Ohio River Scenic Byway Tours On The Ohio Border: Shawnee Lookout to East Liverpool

Ohio River Islands

Lesage Island in Southeast Ohio.
Lesage Island in Southeast Ohio. | Source

The Big River Becomes a National Scenic Byway

In 1996, the Ohio River Scenic Byway became one of the 14 National Scenic Byways first chosen in the United States. This honor gives the river, translated as Big River from the local Native American name, a distinction not unlike that of being one of the 13 Original Colonies.

The Ohio River is commemorated in the State Song, Beautiful Ohio, and passes through 14 different counties between Indiana and Pennsylvania. In West Virginia and Kentucky, it has sometimes been called Big Sandy River. The place farthest to the south in the state is a city called South Point, which sits along the river and enjoys its own festival to celebrate its location.

Tugboat on the Ohio River
Tugboat on the Ohio River | Source

Ohio Means "Big River"

Indigenous "Ohio" Means Big River

The Iroquois Confederacy, the oldest representative Democracy in the world, named our river Ohio or Big River

The name was given a twist by the wonderful French traders to become The Beautiful - La Belle Riviere - as if to say there is only one beautiful river and none other like it.

Ah, the delightful French!

I had a Mohawk-French ancestor at the Battle of Fort Pitt, who translated for the British and Natives. It was always Big River to him.

The Ohio River Scenic Byway

Ohio River Scenic Byway: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio
Ohio River Scenic Byway: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio | Source

The Ohio River From East to West

Our Big River flows from northeast to southwest toward the Mississippi River, their waters mixing and flowing into the Gulf of Mexico at the wonderful city of New Orleans, where Fats Domino still lives, despite flooding and anything else that came his way.

The river is the natural and official boundary between Ohio and West Virginia and Ohio and Kentucky. Flowing westward, the river forms the southern boundary of Indiana and Illinois, each state having numerous points of interest along the highways nearby, with additional places to see on islands in the river.

Moving eastward, the portion of this famous waterway in our state is separated into Western, Central, and Eastern segments of the Upper Ohio River. You might take a week or two to visit our cities and monuments across 14 counties and take pictures for an online scrapbook to share with social media friends and family.

When you visit, you can plan on using your automobile or half a dozen other modes of movement - see it all by car, kayak, paddleboat, train, bicycle or Segway.

East and West Terminuses and the City that is the Southernmost Point of the Big River in Ohio

show route and directions
A markerShawnee Lookout -
Shawnee Lookout, North Bend, OH 45052, USA
[get directions]

B markerSouth Point OH -
South Point, OH, USA
[get directions]

City farthest South in Ohio.

C markerEast Liverpool -
East Liverpool, OH, USA
[get directions]

Important Cities to See on the River

  • North Bend OH - Stop by Lawrenceburg, Indiana first and and see the Sachem Ghost Ship that Thomas Edison once used and proceed to Shawnee Lookout in North Bend abs explore Native American grounds.
  • Utopia - A ghost town.
  • Cincinnati OH - Covington KY: Walk across the Purple People Bridge or on dedicated special event days, climb and walk over the top of it. Cincinnati is full of enough sights and sightseeing places that you can spend several days here.
  • Point Pleasant OH - Hiram Ulysses Grant (US President Ulysses S. Grant) was born here in April 1822 and picked up the middle name Simpson by mistake made in records later on. His schoolhouse is still standing in Point Pleasant.
  • Portsmouth OH - Shawnee University and Main Street Portsmouth keep visitors engaged.
  • South Point OH - The very bottom of Ohio.
  • Marietta OH - Visit Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge that extend from here to West Virginia. Marietta itself is another riverboat center and supports the the Ohio River Museum. In its three buildings, the museum highlights the origins and natural history of the Big river, the history of the steamboat, exhibits about boat building, the 40+ varieties of mussels in the Ohio River system, and equipment from the steamboat era. Outside, visitors often enjoy a guided tour of the W. P. Snyder Jr., which is the last complete steam-powered pool-type stern-wheeler that America has.
  • Hannibal Locks and Dam - Hannibal Locks and Dam near Hannibal, Ohio and East Liverpool.
  • Bellaire OH - Famous landmarks here have appears in major films. The Bellaire Toll Bridge was in The Silence of the Lambs. The curved railroad viaduct over the Ohio River was in Unstoppable. A dozen glass companies operated here and the Imperial Glass Museum is interesting to visit.
  • East Liverpool - This is the place where the notorious Pretty Boy Floyd died.

