Caesar Creek Lake


Louisville District
Published Jan. 10, 2024
Aerial view of the Dam at Caesar Creek Lake in Waynesville, Ohio.

Aerial view of the Dam at Caesar Creek Lake in Waynesville, Ohio.

Aerial view of the Dam and tailwater at Caesar Creek Lake in Waynesville, Ohio.

4020 N. Clarksville Road
Waynesville, OH 45068-9408
(513) 897-1050

Visitor Center Hours:

Memorial Day through Labor Day: Sun - Sat, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Labor Day to Memorial Day: Sun - Sat 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Please visit our Facebook page by clicking here.

Directions to the Caesar Creek Lake Visitor Center

From Dayton, Ohio: (drive time – approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour)

1.   Take I-75 south to State Route 73 (exit 38)

2.   Turn left onto State Route 73 – follow State Route 73 approximately 1 mile past U.S. 42 (in Waynesville)

3.   Turn right onto Clarksville Road – follow to Visitor Center on left.

From Lebanon, Ohio: (drive time – approximately 30 minutes)

1.   Take U.S. 42 north to State Route 73

2.   Turn right onto State Route 73

3.   Turn right onto Clarksville Road (approximately 1 mile) – follow to Visitor Center on left.

From Columbus, Ohio: (drive time – approximately 1½ hours)

1.   Take I-71 south to State Route 73 (exit 45)

2.   Turn right on State Route 73 – follow for approximately 7½ miles to Clarksville Road

3.   Turn left onto Clarksville Road – follow to Visitor Center on left.

From Cincinnati, Ohio: (drive time – approximately 1 hour)

1.   Take I-71 north to Wilmington Pike (exit 36)

2.   Turn right (going east) onto Wilmington Road

3.   Take a left onto Olive Branch Road – just after the overpass

4.   Turn right onto Jeffery Road – follow to stop sign – approximately 3¼ miles (Jeffery Road becomes Lincoln Road)

5.   Turn right then take an immediate left onto Clarksville Road – follow to Visitor Center on right.

Shelter Rental and Picnicking

Blue skies, warm breeze blowing, and the smell of freshly cut grass – what a great time to have a picnic! If you are looking to get out to Caesar Creek Lake for a small outing or you are planning a family reunion, company picnic, or social get-together, look no further!

How many shelters are available?

Five group picnic shelters may be reserved in the Corps operations area. Current rates are $75 for weekends and federal holidays and $35 for weekdays.

  • Redbud Shelter
  • Holly Shelter
  • Beech Shelter
  • Dogwood Shelter
  • Sycamore Shelter

If a shelter has not been reserved for a particular day, it may be used on a first-come, first-served basis.

How do I reserve a shelter?

To reserve a shelter visit: or call 1-877-444-6777. 

If you would like to reserve a shelter and/or overlook for your wedding or race event, contact the Visitor Center at (513)897-1050 to request a special event permit.

What about individual picnic sites?

In addition to the group picnic shelters, there are many individual picnic sites located at the Visitor Center, Flat Fork Ridge, and Gorge Recreation Areas.

Volunteering and Friends of Caesar Creek Lake

Why Volunteer?              

We volunteer for many reasons. Some like the flexibility volunteering allows, while others want to make a difference or gain new skills/experiences.

Volunteering with the US Army Corps of Engineers is a great opportunity to:

  • Meet people and form new friendships
  • Explore and live in new places
  • Work in beautiful outdoor settings
  • Provide community service
  • Increase your career options
  • Earn college credits with internships
  • Have fun!

What Can You Do?


  • Maintain trails
  • Conduct and develop education programs
  • Assist visitors at the Visitor Center
  • Develop and build displays
  • Maintain facilities

Natural Resource Management:

  • Remove invasive species
  • Plant native vegetation
  • Monitor bluebird trails
  • Remove trash and debris 


  • Write or edit materials for publication
  • Photography
  • Computer/database entry

How to Volunteer

If you are interested in volunteering at Caesar Creek Lake, contact the Visitor Center at (513)897-1050. Volunteers will need to fill out a Volunteer Services Agreement Form. To access this form please reach out the Louisville District Public Affairs office at

Friends of Caesar Creek Lake

Friends of Caesar Creek Lake (FOCC) is a non-profit, independent organization dedicated to preserving our natural resources through educational and historical programs and activities. FOCC also offers excellent volunteer opportunities. Through the generous support of donors and volunteer efforts, FOCC has accomplished much, including:

  • Educational programs, such as Junior Rangers, a Christmas Bird Count, and butterfly count
  • Junior Ranger booklet creation and printing
  • Interpretive topographical trail map
  • Park support in the creation of a playground, fitness trail, new welcome video, and fish of Caesar Creek Lake display
  • Fund raising through festivals, combined federal campaign, and book cart sales 

For more information, please visit their website at: or find them on Facebook at:

Educational Programs at Caesar Creek Lake

Since opening in 1982, Caesar Creek Lake’s Class A Regional Visitor Center has served thousands of local school children. Over 225,000 school children have participated in a program at the Visitor Center since 1996. Most of our program participants come from Warren, Clinton, Greene, and Montgomery counties, but some groups come from as far away as Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Columbus.

