Ohio River Scenic Byway

State: Ohio
Length: 943 miles / 1517.6 km
Time to Allow: Allow 5 days to enjoy this Byway.

Ohio shares the Ohio River Scenic Byway with Indiana and Illinois, following the river for 943 miles. Take a few days or a week to properly enjoy. The trail winds and bends like a roller coaster stopping at many interesting places before merging with the Mississippi River. As the rivers flow through three states, you can expect to learn about history, enjoy quaint towns, and rural landscapes along with history about the Native Americans and their past home.

The byway starts in Liverpool, Ohio, at the farthest east. In town, you can visit Ohio’s Historical Society Museum of Ceramics in the pottery capital of the country. Overlooking the Ohio River sits the Wellsville River Museum with history about the commercial industry, pottery, and the riverbed clay. Move to Steubenville for the 25 impressive Murals painted by different artists with images of life at its finest. Historic Fort Steuben nearby shows civil war history with a small fee to enter.

Continue west toward the Wayne National Forest Covered Bridge Scenic Byway in Matamoras. The river offers several more museums and memorials along with state parks like the Forked Run state park, perfect for a night of camping, fishing, and boating with the option to bring your RV too. Make sure to see the Bob Evans Farm and Homestead Museum or the Rankin House that was part of the Underground Railroad. Before leaving the state, stop at the Birthplace of Ulysses S. Grant in Point Pleasant and the Home of Harriet Beecher Stow, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Cincinnati offers a fantastic place to rest before driving into Indiana. Before leaving town, visit the gorgeous art museum and American Sign Museum along with the Underground Railroad freedom center for a sense of history. Make your way to the Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge near North Vernon. It’s the perfect place for fishing, paddling, hunting, and wildlife. North Vernon has the Muscatatuck County Park with incredible lake scenery and impressive rock structures.

Continue to Louisville at the border of Kentucky and visit the Carnegie Center for Art and History along with the Culbertson Mansion Historic Site. Louisville offers so much activity, including impressive and renowned museums and horse tracks. Inside the Shawnee National Forest is the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area, formed many, many years ago with incredible stone structures and waterfalls. Visit the O’Bannon Woods State Park, too, with options for fishing and canoeing with beautiful high bluffs overlooking the river with options to stay in a tent or RV nearby with horse-friendly campsites.

The byway ends in Illinois with some impressive sights along the river. Start in New Haven at the Hovey Lake Fish and Wildlife Area and stop in at the Labyrinth State Memorial Park. Another necessary trip on this byways is the Cave-in-Rock State Park for an incredible geological wonder with a colorful history that includes river pirates that kids will love. Follow the byway to the end in the town of Cairo with several historical sites, and then pick up on the Great River Road for your next adventure.

More Ohio Byways

You can check out additional Byways in Ohio by clicking on the list of byways below, or by going to the Ohio Byways home section. To find even more of scenic byways in the United States, visit our scenic byways map.