Clifty Falls State Park – Indiana

Several years ago, I visited Clifty Falls State Park in southern Indiana and I was amazed! It was some of the most rugged hiking that I had ever done. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, my friend and I were exploring around Louisville, Kentucky and knew that we had to go back to Clifty Falls State Park. You can see my previous post HERE!

Clifty Falls State Park is located near Madison, Indiana and was founded in 1920! As with all Indiana State Parks, you have to pay an entrance fee and it is slightly more for out of state guests.

Our main goal was to hike down to the creek and then follow the creek up to the base of Clifty Falls. We parked in the lot near Tunnel Falls and hiked Trail 5. We passed by the start of the tunnel and then headed down into the canyon to meet up with Trail 2. The tunnel is what remains of when the Madison & Indianapolis Railroad tried to build a route through this area. The attempt ultimately failed due to bankruptcy.

I love Trail 2 as you basically make your way up a creek bed. It was fairly dry while we were there, but this trail could be unsafe if there is high water so plan accordingly. However, Ellie still managed to find the water and walk in it!

Once you pass by the overhead sign for Trail 8, there is no way out of the creek, you have to retrace your steps.

I loved how the sheer canyon walls tower above you on each side for most of the hike.

As you get closer to the base of the falls, the terrain becomes even more rugged and you have to climb up and over some boulders. There is a sign as you approach the base saying that there is no access beyond a certain point. You can’t really see Clifty Falls, but it is still pretty impressive. The below picture is about as close as we could get. Access below the falls is prohibited due to falling rock. If you look closely, you can see the remnants of an old set of stairs that once led up to the canyon rim. They were damaged in a flood and never rebuilt.

From here, we headed back the way we came taking in the impressive views of Clifty Creek.

Since the road in the park is one-way, we continued south and stopped at the Lilly Memorial and checked out the overlook.

We then parked at Hoffman Falls and did a loop of Trail 3 down to the creek bed and then up Trail 4.

Finally, we stopped at Clifty Inn and took in the views of the Ohio River. Some might question “what is with the power plant in the background?” It is a coal-fired plant that sits on the banks of the Ohio River.

I absolutely love this state park and encourage everyone to visit it at some point! The hiking will not disappoint! Have you ever been to Clifty Falls State Park? I would love it if you left a comment below. Thanks!

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  1. Well marked trails! Looks like not too many hikers know about this gem!


  2. Awesome area! Great photos and description, thanks for taking us along!


  3. Yes! I’ve been to Clifty Falls State park and it is a great park. I’m not as adventurous as you and your friends. I was there summer of 2020. I would go back in a heartbeat. Thank you for the lovely photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beatutiful scenery for sure!


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