Field trips to Caesar Creek Lake are an educational, fun, and memorable experience for all ages. One young student commented at the end of his field trip, “This is the most fun I’ve ever had in my whole life!”  Teacher love our programs too. Our average teacher evaluation score has been 9.25 out of 10 since 1996.

A typical field trip is a whole day with a variety of activities for group leaders to choose. A major draw at Caesar Creek Lake is the world-renown fossil beds. Unearthed during the construction of the dam, the emergency spillway harbors abundant Ordovician-age fossils. Despite its reputation as a world-class fossil collecting area, the emergency spillway is accessible for beginners, and every student can easily find their own fossils. Our fossil beds are unique in that we allow public collecting after a free fossil collecting permit is obtained at the Visitor Center. Children love to travel back in time and explore fossilized remains from the Ordovician Sea. Corals, trilobites, shells, and various marine creatures litter the floor of the emergency spillway and tell the story of a time when a warm, shallow ocean dominated the landscape of Southwest Ohio.

Children and adults love to learn about the natural history of the Caesar Creek Lake area while at the Visitor Center. Nature hikes focusing on local wildlife, habitat types, and Corps of Engineers restoration efforts are popular choices. Students also love participating in a pond study, creek walk, and collecting wildflower seed. Another popular program is our water safety program. With a 2,830-acre lake at the park, water safety cannot be emphasized enough. Thousands of children have received a water safety message and have met our mascot “Bobber the Water Safety Dog”.

To set up a field trip, call the Visitor Center at 515-897-1050. A teacher's packet can be provided through email request to the Louisville District's Public Affair office at

Backpack Program

Take the kids outside and spend some quality time exploring nature! Don’t have the outdoor equipment to do it? No problem…borrow some from the Caesar Creek Lake Visitor Center free of charge!

For more information contact the Corps of Engineers Visitor Center at (513) 897-1050.

Insect Exploration Pack

Insect Backpack includes: Journeys through Journaling; port-a-bug, 3X magnifier; Golden Guide:InsectsEverything BugPeterson Field Guide Color-In Book: Butterflies; dual purpose observation container; and butterfly net.

Bird Exploration Pack

Bird Backpack includes: Journeys through Journaling; student binoculars; Golden Guide: BirdsTake-Along Guide to Birds, Nests, EggsEverything Bird; and Peterson Field Guide Color-In Book: Birds.

Pond Exploration Pack

Pond Backpack includes: Journaling at the Water’s Edge; two-way magnifying viewer, 3X magnifier, Golden Guide: Pond Life, field bag, 2 dip nets, Pondwatchers, and One Small Square Pond. 

Rocks and Fossils Exploration Pack

Fossils Backpack includes: Journeys through Journaling, 3X magnifier, Golden Guide: Rocks and MineralsGeology Rocks, chambered clear storage sort box, and mineral test kit.

Life Jackets

Infant, youth, and adult-sized life jackets can be checked out.

Fossil Collecting at Caesar Creek Lake

Why fossil studying is so great at Caesar Creek Lake:

In the process of building the dam at Caesar Creek Lake, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created an emergency spillway to act as an overflow for the lake. The spillway crest is lower than the top of the dam, preventing water from overtopping the dam. Instead, the water will flow around the dam into the creek downstream of the dam should the lake ever reach its flood storage capacity.

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blasted earth and rock to form the emergency spillway, bedrock bearing fossils of ancient sea creatures were exposed. The exposed layer of limestone/shale bedrock is approximately 438 million years old. At that time, what is now Ohio lay under a warm, shallow sea. Over time, sediments covered the creatures. Pressure from layer upon layer of sediment eventually turned the animal remains into rock.

Today, these remains are lying on the surface. The vast majority of the fossils are brachiopods, which look like sea shells, and bryozoa, which look like coral. You may also find tiny discs that look like a stack of life savers called crinoids or snail shells called gastropods. The most difficult fossils to find are horn coral, cephalopods, and Ohio’s state fossil: the trilobite.

Fossil study:

Fossils may be observed in the spillway at any time, but the collection of fossils is prohibited without permission from the Corps of Engineers.  If you would like to collect fossils, you must first acquire a free fossil collecting permit from:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center

4020 N. Clarksville Road

Waynesville, OH 45068

Phone: (513)897-1050

Please observe the following rules:

  • Fossils may not be collected for commercial use.
  • No tools are allowed in the spillway. No breaking of rocks or hitting of one rock against another.
  • You may keep fossils (or rocks containing fossils) that fit in the palm of your hand. Larger specimens should be left for others to enjoy. You may photograph, draw, or take rubbings of larger specimens.
  • Fossils may only be collected in the emergency spillway. Collecting in any area other than the spillway is not permitted.

For your safety and convenience:

  • You may park in either of the two parking areas in the emergency spillway. Parking on the shoulder of the road is prohibited.
  • Climbing the walls is very dangerous. The walls are very unstable, and we ask that you remain on the spillway floor. DO NOT CLIMB THE WALLS OR THE DEBRIS BELOW THE WALLS and STAY IN FRONT OF THE “NO CLIMBING” SIGNS!
  • Bring drinking water with you. The spillway has no shade.
  • 24-hour restrooms are located at the Visitor Center. There are no restrooms at the spillway.

Calendar Events 

2024 Calendar Events coming soon!