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2019 Trail Use Permits Available For Hoosier National Forest

Last updated on Wednesday, December 12, 2018

(BEDFORD) - While much of the forest is open to the public free of charge, some places and activities require a pass or permit.

Daily entry passes are required at some developed campgrounds and recreation areas on the Hoosier National Forest. Many trails and campgrounds do not.

Trail Permits (or trail tags) are required for all horseback and mountain bike riding on the Hoosier National Forest.


There are two trail tag options:

Daily tags cost $5.00 and are good for a single calendar day.
Annual tags cost $35.00 and are good from January 1st through December 31st each year.

Trail tags can be purchased at either the Tell City or Bedford offices of the Hoosier National Forest, through the mail, or from several local stores. There are no refunds for lost or stolen trail tags.

Tags are required when using a horse or bicycle on a Hoosier N.F. trail, trailhead, or campground. Tags are not required on public roads or on the Hardin Ridge beach access trail. There are approximately 175 miles of trails for bike use and 202 miles of trails for horse use on the Forest. Horses and bicycles are required to stay on designated trails.

A tag is required for each adult rider. The tag is issued to the individual rider and may not be loaned to another person. Pack stock and foals without a rider are not required to have tags. Tags must be carried on your person or displayed from your horse or bike. Indiana Department of Natural Resources permits does not apply to federal National Forest lands. Horseback riders or bicycle riders 16 years of age or younger are exempt from the permit requirement.

The 2019 permits are now available at the Hoosier National Forest offices in Bedford and Tell City, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will be available local vendors by the end of December.

Orders for permits can also be taken over the phone with a credit card - Bedford (812) 275-5987, Tell City (812) 547-7051.

The Recreation Enhancement Act allows federal land management agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service, to charge modest fees for some recreation uses.

Trail use fees on the Hoosier National Forest are used to maintain trails, enhance trailheads, and improve visitor services. Some recent projects funded with these fees include regular maintenance of trails that allow bike and horse use; purchase of gravel and other materials used on trails; purchase of five trailhead kiosk signs to better inform trail users of trail topography, location and mileage; construction of a bridge along the Grubb Ridge Trail in the Charles C. Deam Wilderness to improve drainage; and completion of 150 feet of French drain and gravel turnpike on the Hickory Ridge Trail with the assistance of members of the following partners -Knobstone Hiking Trail Association, Boy Scouts National Order of the Arrow, and interns from Mobilize Green.

bridge construction.png
Bridge constructed on the Grubb Ridge Trail to improve drainage.

Current and future generations benefit as 95 percent of the funds from trail use permits are reinvested in the facilities and services that visitors to the Hoosier National Forest enjoy, use and value.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 30 percent of the nation's surface drinking water to cities and rural communities and approximately 66 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System. The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 900 million forested acres within the U.S., of which over 130 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.)

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