Jasper Riverwalk is a 2.1 mile asphalt pathway that follows the Patoka River, situated just south of downtown Jasper. Jasper is located in the center of Dubois County in southwest Indiana and is the county seat. Jasper is known for its rich German heritage and at one time was also known as the wood capital of the world because it was home to many furniture and cabinet companies.
The Riverwalk was completed in July of 2000 and is maintained by the City of Jasper. The south end of the trail starts on South Clay Street at Ruxer Golf Course. Parking is available for those wanting to walk, jog or bike on the trail, which is also wheel chair accessible. The Riverwalk can be accessed via a long foot bridge which extends across the river and connects to the paved trail. The river runs along one side of the trail and open fields are on the other side. The trail goes under Newton Street and proceeds along the rear parking lot of the movie theater. There is access to the trail from both the rear and front parking areas.
The trail passes by the cemetery and on to Cemetery Drive. A long L Shaped foot bridge which crosses to the north bank of the river, provides a unique view of the city, the river, and the dam that flows under 3rd Avenue. Before crossing the foot bridge, a stop at the Jasper City Mill is well worth the time. It is located just beyond the bridge’s approach deck on the south bank.
The Jasper City Mill was originally built in 1817. It was replaced with a new mill in 1865 and torn down in 1964 due to flood damage. The mill was again re-built and completed in 2009. The new mill, still keeping to its historic charm, has become a tourist destination for the “Old Jasper” district. Guests can tour the mill; view displays from the past, and watch as the giant 25 foot water wheel powers the grindstones to make cornmeal. One can also pick up a few souvenirs while browsing the gift shop.
On the other side of the foot bridge, the trail continues under 3rd. Avenue where more parking is available. This is also the location of the main trailhead. The Riverwalk passes by the Dave Buehler Plaza and Lions Club Park. Dave Buehler is the man behind the Riverwalk idea. The Buehler Plaza offers four shelters, horseshoe pits, picnic areas and restrooms. To add to its river-side appeal, a gazebo sits in the center of the plaza, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy their surroundings. The Lions Club Park is a handicap accessible playground.
The Riverwalk continues along the river through a shady, wooded area towards the railroad tracks. After crossing another small foot bridge, the trail continues by a few businesses then into another natural wooded area. It meanders along the river giving hikers and bird watchers an opportunity to discover nature, until it reaches 15th Street. There is another parking area at the end of the trail. Other features of the trail include plenty of seating along the river and several access points. There are no traffic worries as the Riverwalk does not cross any roads. The north half of the Riverwalk offers trail spurs which lead to the edge of the river’s south bank.
Looking for more history or adventure? The Spirit of Jasper, located at 201 Mill Street, is within walking distance of the Jasper Riverwalk. Enjoy a train ride in a luxurious vintage passenger car. The Spirit of Jasper offers excursions to French Lick, Ride and Dine, and Strassenfest train rides. They also offer group and charter excursions as well as special excursions. For more information about this and other attractions in Jasper, visit www.spiritofjasper.com, www.jasperin.org, or www.duboiscounty.org