Clifty Falls State Park advisories
- UPDATE 10-18-2019: Jefferson County (Clifty Falls State Park) has lifted the burn ban.
- Beginning in early April, S.R. 256 from Austin to Hardy Lake Road will be closed for a road widening project. This project will continue through the summer. From I-65, guests should take the Scottsburg exit (S.R.56), and head east toward Madison. Take S.R. 56 east all the way into Madison to access the park. An alternative route is to take S.R. 56 to S.R. 203 north to reach S.R. 256, then head east to Clifty Falls State Park.
Upcoming Events at Clifty Falls State Park
Clifty Falls State Park is located near Madison with entrances on state roads 56 and 62. The park’s waterfalls change moods with the weather and the seasons and can range from roaring plunges to delicate bridal-veil mists to gleaming frozen titans. Winter and spring visits reveal them at their best. The rugged splendor of Clifty Canyon offers exciting year-round hiking and scenery.
Clifty Creek’s stony bed is littered with fossil remnants telling of a long vanished marine ecosystem that teemed with life that included ancient corals, ancestral squids, brachiopods and more. Fossil collecting within Clifty Falls State Park is prohibited but nearby collecting locations are readily accessible.
In Historic Madison, tour the Lanier State Historic Site, the former mansion of frontier banker James F.D. Lanier, and enjoy the drive along the beautiful Ohio River. Plan a park visit during one of the community's special events, such as the July Regatta hydroplane boat race or the Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art in late September.
Please Note: Clifty Falls 1852 Railroad Tunnel is open to the public from May 1-Oct. 31. It is closed Nov. 1-April 30 to protect hibernating bats.
All caves, sinkholes, tunnels and mines on DNR properties are closed to provide protection from white-nose syndrome, a fungus that is killing bats in large numbers in the Eastern U.S. and is now spreading west. This includes the old railroad tunnel at Clifty Falls. To learn more about WNS visit www.dnr.IN.gov/batdisease. Thank you for cooperating with DNR in this effort.
During the summer, pool hours may change because of weather and staffing. Please contact the property office for exact times before your visit.
- Nature Center/Interpretive Naturalist Services
- Shelters (Shelter Reservations)
- Hiking Trails
- Four Falls Hiking Challenge
- Tennis & Other Games
- Meeting & Conference Facilities
- Clifty Inn and Restaurant
- Swimming Pool / Waterslide (Policy) Check office for hours.
Camping - See campground maps under MAPS tab
- Electric / 106 sites
- Non-electric / 63 sites
- Youth Tent Areas
- Dumping Station
Note: For trail locations, view the property map under the MAPS tab.
1.*RUGGED (.75 mile)—Starts at nature center parking lot, proceeds to Observation Tower overlooking Ohio River, then along canyon wall to park road. Long, steep grades in and out of canyon.
2. VERY RUGGED (3 miles)—One-way, no-outlet in North End. Continual water damage and rockslides have required the removal of this structure for everyone’s safety; therefore, access in and out of the canyon is available only via connecting trails 1, 4, 5, and 8. Trail 2 is primarily the stone bed of Clifty Creek and may be impassable during times of high water. Areas above and below all waterfalls are always OFF LIMITS.
3.*RUGGED (1 mile)—Starts at park road just south of Poplar Grove. Long grade descends to midcanyon, then follows along canyon. Steep grades rise to Poplar Grove. Easy walking to near side of Beech Grove connecting with Trail 4.
4.*RUGGED (.75 mile)—Starts at Hoffman Falls parking lot. Short distance to spectacular falls overlook. Follows canyon to Lilly Memorial (spur connects to Clifty Creek), which has a long, steep staircase at Lilly Memorial.
5.*RUGGED (.875 mile)—Starts at Lilly Memorial, long, steep staircase to mid-canyon. Follows along canyon past tunnel entrances (spur connects to Clifty Creek), past Oak Grove to Tunnel Falls. Steep staircase from falls overlook to road.
6. MODERATELY RUGGED (.5 mile)—Starts at Hickory Grove, follows canyon just below rim to Lookout Point. Some very rocky footing.
7. MODERATELY RUGGED (1.25 miles)—Starts at Clifty shelter, proceeds past Little Clifty Falls along rocky footing to Lookout Point. Returns to picnic area east of shelter via upper Little Clifty Creek gorge.
8. RUGGED (4.5 miles)—Starts just west of north gatehouse. Proceeds south along west rim of Clifty Canyon. Steep grades to Clifty Creek at north and south ends of trail. (Steep switchback connects to creek across from Oak Grove.) Exits south canyon to park road or Trail 1 to nature center.
9. MODERATE (1 mile)—Campground to nature center and Clifty Inn, via swimming pool.
10.EASY (.75 mile)—Starts at back of swimming pool parking lot, features old field ecology.
*Brough’s Folly 1852 railroad path
- Photos & Video