Fall Creek Gorge


Fall Creek Gorge is one of the finest nature preserves in our state and should be on every Indiana nature lover’s short list of must-see destinations.


Fall Creek

Yet, it almost ended up on the bottom of a reservoir. The 1960s saw an orgy of dam construction across the country, and Congress authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to construct an impoundment on nearby Pine Creek, which would have inundated the gorge.

Fortunately, longer-term vision eventually prevailed, and Congress cancelled the project in 1976.

When you visit the preserve, you will be glad that they did so.

Aside from its geological interest, this preserve is also biologically important; it is home to unusual mosses, lichens, and liverworts.

When visiting nature preserves in Indiana, I rarely see anyone else. Fall Creek Gorge is the biggest exception. I’ve never been there alone, whether I wanted to be or not.

Indeed, overuse is a concern. The Nature Conservancy deliberately keeps the parking area small, and there are signs warning visitors not to park along the road, lest the County tow their cars away.

Please be mindful of the stress this property is under, and respect the limitations that are in place for its protection.


Trails

A footpath leads directly from the parking area into the woods. It crosses a small stream, and then climbs a short stair, where you can see the waters of Fall Creek as they slice through a narrow and somewhat shallow sandstone canyon.


Tributary

The trail runs alongside that canyon, and as it does so you can look down at the water churning through it. Over the ages, the force of the rushing water has gouged a series of bowls or “potholes” in the rock.


Fall Creek Gorge

Sometimes you can see stones trapped in these depressions, and they frantically swirl around, doubtless helping to grind ever deeper holes. When the creek is running high it makes for a spectacular display that is impossible to describe with justice.

If you follow the trail along the canyon, it meanders for a while through forest. Watch for bloodroot, spring beauty, and prairie trillium in the spring. Before long, you’ll hear, and then see, an exceptionally pretty waterfall where Fall Creek drops over a ledge. The waterfall is several feet high and is a worthy destination by itself.


Falls


Directions

Warren County. From the intersection of US 41 and IN 28 north of Attica, go west and north 1.9 miles on US 41 to Potholes Road, and then right 1.5 miles to the parking area on the left.

North 40 20.294 West 87 18.992
DeLorme 30:G6


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Facilities

None.


Nearby Natural Areas

Portland Arch Nature Preserve
Rock Creek Nature Preserve


References

Habeck: Wild Indiana; Page 66
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
McPherson: Indiana Best Hikes; Page 192
Nature Conservancy: Guide to Indiana Preserves; Page 64