Located in Clarksville, Indiana, on the banks of the breathtaking Ohio River, the Falls of the Ohio State Park aims to connect visitors to today’s environment by exploring the ancient past through the study of the environment. Visitors can enjoy the history of “The Falls” by exploring the interpretive center overlooking ancient fossil beds or by visiting the exhibit gallery and the discovery center.
Originally a series of flowing rapids, The Falls was a hazardous 26-foot drop covering more than 2.5 miles of river. Currently, most of The Falls is now behind the McAlpine Dam, however, the 390-million-year-old fossil beds, one of the largest in the world, remain naturally exposed.
Upcoming Special Events:
Fishing Weekend: On June 3, 2017 from 10:00am until 4:00pm, visitors can try the fishing for free! Before investing in fishing gear, visitors of all ages can learn the basics and see if they enjoy the sport.
Ohio River Sweep: On June 17, 2017 from 8:30am until 11:30am, Clark County will host a river trash removal program. Those in attendance will receive a free t-shirt and gain volunteer credit. The organizers ask that you bring your family and friends because there is plenty of trash to pick up.
Southern Indiana Butterfly Festival: On July 22, 2017 from 10:00am until 4:00pm, the Charlestown State Park will open its doors to display its extensive collection of butterfly species. A large variety of wildflowers and butterflies spanning a 3-mile stretch of roadside ensures that all visitors can expect a fantastic view. There will be live music and there are park naturalists on hand to help visitors identify different insects and flowers.
4th Annual Falls Fossil Symposium: On August 12, 2017 from 9:00am until 5:00pm and August 13, 2017 from 8:30am until 3:00pm, fossil collectors and enthusiasts, amateur paleontologists and paleo students can learn from the experts at the 4th Annual Falls Fossil Symposium. Speakers at this event will include Dr. Carlton Brett, Dr. Kate Bulinski, John Catalani, Chris Cozart, and Alan Goldstein.
Digging the Past!: On September 9, 2017 from 10:00am until 4:00pm, visitors of all ages will enjoy a celebration of archaeology and fossils complete with fun activities and educational opportunities. This day-long festival will have food for sale and even an earthquake experience!
Charlestown Under the Stars: On September 23, 2017 from 7:00pm until 10:00pm, the local Astronomical Society will co-host an event on the wonders of stargazing. Visitors can learn all about telescopes, constellations, planets, and the moon.
13th Annual Rocks the Rocks: On September 30, 2017 from 6:00pm to 10:00pm, this year’s Rock the Rocks fundraiser will be held. Attendees will enjoy a catered dinner, a bourbon tasting, handcrafted beers, a wine tasting, live music, live and silent auctions, and a guided walk through the fossil beds.
Family Nature Club: One Sunday of every month, visitors can attend a family-friendly nature club. Starting at 2:00pm, visitors of all ages will enjoy guided hikes, scavenger hunts, and all kinds of outdoor educational activities.
Public Hikes: Hikes on the Devonian fossil beds, led by local naturalists, are offered on weekends starting on Memorial Day and running through Labor Day. Visitors will learn about the unique fossil beds as well as the history and the wildlife surrounding the area. If visitors cannot make one of these pre-scheduled hikes, special guided hikes can be scheduled or visitors can stroll through the fossils themselves and attempt to find a roving naturalist.
Hikes on the outer fossil beds are one of the most amazing excursions a visitor can experience. Guides will lead visitors through the outer rugged fossil beds in their purest form as they learn about geology, wildlife, history, river dynamics, and engineering. These tours can only happen in the late summer and fall, when the upper gates of the McAlpine Dam are closed. These hikes have minimal shade, rocky terrain, and take about 3.5 hours.
Canoe Hikes: Naturalist Jeremy Beavin will take visitors on a unique paddle tour of the Falls via canoe and kayaks. Visitors will enjoy a refreshing boat trip through the conservation area and take a short hiking break through the outer fossil beds to see some rare fossils. These trips can only be scheduled in the late summer or early fall.
Falls of the Ohio State Park, 201 West Riverside Dr., Clarksville, IN 47129, Phone: 812-280-9970