Find your next outdoor adventure in Harrison County, Indiana

Meet a donkey at the pioneer farmstead at O’Bannon Woods State Park.

Just west of Louisville, Ky., sits Harrison County, a Southern Indiana county home to charming towns full of state history, delicious dining options and friendly people. It’s also an ideal place for your next outdoor adventure with opportunities for ziplining, caving, mountain biking, horseback riding, canoeing and camping.

Lush forests, meandering creeks and rivers and expansive caverns make Harrison County a destination for natural experiences. Let’s explore what all you can do in southeastern Indiana.

Venture into Indiana Caverns by boat.

Go underground

Have you ever ridden in a boat – underground? You can at Indiana Caverns. Part of the Binkley Cave system, Indiana Caverns is ranked as the seventh longest cave in the United States and is partially submerged with groundwater. An 80-minute cave tour takes you past a waterfall, Ice Age bones discovered in the cave and fascinating formations. The tour also includes a boat ride through narrow passages. Fun fact: One of the cavern’s developers is Eagle Scout and National Speleological Society fellow Gary Roberson.

You can also find underground wonders at Wyandotte Cave in O’Bannon Woods State Park.

Enjoy the wide variety of formations at Squire Boone Caverns. Inside are rimstone dams, soda straws, delicate helictites, cave coral and sheets of flowstone. On the surface, you can tour the pioneer village, where you can check out soap-making, candle-dipping, gemstone-mining and a candy factory.

Southern Indiana is also home to Marengo Cave, a beautiful show cave with a large trunk passage and massive formations. The cave staff caters to Scout groups with multiple tours. There’s also Bluespring Caverns.

The bunkhouses at O’Bannon Woods State Park include restrooms and a commercial kitchen. They’re ideal for groups and Scouts.

Grab your tent

O’Bannon Woods State Park not only features a cave, but also 2,400 acres where you can hike, bike or ride horses along 18 miles of day-use trails or 25 miles of adventure trails with overnight shelters along the way. The park offers more than 200 campsites along with a family aquatic center and nature center, which features living history demonstrations and a restored 1850s hay press. The park also has bunkhouses with restrooms and a commerical kitchen, perfect for group camping. Additionally, you can step back in time at the nearby Corydon Capitol State Historic Site, the first state capitol building, built entirely of limestone.

Look to the skies at South Harrison Park, a 220-acre wooded park that has trails, campsites and an observatory. Staff hosts a monthly evening viewing at the observatory where you can view the moon, stars and planets.

Buffalo Trace Park also features campsites as well as places to go boating, swimming, biking and playing disc golf. Enjoy the park’s petting zoo, which houses goats, ducks, fallow deer, rabbits, pot-bellied pigs and ponies.

You can explore the Blue River thanks to Cave Country Canoes.

Let’s play

Many of these sites feature other fun attractions. At Squire Boone Caverns, you can zip through the treetops on the longest zipline in the region. The zipline tours there take you from ridge to ridge over the Buck Creek Valley.

Indiana Caverns includes high-flying rides, like the thrilling “Bat Chaser” zipline. The caverns also feature escape rooms, a place to feed pygmy goats and a gemstone-mining sluice.

Find an aquatic adventure by renting boats through Cave Country Canoes, which can help you navigate the Blue River. Old Mill Canoe Rental can also provide canoes and kayaks for a Blue River excursion.

Follow the SAFE checklist and age-appropriate activity guide when planning and taking part in any activities with your unit. Check for specific rules on certain activities in the Guide to Safe Scouting or corresponding safety guides.

And if you’re in town during the summer, be sure to check out the Popcorn Festival in downtown Corydon. It’s a big celebration with entertainment, fireworks and plenty of popcorn.

The Popcorn Festival is a fun time for the whole family.

About Michael Freeman 445 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.