Hemlock Cliffs National Scenic Trail is located in the heart of the Hoosier National Forest near English, Indiana. This is a great stop if you are traveling along Interstate 64 as it is just a 15 minute drive from the interstate.
I was really impressed with how well the location was signed. This goes for both finding your way to the parking lot and then once on the trail. I think the trail is best hiked counter clockwise. The trail starts out from the parking lot and after a short walk through the woods, a set of stairs leads down to some steps between two boulders.
This is where the magic begins. Within feet, towering rock walls line the trail and then the huge box canyon comes into view. There is a wet weather waterfall that tumbles into the plunge pool below.
The trail drops down to a creek and if you are feeling adventurous, you can explore for a while down here. The trail follows the creek for a while and then begins to climb back uphill.
At this point, I thought we were on our way back to the parking lot, but then we came to a fork in the trail and a small sign indicated that a loop trail was ahead. I did not remember seeing anything on a loop, but since we drove all the way out here, we figured we better hike all of the trail! Okay, so here is a piece of advice…HIKE THE LOOP! You have to…it is the best part of the entire trail!
Narrow stairs lead up to an amazing rock house. It is so impressive! What is even cooler is that the trail winds underneath the shelters, but you are still high above the forest floor. The only really challenging part of this trail is scrambling down the rock to connect up with the lower part of the trail as shown below.
From here the trail heads back to the parking lot. This trail is only about 1.5 miles long, but the scenery is really packed in. This trail quickly became one of my favorite trails I have ever hiked! The trees were so colorful, but jeeze was it cold!! Special shout out to Michelle for braving the cold with me for an awesome weekend! From here we headed to O’Bannon Woods State Park. Be sure to check out my post on that park!