O'Bannon Woods State Park

Indiana Natural Areas: Harrison County

Stream Bed

Stream Bed

O’Bannon Woods, formerly Wyandotte Woods State Recreation Area, is largely surrounded by Harrison-Crawford State Forest. The star hiking attraction is the Adventure Hiking Trail (AHT), a knee-busting 20-mile loop; a few miles are in the park but most of its tread is in the adjacent state forest. I’ve only hiked sections of the AHT, but can report that there are periodic shelters, steep quick-draining stream courses that mean water is often quite scarce, and sporadic trail markings. If you decide to thru-hike the trail, plan on caching water and taking two to three days to complete the loop.

Shorter but nevertheless interesting options abound. One of Indiana’s few African American Civilian Conservation Corps companies built the CCC Ghost Trail in the 1930s. The trail is a bit over a mile long and begins near the entrance to the group camp; it generally parallels a small creek bed. Expect short, stiff climbs and descents and some scrambling, but nothing terribly challenging. Look upstream as you cross the creek for an unusual, if normally dry, waterfall.

The Cliff Dweller Trail begins near the Pioneer Cabin Shelter and shares that trailhead and a portion of its path with the AHT. Follow the orange/red blazes to explore rock formations above a normally dry creek bed, where Native Americans mined rock to make tools. The Ohio River Bluff Trail begins near the Ohio River and explores both the escarpment overlooking the river and the base of the cliff. The Rocky Ridge Trail is a two-mile loop beginning at campsite 35; it winds through typical southern Indiana woods before approaching a scenic ravine with limestone ledges and other rock formations.


Most of the text on these
Indiana Natural Areas pages
is excerpted from my book
Wild Indiana, available from
local bookshops or Amazon.
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