Charles C. Deam Wilderness Surf and Turf – Indiana

by Steve Moon on July 30, 2013

Are you looking for a weekend paddle getaway in South Central Indiana? Then you shouldn’t look much further than a short 1.15 hour drive from Indianapolis to the Cutright boat ramp just south of Bloomington proper from State Road 446 on beautiful Lake Monroe.

The ideal time to visit is during the week and not centered on a holiday. If you choose to go during a holiday weekend, then plan on an early day to locate some of the best camping spots on the water. You will not be disappointed.

Unload your canoe or kayak from the gravel ramp and park your car in the well-lit paved and patrolled parking lot. Don’t forget to remove your saddles, rollers and lock down your rack. No reason to end your getaway without your rack to safely transport your vessel.

Now that you’re on the open water head east towards the opening of the Middle Fork State Wildlife Refuge. Once in the Middle Fork, become keenly aware of what flies above. The trees in the Hoosier National Forrest and Charles C. Deam Wilderness are large enough to provide security to our nations bird the Bald Eagle. Listen closely to the hear their unmistakable call .

On the Southern shore of the Middle Fork, campsites will begin to reveal themselves peeking thru the trees. Paddle near the shore to take note of your ideal stop.  Get out of your boat, stretch your legs and have a look around. Some days you will feel all alone when the lake isn’t busy, so take your time finding your ideal spot.

You can take day paddles on the Middle and South Forks of Salt Creek. If birds are your thing, then take along your Audubon Bird Guidebook and binoculars because this stretch has plenty of birds to check off your list.

Another great addition to your getaway is by taking advantage of a little surf and turf. No, it’s not steak and lobster delivered to your zippered door of your tent! This surf and turf is paddling to the South shore of the Middle Fork, set up camp then don some light hikers and take a hike. Charles C. Deam is home to 12,935 acres in the northern part of the Hoosier National Forrest. This federally designated ‘wilderness’ is the largest in the lower Great Lakes Region. Approximately 35.7 miles of trails are available to hikers along oak-hickory ridges overlooking Monroe Reservoir and through beech-maple hollows.

John Grubb Ridge will give you a taste of the up and downs of The Charles C. Deam Wilderness.

You can tell your friends that you did the “Surf and Turf” trip.

As always Leave No Trace.

After a few days in the trees, you should be refreshed!

It’s time to paddle out and hit the road home. Bloomington, Indiana is a great place to stop for a bite to eat.  I like the Trojan Horse and their “Super G”.



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