The river goes on to border Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky to Cairo IL and the Mississippi River. The entire Ohio is used by business and the public.

Lawrenceburg IN and Shawnee Lookout, North Bend OH

show route and directions
A markerShawnee Lookout -
Shawnee Lookout, North Bend, OH 45052, USA
[get directions]

B markerLawrenceburg IN -
Lawrenceburg, IN, USA
[get directions]

Thomas Edison's Ghost Ship

The ghost ship was assigned to Thomas Edison by the US Department of the Navy. He used it to research many of his inventions.

Thomas Edison, Ships and Parks

The Sachem Ghost Ship

NavSource Online tells us that the Sachem is a Coastal Patrol Yacht from 1902, first named Celt, renamed Sachem. The US Navy took the ship in 1917 near the end of WWI. After the war, it changed hands several times and became a fishing boat.The US Navy bought it again for WWII, renamed the Phenakite.

After the world wear, the ship changed hands several times, renamed Sachem and then Sightseer. The ship was found in a tributary of the the Ohio River near Lawrenceburg, Indiana and can be seen under the water, like the sunken ships in Bay City, Michigan.

The ghost ship was assigned to Thomas Edison by the US Department of the Navy. He used it to research many of his inventions. A bust of Thomas Edison stands at the front entrance of the United State Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. Find the ghost ship near:

  • Shawnee Lookout State Park and Preserve Areas and Shawnee Lookout Archeological District: 2008 Lawrenceberg Rd. North Bend, OH 45052

A number of Native American artifacts have been discovered here by crews from the University of Cincinnati who have been digging around the native earthworks.

A wildlife refuge is also on site at Ulmansiek Wildlife Sanctuary. A golf course and several other venues are within this area and winter sports are popular.

Shawnee Lookout State Park and Preserve Areas and Shawnee Lookout Archaeological District

A marker2008 Lawrenceberg Rd. North Bend, OH 45052 -
2008 Lawrenceburg Rd, North Bend, OH 45052, USA
[get directions]

Thomas Edison's Floating Laboratory: Sachem "Ghost Ship" near Lawrenceburg

East of Cincinnati is Utopia, a ghost town founded by spiritualists and anarchists

Source

Purple People Bridge Climb

Cincinnati and Ohio River Boat Tours

American Cruise Lines. 1.800.460.4518

  • St. Louis to Cincinnati.
  • Cruise from either end of the circuit at St. Louis MO or Cincinnati OH, with stops at the River Heritage Museum in Paducah KY, Cave-in-Rock State Park, and Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY.

American Queen Steamboat Company. 1-888-749-5280

  • Five Days - Cincinnati Round Trip, covering parts of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. The Six-Day Cruise includes West Virginia.
  • Nine Days - Cincinnati to St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Several other cruises are available.

BB Riverboats. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, KY 41071. 1-800-261-8586 @BBRiverboats

  • Over 30 years in business, this company is located just across the river from Cincinnati. Visit the Newport Aquarium, if you stop here.
  • Thanksgiving Day dinner cruises include entertainment, but many people like the daytime lunch and evening dinner cruises in the spring and summer months. Another special cruise happens on Labor Day.
  • Daytime cruises include a banjo player and the option to skip lunch at a cost savings. Snacks are available on the top deck.
  • Special cruises: Fiesta Friday Dinner Cruise - DJ and dancing after dinner. Dixieland Jazz Brunch and Dinner, Captain's Lunch and Dinner, Stonebrook Winery Sunset Cruise, Admiral's Dinner,Tropical Dinner, Christian Moerlein Beer & BBQ Cruise.
  • At night, see the fireworks at the end of the game at the Reds' Riverfront Stadium. Also see Paul Brown Stadium and Nippert Stadium (at nearby University of Cincinnati)

Celebration Riverboats. 848 Elm St. Ludlow KY. 1-877-651-6752

  • Cruises with food service and alcohol available. Different cuisines on different boats. Brunch, lunch, dinner. Holiday Meals.
  • Moonlight Cruises.
  • Mystery Cruises.
  • Charters are offered.

Queen City Riverboats.303 Dodd Road, Dayton KY 41074. 1-859-292-8687

  • Charters, special event cruises, shuttle cruises to Cincinnati events.
  • Picnic Lunch Cruises - Discounts for Senior Citizens. 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM.
  • Public Dinner Cruises: 6:60 - 9:00 PM.

The Steamer Belle of Louisville. 401 West River Road Louisville KY. 1-866-832-0011.

