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Once a largely undeveloped portion of the huge (15,000-acre) Indiana Army Ammunition plant, Charlestown State Park is located in southern Indiana. The park is easily accessible, located 8 miles east of I-65, on State Road 62. With scenic vistas of the Fourteenmile Creek valley and the Ohio River, with elevation changes of over 200 feet, Charlestown has much to offer the visitor with its rugged hills and deep ravines. While hiking the rugged terrain you will see Devonian fossil outcrops and areas of karst sinkhole topography. Bird watchers will enjoy the 72 species of birds, including bluebirds, black vultures and an occasional bald eagle.
Charlestown is one of two state parks offering full hookup campsites.
Camping - See campground maps under MAPS tab
DESCRIPTION OF HIKING TRAILS
Note: For trail locations, view the property map under the MAPS tab.
1. RUGGED (2.4 miles)—Begins at the Trail 1 parking lot and follows an existing gravel road a short distance before turning to the left and slowly descending into the Fourteenmile Creek valley. It then meanders through dense floodplain forest before climbing up the valley wall to wind along rock outcrops and abutments. A lower portion of the trail offers scenic views of Fourteenmile Creek before climbing again as it returns to the parking lot. Spring wildflowers along portions of this trail will treat the hiker to stunning displays. Wildlife, songbirds, and birds of prey may be seen along this trail.
2. MODERATE (1.4 miles)—Begins in the picnic area and follows several stream ravines as it circles back to return to the picnic area. The middle section of this trail runs along hillsides heavily forested with mixed deciduous hardwoods, bridges several small ravines, and offers scenic views of several small cascading falls and rock-bottom streams.
3. RUGGED (2.1 miles)—The trail begins with a very steep road grade that once led to a footbridgeover Fourteenmile Creek. The bridge provided access to Rose Island, a 1920s amusement park. The Rose Island facilities were damaged beyond repair by the 1937 flood, and the bridge was removed once the Army bought the land in the 1940s. Good areas for stream-bank fishing can be reached by following the gravel portion of Trail 3 to Fourteenmile Creek. The middle section of this trail is very scenic with views of Fourteenmile Creek, rock cliffs high above the trail, abundant spring wildflowers, and mixed deciduous forests.
4. Rugged (2.9 miles)—Trail 4 begins at same parking lot as Trail 3. Beginning on gently rolling land, this trail soon begins to descend into mixed hardwood forests as it follows tributaries of Fourteenmile Creek. At about the halfway point, hikers will see commanding views of Fourteenmile Creek from a bluff more than 100 feet above the water. High quality woodlands and striking wildflower displays are found on this trail.
5. MODERATE (1.2 miles)—Conveniently located in the campground near site 17, this trail is easily accessed. Descending a wooded ravine, the trail ultimately comes to a platform overlooking Fourteenmile Creek. Winding back up the hillside, the trail ends where it started, so it’s a short walk back to your campsite. Non-campers can enjoy this trail by parking in the overflow lot and hiking the .3-mile leg to the main loop.
6. RUGGED (2.3 miles)—This scenic trail starts across the road from the Riverside Overlook and runs along the top of the river bluff. The bluff top offers glimpses of the Ohio River and Twelvemile Island, and overlooks the boat ramp. A bridge crosses a natural waterfall and descends to the old Charlestown Landing site, where locals used to send and receive goods by boat pre-1940s. From there it is a stroll back along the bluff bottom. Enjoy the towering bluffs. During spring, there is an abundance of wildflowers.
PLEASE STAY ON MARKED TRAILS.