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Boondocking at Saddle Lake in the Hoosier National Forest

Boondocking at Saddle Lake in the Hoosier National Forest

Finally, we found some quality boondocking on our way to the Great Lakes! The Hoosier National Forest stretches 100 miles – from Tell City to Bloomington, Indiana – and offers multiple free camping sites.

We arrived earlier in the week and plan to stay through Memorial Day weekend.

Here’s the breakdown:

Location: Tell City, Indiana

GPS: 38.05911, -86.65196

Price: Free, with a 14 day limit

Date/Temp: May 25 to May 31. The high has been in the low 80s, with a low in the mid 60s. There is plenty of tree coverage to keep the temps lower.


Amenities: Saddle Lake Campground offers a picnic table and fire pit for every site. There is a centralized vault toilet, and its been kept pretty clean. The area also has a hiking trail and boat launch.

Noise: There are 5 other sites occupied here – one is a large RV with a loud generator. This doesn’t bug us, because we’ll run our quiet Honda genny at the same time. But, if we were  tent campers, it might get on our nerves. Otherwise, the camp ground is very quiet.

Wifi/Cell: We get strong T-Mobile 4g coverage here and have been streaming a lot of Hulu. Our AT&T jumps back and forth between 3g and 4g.

Grocery/Errands: Tell City is about 12 miles from camp. Walmart is the only grocer in town. The local health food store doen’t offer much, and its way overpriced. There are a few antique shops, a post office, and plenty of fast food.

Dog Friendly: Dogs are welcome at Saddle Lake, but the environment isn’t ideal. The hiking trail is infested with ticks, and there are so many trees that its hard for River to be on a line without getting tangled.


Entertainment: Since it rained for a few days, we’ve been entertained mostly by streaming TV shows and movies. Tell City doesn’t offer much for entertainment, and because of the ticks, it was hard to enjoy a long hike.

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Wednesday 29th of September 2021

Hi. Thanks for discovering this rec area, always like to stay at usfs campgrounds that are ff. Does this place have any water? That and a vault are always my first questions. Thanks!

7 Most Beautiful Campgrounds in Indiana | Drivin' & Vibin'

Saturday 18th of July 2020

[…] Saddle Lake Recreation Area is a great place to hear yourself think in the forest. This primitive campground has 13 sites.  […]

Karl walls

Sunday 29th of May 2016

If you come through Clare mi I can offer you a parking spot and a shower Karl.


Thursday 16th of June 2016

Thanks Karl!


Sunday 29th of May 2016

Hope you enjoy your visit in MI. There are so many great places to visit, especially up the Lake Michigan side of the lower peninsula. When you are in the UP, if you have time try to camp along Lake Superior. Awesome camping and great small communities along the way. MI State Parks are really very nice, but of course there are always State Forest Campgrounds and Federal forest campgrounds too. Don't forget the mosquito repellent. If you get to Sault Ste Marie MI, the Soo Locks are a great place to visit. On June 24th you can tour the Soo Locks during Engineers Day. Enjoy!!


Thursday 16th of June 2016

Thanks for the suggestions! We have met the formidable swarms of mosquitos!


Saturday 28th of May 2016

How long are you staying in Michigan? There us so much to see here. Are you including the Upper Peninsula on your tour?


Saturday 28th of May 2016

Hi Deb! We'll probably be in Michigan for a month or so. We plan to travel up the western coast and through the UP, then eventually the Pacific Northwest.

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