River Spur Path

Falls of the Ohio State Park

Located in Clarksville, Indiana, just across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky, is likely the first and only Indiana State Park I've set foot in.  Encompassing some 160 acres along the north shore of the Ohio it's certainly not an expansive park but it provided me the opportunity to lace up my boots on my short weekend in the area.

The Falls of the Ohio were a place of some importance long before they became part of a State Park, however.  As the only natural barrier to navigation along the entire 981 mile length of the Ohio, the 26-foot cascading falls were a choke-point to river travel which spurred the growth of both Louisville and Clarksville.  Then, in October 1803, two men...one by the name of Meriwether Lewis and the other named William Clark...met for the first time at the Falls before setting out on their epic journey of discovery across the continent.  It wasn't until three decades later that a canal was built, roughly opposite the river from the present-day park, that allowed commerce to move more freely down the Ohio.

Aside from its long cultural history the park is also of great interest to geologists and paleontologists as the limestone bluffs which create the falls also contain an incredible assortment of fossilized coral and other sea creatures.  When the water levels of the Ohio River are low (usually during the summer) visitors to the park can go out on the exposed limestone shelves and see them up close and personal.

This would be a brief visit, as we still had to get back to North Carolina this day, so we'd only be logging about a mile in the park as well as making a brief stop over at the William Clark Home-site.  Even so it was an enjoyable stretch of the legs in the type of place that I always enjoy going...namely a place largely unheard of that I'll probably never get the opportunity to visit again.  To me, that makes it pretty special indeed...

Trailhead GPS Coordinates:  38.276291, -85.763237

Route Type:  Loop

Difficulty:  EASY  (Petzoldt Rating:  1.80 )

Mileage Hiked: ~1.5miles  

Trailhead Temp: 80'F  

Min Elevation: 390'  

Max Elevation: 450'

Total Elevation Gain:  150'

Trails Used:  Fossil Beds, Woodland Loop


  • Kathy Weemhoff

    on November 25, 2014

    Interesting.... love the focalization and the all those huge Cottonwoods! Also, a bit of history I never knew