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Clifty Falls State Park - Southern Indiana

Our family enjoyed a mini getaway to Clifty Falls State Park in southern Indiana this weekend.... 

Clifty Falls State Park is located on 1,416 acres, just north of the Ohio River in Madison, Indiana.

The park features Clifty Creek, Little Clifty Creek, and a canyon in which the sun only shines during midday.

Clifty Falls State Park has ten beautiful trails that vary from easy, moderate, rugged and very rugged. Our family hiked 5 of the trails.

Clifty Creek Canyon traverses the entire north-south length of the state park. The upper rim of the canyon at the north end of the park is 800 feet above sea level, descending to the valley of the Ohio River, which is 500 feet above sea level.

Two other major canyons enter Clifty Creek Canyon from the east, they are Deans Branch (Tunnel Falls) and Hoffman Branch (Hoffman Falls).

Clifty Falls State Park is named for the waterfalls on Clifty Creek. The falls only had a trickle of water flowing while we were there.... they say there is much more water in the Spring...

Big Clifty Falls 60 feet

Little Clifty Falls - 60 feet

Hoffman Falls - 78 feet 

Tunnel Falls - 83 feet

The attempted 1850's railroad tunnel in Clifty Falls State Park, which now looks and feels like a cave, is a must see. Brough's Tunnel or 'Brough's Folly' was an attempt to have a railroad go from the hilltop to downtown. Construction of the tunnel began in 1852. Work on the project stopped when funding ran out. The project – because of its failure – became known as “Brough’s Folly.” 

The man-made tunnel is over 600 feet long and has low ceilings. You need a flashlight as it is pitch black in some areas and has loose rocks and water in it. It was one of our family's favorite hikes!

Other nearby attractions: 

Clifty Creek Power Plant is a 1.3 gigawatt, coal-fired power station located in Madison, Indiana. Clifty Creek is operated by the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation. It is named after Clifty Creek, the naming feature for the power plant, which enters the Ohio River nearby. Five of its six identical units began operating in 1955. It has two of the tallest chimneys in the world, at 980 feet tall

The Ohio River.... And Rockin Thunder River Tours 

Jet-boat excursions ranging from scenic tours & day cruises to high-speed thrill rides on the river.

Experience slides, fishtails and spins as your Captain shares outrageous river stories about pirates, ghost towns and more. You will get splashed, you may get wet.

The historic downtown area of Madison, Indiana is full of unique little shops, eateries, and beautiful restored buildings line the street.

Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge encompasses over 50,000 acres and overlays the former Jefferson Proving Ground that lies north of the historic firing line where munitions were once tested. 

The Indiana Air National Guard operates an air-to-ground bombing range on the remaining 1,033 acres of the former proving ground north of the firing line and this property is surrounded by but not designated as part of the refuge. 

Jefferson Proving Ground was established by the Army in 1940 as an ordnance testing installation and closed in 1995. Big Oaks Refuge was established in June 2000 as an “overlay” national wildlife refuge. As an overlay refuge, the Army retains ownership and the Fish and Wildlife Service manages the property as Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge.  

 Big Oaks Refuge provides food and shelter for a wide variety of plant and animal species. More than 200 species of birds and 46 species of mammals are found on the refuge. Stream corridors and forested areas provide excellent habitat for the federally-endangered Indiana bat, and to the breeding populations of the river otter. The refuge has been designated as a “Globally Important Bird Area” because of its value to Henslow’s sparrows and other migratory birds. Bald eagles and golden eagles are also known to use the refuge as a wintering site. There have also been black bear seen in the refuge.


 So, if your looking for a weekend getaway.... southern Indiana is a great place to make memories!


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