Midwest Photography/ Midwest Travel Locations & Photography

Big Clifty Falls

large clifty falls Waterfall photography print

Big Clifty Falls

Pictured is the upper rim of Clifty Canyon (Big Clifty Falls) at the north end of Clifty State Park in Madison, IN.

The park is 800 feet (240 m) above sea level, descending to the valley of the Ohio River.

Big Clifty Falls is 60 feet (18 m) high and flows over limestone steps and a wonderful site to see. It was the one reason that I told my husband we should make a really quick stop, just to see it.

Clifty Falls State Park Sign

I Wish I Had More Time In Indiana

We made a short pit stop in Indiana on our way to Tennessee. Two places on my list were Turkey Run State Park and Clifty Canyon Nature Preserve.  We made both stops.




Clifty Canyon

We only left 3 hours in total between our two stops.  Which wasn’t enough time.  Matter of fact, I’d gladly go back to explore this area.

Stair Set to Over Look

There is so much to explore within one park.  Quick leg work around the falls area was needed to get to both of the falls and back in the time we had allowed.

Choices, Choices

There are natural limestone stairways that lead you to an area to overlook the big falls. You can view from the top with a two minute walk or head down the steps – another two minutes.

Another View of Big Clifty

The stairway leads to a platform under a rock ledge that extends a little further out for a good spring view of the Big Clifty Falls.

Over Look Leading to Waterfall

A walk on a wooden boardwalk under massive carved limestone cliffs will get you as close as you can get to the falls.

Close as you can Get

You might see why I would want to make a visit in spring to this location. Two reasons, really. The fresh rain provides heavy flowing water and secondly, the leaves were not fully grown in for a beautiful view of the falls.

Flooded Trails

We navigated the heavily flooded trails to get to the small falls. Flooded trails are a good sign that the water flow of the waterfalls will be heavy. It also means that you must use extreme caution because all the trails are mud covered and slick.

A 60 Foot Drop

60 Foot Drop

Spring and winter you can get a better peek at a full view of Little Clifty Falls. Once all the leaves are out, the view is hindered.

Top View of Little Clifty

Another set of wooden steps was a welcomed alternative to the flooded trails. The wooden steps seen here lead you the top of Little Clifty Falls.  The walk from the top of Big Clifty falls to Little Clifty  would have been about 5 minutes if the trails were not flooded.

Little Clifty Close Up

Quick moving water and spectacular views, that is what you see.

You pass over a little bridge and through limestone and sandstone cliffs.

Sandstone Bluffs

The moss, ferns and other wildflowers that grow on and around the cliffs in the spring are rather pretty.

Wild Columbine Growing From Limestone

If you find yourself wishing to explore an area with wildflowers a plenty, limestone rock covered trails and two beautiful waterfalls – head to Clifty State Park in Madison, Indiana and view Big Clifty and Little Clifty Falls.  Oh, AND there are additional hiking trails and waterfalls in the park but I didn’t have time to visit them.

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