Forest Service provides tips for visiting Southern Indiana during the eclipse


Bedford — On Monday, most of the Hoosier National Forest will experience a total solar eclipse and an influx of visitors will be there to witness it. The number of visitors will be unprecedented for the area.

Campgrounds on the National Forest are opening for the season early, however, for the period March 29 through Tuesday they are by reservation only and were completely booked for Tuesday by early March. Other dates can be reserved at

Visitors planning to come to the area and camp can do dispersed (or primitive) camping. Dispersed camping entails following the guidelines and establishing your own campsite, keeping in mind there are no amenities such as tables, fire rings, restrooms or trash cans, and the site must be returned to how it was found when you leave. It is not for everyone and requires planning and preparation, as well as the ability to “rough it.” Dispersed camping information can be found on the Hoosier National Forest’s website.

Local residents are advised to stay at home to view the eclipse as there will be traffic congestion and travel will be difficult. For those traveling, it is advised to fill up with fuel in advance, have cash for purchases, carry food with you, and have printed maps as cell phones are likely to be impacted by the increased demand. If possible, plan to stay until Tuesday or later to alleviate congestion on area roads and minimize your time spent waiting in traffic.

For those staying on the Hoosier National Forest or other natural areas, use caution with campfires as emergency response will likely be delayed. Clear the area of debris such as leaves and sticks, keep fires small and always keep watch. Put your campfire completely out when done by pouring water on it, stirring it, and placing your hand close to insure it is cold. The Forest Service and its concessionaire will be providing portable toilets, trash receptacles and dumpsters at campgrounds and recreation areas. Visitors are encouraged to pack out their trash or dispose of it properly and follow the Leave No Trace principles while visiting.

Visitors who wish to travel to the Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower, Hickory Ridge Campground and trails, and areas east of State Road 446 should be aware that Tower Ridge Road will be closed to through traffic from Thursday through Tuesday and should plan to use Hunter’s Creek Road instead. In addition, the Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower will be closed Sunday evening through Monday for visitor safety.

To meet the needs of the influx of visitors and provide the best customer service during the total solar eclipse event and the days leading up to it, office operations will be adjusted as follows;.

The Forest Service Tell City office to provide visitor information in-person or via phone, the office will be staffed 8 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday with extended hours as needed. Normal operations will resume Tuesday.

The office is located at 248 15th St., Tell City and the phone number is 812-547-7051. The Forest Service Bedford office will be open with full services, including sales of maps, passes, eclipse glasses, etc. 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Friday. Full services will also be available Saturday-Monday. Extended hours will be offered as needed between Thursday and Monday. The Bedford office is located at 811 Constitution Ave., Bedford, and the office’s phone number is 812-275-5987.

For information about the Hoosier National Forest and preparing for the eclipse visit

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