  • Built in the early 1800s, when Cincinnati became the first major water port leading to the Western Frontier.
  • Dinner and lunch cruises include entertainment as well as historical narration of the voyage. A dance floor is included.
  • Tours, charters, field trips.

Louisville Segway

Paddleboat Tours - BB Riverboats

Source

South Point Village OH; Kenova, West Virginia

show route and directions
A markerSouth Point Village, Ohio -
South Point, OH, USA
[get directions]

B markerKenova, West Virginia -
Kenova, WV, USA
[get directions]

The name of this town indicates that this is where three states join: Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia.

Ohio Riverboat Song

Marietta, Another Riverboat Capital

  • Campus Martius Museum. 601 2nd Street, Marietta, OH 45750. 1-740-373-3750 Update attraction detail

Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge - Near Marietta Ohio and Williamstown WV

show route and directions
A markerOhio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge -
Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge, 3982 Waverly Road, Williamstown, WV 26187, USA
[get directions]

B markerOhio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge -
Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge, 3982 Waverly Road, Williamstown, WV 26187, USA
[get directions]

Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge - Upper Ohio River

A Wildlife Refuge in the River.

Our state's Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge is a remarkable place opened in 1990 for preserving the wildlife and native plants in the local floodplain. It has twenty-two islands gathered in the middle of the river, along with four area of mainland, all extending around 360 miles through the waterway.The underwater world is as fascinating that that above ground, including parts of the states of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.

Our national refuge islands are being reforested after decades of local farming, oil and gas extraction (which is increasing the surrounding portions of Southeastern Ohio), and some mining activities.

This is a great place on the river for bird watching! Migratory birds and some underwater life are highlighted to visitors by literature about the refuge through the Ohio Department Of Natural Resources.

Hannibal Locks and Dam

show route and directions
A markerHannibal Oh -
Hannibal, OH, USA
[get directions]

B markerHannibal Locks and Dam -
Hannibal Locks and Dam, 3, WV 26155, USA
[get directions]

The Unstoppable B & O Bridge in Bellaire OH and Benwood WV

Source

East Liverpool, Ohio

Parks to Visit

  • Beaver Creek State Park.2021 Echo Dell Road; East Liverpool OH 43920. 1-330-385-3091
  • Thompson Park. 2205 Thompson Park Road: East Liverpool OH 43920. 1-330-385-1891

Places of Interest

  • East Liverpool Firefighting Museum. St. Clair & Broadway; East Liverpool OH. 1-330-385-1117

Source

Automobile Tours Along the Ohio River

Traveling by car, take the Ohio River Scenic Byway along the river's edge.Start at US 50 at the Indiana border, follow US 52, State Route 7, State Route 124, and State Route 39 along the Ohio side of the river all the way to East Liverpool at the Pennsylvania border.

The Ohio River Scenic Byway also runs through Indiana and Illinois as a National Scenic Byway.

Accommodations along the river route include motels, B&Bs, camping sites, and some RV parks

Amtrak Routes Along the River

The Cardinal Route of Amtrak is the only train servicing Southern Ohio, extending from Chicago to Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Washington DC, New York City. This line is called the Cardinal, because that bird is the state bird of all six states through which its tracks run.

Along or near the Ohio River bordering Ohio, the Amtrak passenger trains stop here:

  • Connersville IN
  • Cincinnati
  • Maysville KY
  • South Portsmouth
  • Ashland KY
  • Huntington WV


Along the Ohio River Scenic Byway highway routes, travelers can find several places to rent a kayak or launch their own, along with trails for bike riding and hiking.

© 2014 Patty Inglish

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Comments 6 comments

DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Awesome! Such a beautiful hub about a place I did not know much about until now. I have heard about Ohio but you have given me a better insight of the place.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 2 years ago from North America Author

Hi DDE! - I especially like the scenic roads along the Ohio River and Lake Erie. It would be fantastic to take a month and drive across both scenic routes.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

I lived in the midwest for almost twenty years and enjoyed many excursions along the Ohio River. Your highlights of Cincinnati bring back many fond memories. I enjoyed your post. Well done!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 2 years ago from North America Author

@teaches12345 - Thank you for reading and commenting and telling us of your Cincinnati experiences. Some friends of mine moved there a couple of years ago and they love it.


Taranwanderer profile image

Taranwanderer 21 months ago

I've heard about the Shawnee - might have to take a river tour and check it out in person. I'm up in Ohio once every 3 years or so anyway...


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 21 months ago from North America Author

Thanks for reading and posting comments - I hope you like this area of Ohio. Spring is a lovely time to see it.

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