Clifty Falls State Park
Clifty Falls State Park is centered on Clifty Canyon Nature Preserve, where several streams converge, many after plunging over high waterfalls, before flowing on toward the Ohio River.
The trails in this park are difficult to maintain and closures are frequent; be sure to get a trail map and ask about closures before setting out.
Though it has no clearly defined tread, Trail 2 is the premier trail in the park. It goes right up the floor of the canyon, and hikers must work their way upstream across large beds of loose and occasionally slippery rocks arrayed on either side of the creek.
The water often casts rocks up along the slower inner stream bank as the creek curves it way along, so that every time the creek changes direction you’ll need to negotiate a crossing to the rocks piled along the other side. This can be a challenge when the water is running high; on the other hand, high water also means the falls are at their most spectacular.
It’s a rugged scramble of about three miles to the base of Clifty Falls (60’ high); following the eastern branch of the creek takes you to the base of Little Clifty Falls (also 60’ high). Hikers must return along the stream bed to a junction with another trail before climbing out of the canyon.
Trail 8 runs along the very scenic western rim of the canyon through beech, hickory, maple and oak trees; it offers many views of the canyon below and wildflowers are abundant in the spring.
Trail 5 works its way along the wildflower-encrusted eastern slope of the canyon, partially following the bed of a failed railroad; both entrances of a thousand-foot tunnel are still visible along the trail, and it offers a nice overview of Tunnel Falls (at 83 feet, the highest in the park).
Falls from Above
Trail 4 features a platform overlooking Hoffman Falls (78’ high). Whatever trail you take, be prepared for lots of climbing, either on stairs or steep paths, and plan to enjoy yourself.
North entrance: From the intersection of IN 7 and IN 62, west 1.1 miles on IN 62 to entrance on left (south).
North 38 46.253 West 85 26.174
View Larger North Entrance Map
South entrance: From the intersection of IN 56 and IN 62, east 2.1 miles to entrance on left (north).
North 38 44.531 West 85 24.761
View Larger South Entrance Map
Inn, food, campground with showers and toilets, nature center.
Nearby Natural Areas
Bloom: Hiking Indiana; Page 117
Goll: Indiana State Parks; Page 72
Habeck: Wild Indiana; Page 133
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
McPherson: Indiana Best Hikes; Page 291
McPherson: Nature Walks in Southern Indiana; Page 110