By Jeremy Patton
Charlestown State Park is located in Clark County, Indiana. It resides about 15 miles northeast of Louisville on the bluffs of the Ohio River
Address: Charlestown State Park, 12500 State Road 62, Charlestown, IN 47111
From State Road 62, enter the park and pay the entrance fee. Drive past the gatehouse, turn right and follow the signs to Trail #6.
Trail #6 begins across the parking lot from Riverside Overlook, which consists of two developed platforms. Plenty of parking is available.
I hiked Trail #6 during my first visit on 5/21/17. I selected it because the park literature mentioned a waterfall. In that regard, I was not disappointed.
The trail entered the woods and ascended the bluffs above the Ohio River. There were several unofficial overlooks along the way, but they were obscured by the spring foliage.
The trail meandered through a karst area; I noticed several limestone formations and sink holes. I would not be surprised if caves exist nearby.
A footbridge crossed the crest of Trail #6 Falls. I took the liberty of naming it because, as far as I knew, the stream was anonymous. It cascaded and dropped over several ledges, the tallest residing beneath the bridge.
I climbed down the slick, limestone rockface to get the best photographs. I chose that route to avoid the eroded, muddy paths worn on the hillside by less considerate hikers. Descending was unsafe and I do not recommend it.
I picked up several bottles from the stream and packed them out. Overall, the place was clean considering the regular traffic that it received.
The trail winded down the bluff and followed the riverbank back to the parking lot. Several earthworks and stone structures resided in the vicinity, remnants of the past. A side-path led to the parking lot of Charlestown Landing, where I visited the boat ramp and enjoyed an up-close view of the Ohio.
The 2.3-mile loop was moderately difficult. Its attractions included the Ohio River, waterfall, karst topography and bluffs. The park felt like something between a nature preserve on reclaimed land (which it was) and a manicured city park.
The trail was well-maintained, as it should be for the $9 entrance fee charged for out-of-town visitors (it was $7 for Indiana residents). This particular park was nice, but unimpressive and unworthy of such a fee.
It was discouraging because the government’s job is to protect and maintain public land, not charge the public to visit it. The government taxes us enough already. Stop misusing our tax dollars and do away with unnecessary fees.