Photo of a Northern Parula taken by John Valesquez.
Bordered on the west by the Wabash River, Ouabache Trails Park is a 254-acre county park comprised mainly of wooded, rolling hills. With a low elevation of 416 feet and a high elevation of 528 feet, the park contains an interesting juxtaposition of steeply rolling hills and low open fields. Because these lower areas lay in a flood plain they have remained largely undeveloped to date.
The park has approximately four miles of moderate trails that are well marked throughout. These trails course over hills and around creeks as they meander through the park, allowing birders very good coverage of the area. The large picnic and playground areas may be crowded, especially on weekends in the warmer months. The park also has camping facilities with a shower house. Obtain a park map from the Nature Center located at the top of the hill on the first road to the right as you enter the park.
The best places to bird are the River Fishing Trail (if not flooded due to high water on the Wabash River), especially the area at the Archery Range, along the fence by the railroad track at the north end the large open area, the Upper Shelter House area near the Nature Center, and the road going up to the Camping Area .
Typical Time to Bird Site: 45 Minutes, but during migration you may want to linger much longer.
Regularly occurring raptors include Barred Owls and Red-tailed, Cooper’s, and Red-shouldered Hawks. Many warblers, vireos, thrushes, and other passerines occur during migration–some staying to nest in the summer. A few migrant shorebirds show up along the river’s edge if the water is not too high.
Barred Owls are year-round residents at Ouabache Trails, as are Pileated and Red-headed Woodpeckers. Northern Parulas nest in the park and are most easily found mid-April through May but can be found through October. Nesting Yellow-throated Warblers also arrive at Ouabache Trails around mid-April but typically leave by mid-September. Kentucky Warblers can be found late April through September. Wild Turkeys are becoming more common than in the past.
GENERAL SITE INFORMATION
Knox County Parks and Recreation
Dawn to dusk year-round.
Pit toilets are located near the Upper and Lower Shelter Houses. Indoor facilities can be found at the Nature Center.
Forty-four campsites consisting of both tent camping and RV sites with electricity are available in the park. Five cabins are also available for rental. Hotel / motel accommodations can be found throughout greater Vincennes.
The park is quite hilly, thereby making the trails at least “moderate” in difficulty.
The best time is to visit Ouabache Trails Park is between early April and mid-May when migrant passerines are heading north. Fall migration can also be quite rewarding. During the summer, weekends tend to very crowded beyond the early morning hours.
Knox County, Indiana
DeLorme Page 55, Grids A-9 & A-10
GPS: 38º 43′ 26.16″ N
87º 30′ 30″ W
Seng, Phil T., and David J. Case. Indiana Wildlife Viewing Guide. M. Helena, MT: Falcon Press, 1992.
Ouabache Trails Park website
Author: Gary & Lisa Bowman
Editors: Darel Heitkamp and Dick Patterson
Photo: John Valesquez
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Indiana Audubon Society's mission is to stimulate interest in birds and their protection; to serve the needs of youth, civic, church, schools and other groups by providing information concerning birds; and to educate the public concerning the necessity for conserving and preserving Indiana's natural heritage, its unique flora and fauna.