McCormick's Creek State Park



McCormick's Creek

Established in 1916, McCormick's Creek is Indiana’s first state park. Over the ages, the creek cut a canyon through surrounding limestone formations, creating one of the most attractive features of the park, particularly where the water tumbles over a gorgeous waterfall.


Falls

You’ll also find two nature preserves, a cave, numerous sinkholes, and the largest rock arches in the state. It is a popular and highly varied destination with plenty to see and do.


The Creek in Winter


Trails

Trails 3 and 10 offer access to the falls and the creek; expect to challenge your ankles as you clamber over loose rock strewn about the canyon floor.


Frozen Falls

Trail 7 starts by the Wolf Cave parking area and heads west along the canyon rim, eventually descending to creek level, then following a boardwalk past stupendous sycamores as it makes its way to the banks of the West Fork of the White River.


Trail 7


White River

Wolf Cave and Twin Bridges (Trail 5) are among the most popular destinations. A stream formed the cave, and it was once possible – though difficult – to go all the way through.


Wolf Cave

I was fortunate to visit before the closure and found it a tight squeeze in spots, with debris of all sorts littering the floor, and bats and tree roots dangling from the ceiling.


Twin Arch

The cave is now closed to visitors as part of an effort to protect bats from disease. The Twin Bridges are rock arches left when parts of the cave collapsed. Both are larger than the more famous Portland Arch.


Outcrop

Trails 1 and 2 form a chain and explore McCormick’s Cove Nature Preserve, situated near the western edge of the park. There are tall trees and some hills; you’ll pass close to an old stone quarry near the creek.


Quarry

Trail 9 loops off to the east, skirting dozens of sinkholes in the process. Trail 4 begins and ends near the Canyon Inn, and is typical of southern Indiana hiking – ridges and ravines – with an opportunity to climb nearly to the top of a CCC fire tower.


Directions

Owen County. From the intersection of IN 67/US 231 and IN 46 in Spencer, go east 1.7 miles on IN 46 to the well-marked entrance on the left. There is an entrance fee.

North 39 16.999 West 86 43.570
DeLorme 44:H1


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Facilities

Inn, campground, showers, bathrooms, food, shelters, etc.


Nearby Natural Areas

Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve
Greens Bluff Nature Preserve


References

Bloom: Hiking Indiana; Page 172
Goll: Indiana State Parks; Page 123
Habeck: Wild Indiana; Page 102
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
McPherson: Indiana Best Hikes; Page 346
McPherson: Nature Walks in Southern Indiana; Page 248