The Tecumseh Trail is a 43 mile moderately challenging trek through Southern Indiana. Its not especially difficult as the hills are not steep and water can be easily obtained. There is limited camping along the trail.
If I’m going to be honest about hiking the Tecumseh Trail, it was not the most spectacular hike. The trail occasionally follows roads including the busy Indiana State Road 46. The only amazing view I found along the trail was the devastation from logging. Good job, Indiana.
Despite this, the Tecumseh Trail is one of few backpacking trails in Indiana. The trail’s close proximity to Indianapolis and Bloomington make it convenient for Hoosiers seeking a quick weekend trip.
The Tecumseh Trail shouldn’t prove particularly difficult for beginners. The approximately 43 miles are challenging enough to prove interesting but not difficult enough to discourage a novice backpacker. For those unfamiliar with Southern Indiana, the state actually has more than corn and beans. Southern Indiana has hills. Lots of rolling hills. The Tecumseh Trail climbs and meanders through these hills. While its not as challenging as its Indiana brethren Knobstone, Tecumseh made for a good work out.
Hiking along the Tecumseh Trail, we encountered some random sites. At least someone was happy to see us. The dancing woolly aphids were fun to watch even if they were chowing down on the tree.
Yellowwood State Forest has a carry in tent site on the north side of the lake. Its a wide grassy area with fire rings. When we checked in at the office, we were able to refill with clean water and purchase firewood. An employee was nice enough to deliver the firewood. A few anglers passed by on boats but otherwise, it was a quiet stay.
An open shelter is also a popular camping site. For a more leisurely trip, consider spending the night at Yellowwood and at Fox Den shelter. If the shelter is occupied, there is room nearby for tents. There is also backcountry camping a few miles north of the shelter in the Morgan Monroe Backcountry Area.
Logging in Indiana’s state forest has been a hot topic for several years. The Limestone Post eloquently stated that “the Tecumseh Trail Now Ends in Destruction.” While I’m not here to weigh in on the pros and cons of logging or “timber harvests,” I can say that it ruins the view. Logged portions of the forest along the trail were covered in briars and there was little to see besides brush piles.
Maps and Guides
The Hoosier Hiker Counsel built the Tecumseh Trail between 1998 and 2002. As such, the Counsel has a Tecumseh Trail Guide available for download and a high quality map is available for purchase from the HHC Online Store. The Indiana DNR publishes a pamphlet with a map included.