Note: This message is displayed if (1) your browser is not standards-compliant or (2) you have you disabled CSS. Read our Policies for more information.
Falls of the Ohio Events
Located on the banks of the Ohio River at 201 West Riverside Drive, Clarksville, Indiana (I-65 exit 0), is the Falls of the Ohio State Park. The 386-million-year-old fossil beds are among the largest exposed Devonian fossil beds in the world. The park features a spectacular interpretive center overlooking the fossil beds that is currently closed for installation of completely new exhibits. The center will reopen in early January 2016.
While the interpretive center is closed, the rest of the property is open. Fishing, hiking, fossil viewing, bird watching and picnicking are among the most common activities.
While fossil collecting is prohibited, the park staff encourages visitors to explore and discover the many different types of fossils that can be found on the ancient sea bottom.
The months of August thru October provide the best accessibility to the 220 acres of fossil beds, as the river is at its lowest level during this period. Please call for times, prices and group information.
FALLS AREA FACTS
• More than 600 species of fossils have been described at the Falls, two-thirds of which have been “type specimens,” which are fossils described for the first time. More than 250 species of corals have been identified.
• In 1778, George Rogers Clark established the first permanent English-speaking settlement in the Northwest Territory on Corn Island. Later he lived on the shore and founded Clarksville. His homesite, below the Falls, is now part of the state park, though his cabin no longer exists.
• In 1806 Aaron Burr trained troops in Jeffersonville and built ships at Silver Creek for a possible invasion of Mexico.
• William Clark, younger brother of George Rogers Clark, set out from here with Meriwether Lewis to explore the territory of the Louisiana Purchase.
• “The rumbling sound of the waters as they tumble over the rock-paved rapids, is at all times soothing to the ear.” —John James Audubon. Audubon made more than 200 sketches of 14 species of birds while living in the Falls area.
• Over 270 species of birds have been recorded at the Falls.
• Mark Twain and Walt Whitman both wrote about the Falls area.
• The primitive paddlefish is but one of the 125 species of fish found at the Falls.
• Hard limestone layers presented an obstacle to navigation for early explorers and settlers. This was the only place between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, (where the Ohio River starts) and New Orleans, Louisana, where boats had dangerous rapids or a low water barricade of rock.