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Falls of the Ohio State Park

  • Falls of the Ohio Alerts (1)
    • CLOSURE: The Falls of the Ohio State Park Interpretive Center will close for a major renovation of its HVAC system on May 22. It is expected to reopen near Oct. 16. The park’s outside areas, including its fossil beds, picnic tables, and trail, will remain open. During the closure of the interpretive center, there will be no public access to the restrooms in the building. The closest public restrooms to the Falls of the Ohio State Park are in Ashland Park, one-half mile east on Riverside Drive. Regular programming will continue throughout the building closure. This summer, there will be special Cultural Pass Program hikes every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. Check the park’s Facebook page, website, or for updates.
Falls of the Ohio
201 W. Riverside Drive
Clarksville, IN 47129

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    Located on the banks of the Ohio River at 201 West Riverside Drive, Clarksville, Indiana, is Falls of the Ohio State Park. The 390-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 featuring new interactive, immersive exhibits.

    While fossil collecting is prohibited on the fossil beds and river bank, the park staff encourages visitors to explore and discover the many different types of fossils that can be found on the ancient sea bottom. Collecting piles (with rock and fossils from quarries) are the only place where rocks may be removed at the Falls of the Ohio. They are located by the parking lot behind the interpretive center.

    The interpretive center is open Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. The park grounds are open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fishing, hiking, fossil viewing, bird watching and picnicking are among the most popular activities. Admission is $9 age 12 & up; $7 age 5 to 11; under 5 is free. Parking is $2. The Annual Entrance Pass covers parking, not Interpretive Center admission.

    August through October provides the best accessibility to the 220 acres of fossil beds, as the river is at its lowest level during this period.

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    • 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.
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