Indiana February 14, 2016
The Ultimate Indiana Waterfalls Road Trip (Part 2: Southern Indiana)
We wanted to build you an Ultimate Indiana Waterfalls Road Trip that covered
all of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state…but there are just too many to choose!
We couldn’t bear to leave out any of our favorites (or send you on a single 22-hour drive), so we decided to split the list and give you TWO epic Waterfall Road Trips to take to make sure you see the best of both the Northern AND Southern regions of the Hoosier State!
PART 1 of our Ultimate Waterfalls Adventure featured six of our favorite ‘falls in the Northern half of the state, but here is PART 2… with seven awesome Southern Indiana waterfalls!
To make it easy-as-pie (
Sugar Cream Pie, that is), we built you a Road Map through Google Maps!
1. Cataract Falls
Cataract Falls in Lieber State Recreation Area is the largest waterfall in Indiana by volume and consists of two falls, roughly a half mile apart on Mill Creek. The Upper Falls drops 20 feet and the Lower Falls drops about 18 feet.
There is a lovely short trail between the two, but you can also drive to either one. As it is a State Recreation Area, there is a $7 entrance fee to the park, but it is well worth it to see these picturesque falls. The fall foliage is beautiful, but Mill Creek is fullest after snowmelt (or a particularly excellent thunderstorm), which bulks up the falls significantly.
In the winter months the falls can freeze over entirely, which is also pretty amazing to see.
1317 W Lieber Rd, Cloverdale, IN 46120
2. McCormick's Creek Falls
Although not large, the McCormick's Creek Falls are worth checking out—McCormick's Creek State Park is the oldest state park in Indiana and was founded in 1916 in celebration of the 100th year of statehood!
There is a campground on-site, as well as The Canyon Inn—a former sanitarium where brave guests can spend the night! Much of the limestone used to build the State Capitol building comes from McCormick's Creek State Park.
Many of the buildings and structures in the park were built in the New Deal era, which landed the limestone arch bridge over the creek a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
250 McCormick Creek Park Rd, Spencer, IN 47460
3. Spring Mills State Park & Cave River Valley Nature Preserve
Pioneers in the 1800’s settled in this area to take advantage of this flowing cave springs to power gristmills, a sawmill, a wool mill, and even a distillery!
The village has been restored and offers interpretive tours, and the small falls created by the dam is worth a quick stop to see, but the coolest part of this park is the spring, which flows right out of River Cave.
The many caves are a major draw to the area, especially since the Donaldson/Bronson Cave and others had been closed for several years to protect the bat population from an outbreak of White-nosed Syndrome.
The caves have now been reopened to the public, but require permission from the Department of Natural Resources through the Indiana Karst Conservancy to enter (which is totally worth the extra step, if you have time to prepare before embarking upon this epic road trip).
3333 State Road 60 E. Mitchell, IN 47446
4. Hemlock Cliffs
The Hemlock Cliffs Trail is a 1.5 mile loop that leads you down into a narrow box canyon and offers lush green views, vertical sandstone cliffs, and hides some of the most beautiful seasonal waterfalls in the state.
There are spots to stop and see Hemlock Cliffs Falls from both the top and from the plunge pool below.
Messmore Falls drops an impressive 70 feet during high water flow times.
The trail is moderately difficult, steep, and can be slippery in areas, but if you are looking for a peaceful escape, Hemlock Cliffs is one of the most beautiful areas in the state.
Hemlock Cliffs, Union Township, IN 47118
5. Clifty Falls State Park
Clifty Falls State Park is a truly unique place. The park has four waterfalls; the largest, Tunnel Falls, drops 83 feet, however the other three-- Big Clifty Falls, Little Clifty Falls, and Hoffman Falls—aren’t much smaller (60 feet, 60 feet, and 78 feet, respectively).
Clifty Creek Canyon, which stretches the entire length of the park and empties into the Ohio River, has over 12 miles of walking and hiking trails (some of which are quite rugged) and has many other smaller falls to explore as well.
1501 Green Road, Madison, IN 47250
6.. Muscatatuck Park
The Muscatatuck River flows along the southern end of this park and there are several waterfalls to see along the River Trail, which begins at the Vinegar Mill, where you can see Canyon Creek Falls.
The River Trail follows the river for roughly two miles. The small Muscatatuck Falls are fed by a limestone spring.
325 N State Highway 3, North Vernon, Indiana 47265
7. Anderson Falls
Anderson Falls may not have the epic free-fall of other waterfalls, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful! While only 12” tall, the spillway is more than 100” wide and drops off of a rock ledge that creates a cave space behind the falls.
Anderson Falls is easy to get to - it’s right along the road on CR 1140 and there are signs and a small parking area to guide you. The far side of the falls is part of the Anderson Falls Park State Nature Preserve, and you can find further hiking trails there if you cross Clifty Creek above the falls.
3699 North 1140 County Rd E, Hartsville, IN 47244
There are SO many waterfalls throughout Southern Indiana, it was hard to choose which ones to include on this list!
We left out a few favorites because we think they deserve their OWN special trip, not just a stop on this awesome waterfall loop!
Here are a few bonus photos of Turkey Run State Park, just because we think it’s pretty…and because you totally need to visit it (when you have
plenty of time to explore)!
Did you pack the road trip snacks? We’re ready to hit the road!
really want to go all out, combine this loop with our Ultimate Waterfall Road Trip Part 1: Northern Indiana for an extended trip around the whole state!
Where should we go next? Tell us in the comments section below!