Each time I visit a bustling campground, I find myself thinking of the solitude and serenity of Yellowwood State Forest.
When I want to pitch a tent and just relax for a day or two, Yellowwood is one of my go-to destinations.
Yellowwood State Forest is located between Nashville and Bloomington, just off State Road 46. The forest consists of 23,326 acres of public land that is popular with campers, hikers, hunters, fishermen and horseback riders. In the summer, the dense forest is cool and inviting of exploration. In the fall, the canopy of foliage covering this rolling Brown County land is breathtaking.
All of the campsites are primitive. This means there is no electricity or shower house. There is drinking water available and vault toilets. Being a primitive campground not only keeps the number of campers and fishermen down, it generally limits campers to tents and small trailers. So if you’re a tent camper, it doesn’t feel like you’re staked out in a fancy subdivision.
Camping at Yellowwood is enjoyable for many reasons, but one of the aspects I enjoy the most is the ability to camp right on the shore of 133-acre Yellowwood Lake.
There are two playgrounds for kids and nice paved roads for bike riding in certain areas of the campground. The fee for camping on primitive sites is only $13 per night. A family can almost always arrive on Friday evening, find a suitable spot, pay $26, and have a campsite for the weekend.
Yellowwood Lake is a popular fishing impoundment located within the forest. Surrounded by beautiful hardwoods, the scenery of this 133-acre lake adds to the incredible fishing it offers.
Yellowwood Lake and Jackson Creek provide anglers with the opportunity to fish for bass, catfish, crappie, bluegill and even stocked trout. While all of these species are capable of being caught in fair numbers, it’s the bluegill in Yellowwood that draws anglers from near and far.
Bluegill can be caught just about anywhere on the lake, as well as in Jackson Creek below the dam. Remember to respect the resource of these muscular panfish. Only keep enough for a fish fry or two. It’s not hard to over-fish a lake the size of Yellowwood.
Boats are permitted at Yellowwood, but only electric motors are allowed. This is a perfect lake for canoe and kayak fishermen. It’s a good place for belly boats, too. The lack of swimming and especially the lack of outboard motors ensures the water remains rather undisturbed for fisherman. This is a great lake for johnboats, canoes, kayaks and float tubes.
Hiking also is popular at Yellowwood.
A number of trails of varying lengths and difficulty cut through the state forest. The 42-mile long Tecumseh Trail can be accessed near the north boat ramp. The Lake Trail loops completely around Yellowwood Lake. At 4.5-miles long, this is a perfect trail to spend a couple hours on. There is a shallow stream crossing and a unique opportunity to explore a section of old growth forest.
See you down the trail.