Find Your Inspiration

Henderson’s recreation options encourage exploration

“Discover Your Nature.” It’s what Henderson County’s community brand suggests. Although that can mean different things to different people, even in a literal sense, there’s plenty of nature to discover here.

CITY PARKS

Henderson has five parks along the Ohio River – Audubon Mill, Sunset, Red Banks, Atkinson, and Hays – stretching approximately 2.5 miles. There’s the RiverWalk, a paved, lighted walking path stretching between Riverview School and ending at a plaza near Park Field, home of the Henderson Flash collegiate wooden bat team of the Ohio Valley League.

Newman Park by Zach Straw

Along the way, there are two boat ramps, two playgrounds, the riverfront water feature, an open field for playing pitch and catch or flying a kite, barbecue pits and picnic shelters, a disc golf course, and a sand volleyball court.

Audubon Mill regularly hosts outdoor music and other events. Newman Park on Sand Lane has fields for softball and soccer and an accessible playground (as does downtown’s Central Park). The trailhead for the 3.1-mile Canoe Creek Nature Trail is in Newman Park.

Dog parks are located in Community Park and Red Banks Park. East End Park has a spray park, and there’s a new sports complex for youth sports under construction to replace aging facilities. In all, the city maintains 26 public spaces.

PARKS IN THE COUNTY

Freedom Park, adjacent to the farmers market at the Henderson County Fairgrounds, has a playground and hosts summer reading programs.

Sandy Lee Watkins Park, in eastern Henderson County, has a playground, picnic shelters, a paved 3-mile walking trail, four fishing lakes (one with a boat ramp and kayak/canoe launch), and plans for future amenities.

Sloughs Wildlife Management Area is a mecca for hunters, birdwatchers, canoeists and kayakers. It includes wetlands, woodlands, ridges, open fields, and observation platforms to survey it all.

Green River National Wildlife Refuge is in development by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

HIKING AND MORE

Photo by Zach Straw

Audubon State Park, which has overnight camping and six cabins, contains a 6-mile trail system with paths for beginners to advanced hikers. One of the easiest is the Audubon Wetlands Trail that takes you along a boardwalk over a slough and might give you a look at a bald eagle’s nest or a heron rookery. The most difficult is the Eagle Glen Pet Trail. The longest is the Back Country Trail (1.6 miles) that takes you by Wilderness Lake. The park has a nature center, educational programs, bird watching, picnic shelters, a fishing lake, seasonal pedal boat rental, and playgrounds.

GAME ON

If pickleball is your sport, you can play inside at the Henderson County Family YMCA or outside at Community Park, the Bridges of Henderson Golf Course, and Audubon State Park.

Ellis Park Race Course provided

If you prefer golf, Henderson offers The Bridges (18 holes), Henderson Country Club (18 holes), Audubon State Park (nine holes), and Bent Creek (nine holes).

Horse racing takes place at the historic Ellis Park Race Course, which offers free admission into the grandstand for the summer live meet from July to August.

Bowling is available at the newly renovated retro Diamond Lanes Echo.


Did You Know?

>> There are markers in the road at the Second and Third street boat ramps noting the river levels during different historic floods.

>> Henderson Farmers Market is open three days a week (Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday) from the first Saturday of May through the last Saturday in October.

>> Three historic truss bridges in Sandy Lee Watkins Park on the walking trail were “rescued and repurposed” after roads in other communities were rerouted and new bridges built.

>> The Brain Injury Adventure Camp provides outdoor education and activities for all ages and abilities and activities including low-ropes and highropes courses, team building challenges, zip-lining, and more.

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Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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