putnam State Forest




Location: About 3.5 miles from US 231, south of I-70 at Cloverdale; the turnoff for the state forest is at the "town" of Carp. Yes, Carp. As 231 curves east, the road into Carp goes straight; it is CR 50E.  The first road to the right that you come to is CR 600N; turn right there and drive through the somewhat larger metropolis of Cuba (no hijacking jokes, please) and on another mile or two over a really narrow, poorly maintained road to the forest entrance on the right.  You will see a sign directing you to the forest office 7 miles to the left, or Rattlesnake Campground, 3 miles straight ahead.  I never found the office, and the dirt road going that way is incredibly awful.  The one to Rattlesnake campground is marginally worse than that, but mercifully shorter.

Description: No visitors Center, no facilities (except the campgrounds). The Indiana DNR book says, "Owen Putnam has not been developed for recreation. It is difficult to get to, offers no drinking water and is seldom crowded." The night I camped there, virtually every spot was full and one spot had a group of seven tents. It was definitely party time in Owen-Putnam. During the week it would be empty, of course.  The forest has apparently grown back in after being clear cut a few decades back; the trees are on the small side (in some sections, anyway) and the undergrowth is thick.  Still, a pretty place to visit, and there are some sandstone cliffs.  Lots of fire trails to follow, as always; 28 small ponds. This forest is made of numerous small-to-larger parcels; get a map so you can tell when you're in and when you're out.  You might even find the forest office.

Nearby Points of Interest: Cataract Falls, McCormick's Creek State Park.

Cautions: Hunting seasons for deer, turkey, grouse, squirrel and rabbit. Deer season very popular. Lots of mosquitoes and deer flies.

Facilities: 24 primitive camping sites. Period.   


National Forest