Hardin Ridge Recreation Area

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With the 300 ft beaches, warm sand and sun, Hardin Ridge Recreation Area offers a place for children to play and  sunbathers to relax, while swimmers enjoy the water. A shaded grass hillside provides a great place for a family picnic. There are no lifeguards on duty; Hardin Ridge also asks for NO pets or glass containers at the beach. This beautiful beach is open until 8 p.m. daily each year from Memorial Day to Labor Day .

A two-mile hiking and bicycle trail goes from the day use area to the different campground loops. This trail follows the main campground road and is a safe surface for families to hike or bike. When bicycling down to the day use area, be very careful on the steep incline. This is the only trail in the Hoosier National Forest where bicyclists can ride without a trail permit.

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For RV or tent camping there are six great locations available: Bluegill Loop, Eads Loop, Holland Loop, Pine Loop, Southern Point Loop, and White Oak Loop.

Bluegill Loop offers a shady campground with over 50 tent and trailer sites. Close to a third of the sites are electric and sixteen are walk-in sites. This area includes a fishing pond and a playground for children.

Eads Loop is a shady campground with 23 tent and trailer sites.

Holland Loop is a shady campground with 13 tent and trailer sites. All the sites at Holland are electric and one site provides a double wide area.

Pine Loop is a shady campground with 40 tent and trailer sites. Half the sites are electric. Eight of the sites are walk-ins on this loop. This area includes a playground for children.

Southern Point Loop is a shady campground with 60 tent and trailer sites. It provides the most remote and wooded of the loops at Hardin Ridge. Many of the sites are set back from the campground road. Only 14 of the tent sites are walk-ins. None of the sites on Southern Point have electricity.

Reserve your campsite online

Hardin Ridge offers many places to pond fish, including Bluegill Loop, Holland Loop, and White Oak Loop. Anglers fish along the Hardin Ridge bank at Lake Monroe or fish in small fishing boats just off shore. Trails go along the day use area near the shoreline. Fishing is permitted anywhere along the lake shore within the recreational area. Several quaint inlets provide quiet fishing holes along the banks. Many species are found in Lake Monroe including blue gill, striped bass, large mouth bass, and crappie.

Hardin Ridge trail is a 2-mile hike; it runs from the day use area to the loops around the campground. This trail follows the main campground road and is a safe place for families to hike.  Another great option is Ted T. Turtle Trail. This 1.2 mile interpretive trail takes you through a scenic hardwood forest, along a small creek and down to Lake Monroe and back. Along the trail, you can learn about the history, geology, and wildlife common to southern Indiana. There are signs along the trail that show different aspects of history, wildlife, the environment and other points of interest. There are 157 steps, so this trail is not accessible to wheelchairs or bicycles.  

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Beautiful in any season, Hardin Ridge has a gorgeous overlook. It gives visitors an enormous view of the 10,750-acre lake. This is the largest lake in Indiana. Making you feel like you are in the depths of the woods, the entire area is forested hardwood and very well shaded. Other great areas for viewing scenery are at Pine Loop and Southern Point Loop.

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During the spring and summer seasons, visitors are encouraged to attend the interpretive programs. Programs are offered at the Hardin Ridge amphitheater or, in some cases, programs may be held at the beach. A great interpretive area to view is the Ted T. Turtle Trail, offering a great hike and many signs to peak your interest in history, geology and wildlife common to southern Indiana.

Hardin Ridge has 60 picnic sites and two shelter houses, most with beautiful views of the lake. Another sheltered picnic area is available next to the amphitheater. Shelters may be reserved from mid-May through early October for a cost of $25 by calling the reservation system, or are otherwise available on a first-come basis. There is plenty of space in fields around the picnic sites for games.

The 3-lane launch ramp is open year-round with a 75 vehicle/trailer parking area. A fully accessible loading dock is also provided at the boat ramp.