State Forests

Photograph of camping in a State ForestCamping in State Forests....
Your Way

Visitors may choose among four ways of camping in a state forest.

  1. Individual campsites are designated for individuals or single families. The sites are designed to furnish only the basic needs of the camper. Most consist of a cleared area, fire ring, table, vault toilets, garbage cans, and drinking water. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Fees are collected at the sites.
  2. Group campsites are campsites designated for larger groups.The sites are designed to furnish only the basic needs of the camper. Most consist of a cleared area, fire ring, table, vault toilets, garbage cans, and drinking water. Group sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Fees are collected at the sites.
  3. Horse campsites allow horses. The sites are designed to furnish only the basic needs of the camper. Most consist of a cleared area, fire ring, table, vault toilets, garbage cans, and drinking water. These campsites also may have picket lines and compost bins for manure disposal. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Fees are collected at the sites.
  4. Dispersed camping is camping outside the designated campsites and campgrounds on state forest land. There are no furnished amenities. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For a listing of all state forests, see main state forest page. For information about accessibility of state forest campgrounds and day-use areas, see state forests with accessible features.


FAQs about camping in a state forest

Q. How is a state forest campground different from a state park?

A. Unlike state park campgrounds, forest campgrounds do not have resident managers, organized nature programs, or modern facilities such as showers and flush toilets. They are semi-modern areas, designed to furnish the basic needs and provide opportunities for recreationists to pursue a variety of unstructured outdoor activities. Campgrounds are patrolled regularly to provide security and service to visitors.

Q. May I camp anywhere in a state forest, or do I need to stay in a designated campground?
A. DNR Forestry asks all overnight campers to help protect state forests by only using designated campsites. Designated campsites have fire rings to contain flames and litter containers that prompt campers to dispose of garbage properly. However, dispersed camping is allowed in state forests. Please practice the "leave no trace" camping ethic if you camp outside of designated areas. Overnight camping is not allowed at developed day-use areas.

When camping in state forests, please:

  • Use existing camping areas.
  • Avoid cutting or damaging trees and other plants.
  • Avoid camping under large trees because branches may fall.
  • Light fires only within fire rings and charcoal grills in state forest designated-use areas. Do not leave fires unattended, and extinguish all fires before leaving. Don't burn household refuse.
  • Protect our state forests — don't move firewood. Wood that is dead and lying on the ground may be gathered for campfire use onsite.
  • Use toilets where available. In areas without toilets, bury human waste.
  • Remove all rubbish and keep your campsite clean and tidy.
  • Keep dogs and other pets under control at all times.