Friday, April 9, 2010

Louisville Fossil Bed Hikes 2010

 Falls of the Ohio State Park
Fossil Bed Hike - September 2009
Photos courtesy of Michael Popp

The Falls of the Ohio State Park of Clarksville, Indiana (on the state line with Louisville, Kentucky) has posted their schedule for 2010 outer fossil bed hikes.  These hikes take place on the exposed river bed later in the year when the Army Corp of Engineers lower the spillway doors cutting the flow of the Ohio River.  

Below is information taken from the Falls of the Ohio website.  The tours are led by 2008 Volunteer of the Year Paul Olliges who has been the tour guide for years.  He reminded me in a e-mail that the outer bed hikes are only available from late August to mid-October if river conditions allow.  Since Paul has retired, his flexible schedule allows week day tours during this time, contact the state park office at (812) 280-9970 or

2011 Outer Fossil Bed Hikes
August 20, 9:30 a.m.
September 10, 9:30 a.m.
September 17, 9:30 a.m. (part of Falls Fossil Festival weekend)
September 18, 9:30 a.m. (part of Falls Fossil Festival weekend)
September 28, 12:30 p.m.
October 1, 9:30 a.m.
October 8, 9:30 a.m.
On the hike large colonies of corals will
be encountered like this Silurian Period
Halysites maybe a meter across in size

The website describes the hike as 3 to 3 1/2 hour hike this is moderate to strenuous. I was on this hike last year and you will get a workout.  I would suggest bring an extra pair of shoes and socks to change into because you will get wet crossing the spillway.  Also bring a walking stick or cane because the spillway is mossy in place thus slick.



Below is the rest of the text from the Falls of the Ohio web site that describes the hikes.  The website also contains information about canoe tours.

Meet on the Interpretive Center deck. If you have difficulty walking on rocks, uneven ground, rough terrain, this hike isn't for you. We will walk several minutes in water about six inches to as much as three feet deep with little to moderate current. Guide will talk about the history, flora & fauna, the river and the engineering behind the McAlpine dam and locks. Expect to see thousands of fossils! Some are the best ones to be seen on the fossil beds.

Bring water to drink, a hat, good hiking shoes - no sandals or flip-flops! Old athletic shoes will work. A walking stick is helpful. If you don't have one, you can find one among the driftwood. This hike is a terrific photo-op. Call the Park office (812-280-9970) the day before to verify the hike is on, because the hike is dependent on river conditions. If the one gate on the dam is open even a few inches, we can't go.

 Mystery photo of Ohio River Bed
Go on the tour and the guide will explain
what this is from Louisville's history