- Clifty Falls State Park in central Indiana offers a variety of hiking trails that showcase the natural beauty of the area, including sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, and lush woodlands. It’s a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
- The park features several scenic hiking trails, ranging from easy nature loops to more challenging climbs. There is a trail for every ability level, allowing visitors to explore the unique geography and ecosystems of the park.
- Popular trails in the park include the Clifty Falls Trail, Archery Range Trail, and Cataract Falls/Lakeview Trail. Each trail offers its own stunning views and highlights, from towering cliffs and waterfalls to panoramic lake views and diverse wildlife.
Clifty Falls State Park offers visitors an excellent variety of hiking opportunities to appreciate the natural beauty of central Indiana. With over 4,000 acres encompassing sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, forests and more, there is no shortage of scenery to take in along its trail network. In addition to hiking, the park also offers a variety of festive activities to try in Indiana during the fall and winter months, making a visit to this spot one of the best things to do in Indiana.
The trails highlighted provide hikers with picturesque vistas of towering cliffs, rumbling waterfalls, lush woodlands, and a lake shoreline. Autumn season is the best time to visit Indiana, as the leaves change color and the weather is mild.
In any season, explore the top hiking trails that showcase the unique geography and ecosystems of the park. Ranging from easy nature loops to more challenging climbs, there is a trail suited to every ability level.
Clifty Falls Trail
Clifty Falls, Clifty Falls State Park, Indiana
The Clifty Falls Trail is the most popular trail in the park at 6.8 miles in length. It takes hikers along sandstone cliffs that tower over the spectacular cascade of Clifty Falls.
Along the way, hikers are treated to picturesque overlooks of the 60-foot waterfall as it tumbles over ledges into a deep gorge below. The trail offers moderate terrain with some steep rocky sections near the falls.
Other beautiful towns in Indiana such as Madison and New Albany are located nearby, making this a great place to visit for a weekend getaway.
- It takes most hikers around 90 minutes to complete the out-and-back route.
- Parking is $7 per vehicle at the regular lot or $9 at the overflow lot.
This scenic trail sees heavy use, so weekends can be quite busy.
Archery Range Trail
At just over 0.78 miles long, the Archery Range Trail provides great views of the unique sandstone cliffs and deep ravines that define much of the park’s topography.
This loop route passes through a mix of open woods and patches of dense forest vegetation. It cruises along the edges of dramatic cliffs, affording peekaboo views of the rocky gorges below.
This is one of the underrated state parks in Indiana.
- The trail connects with other paths as well, allowing for many different hiking options.
- $7 daily vehicle entry fee, $4 for motorcycles.
Cataract Falls/Lakeview Trail
Cataract Falls Covered Bridge
The moderate 4-mile Cataract Falls/Lakeview Trail passes scenic Cataract Falls before winding around the shoreline of 160-acre Lake Rudolph. Along the way, hikers are rewarded with beautiful panoramas of the lake and surrounding forested hills.
Several small seasonal streams also feed into the lake near the trail. Birdwatchers will also be delighted as it is home to diverse species.
- The route features a mix of woodland sections and more open terrains with water views.
- Daily entry to the Lakeview day-use area is $7 per vehicle.
Hemlock-Maple Loop Trail
gray dirt road between green trees during daytime
Winding for 2.7km through a scenic forest of towering hemlocks and prolific sugar maples, the Hemlock-Maple Loop Trail offers a shaded woodland escape. The trail offers an ideal opportunity for hikers of all skills.
Moss and ferns flourish amid the dense tree cover on this largely flat and easy trail. Birdwatchers may spot warblers, woodpeckers, and other feathered friends in the lush foliage.
- Benches are placed periodically for resting.
- $3 daily parking fee for the overflow lot near this trail’s trailhead.
South Ravine Trail
South Lighthouse Ravine Trail
Traveling southward for approximately one mile through a steep wooded ravine, the South Ravine Trail rewards hikers with scenic rock formations overgrown in moss and lichens.
Hemlocks cling to the rocky walls that tower overhead on this moderately difficult hike. Small seasonal cascades may dot the ravine bottom after rain.
Hikers can also encounter local wildlife, including golden eagles and mule deer.
- Watch your step on the uneven terrain littered with exposed roots and rocks.
- Daily vehicle entry to the main park lots is $7.
North Shore Loop Trail
green pine trees under white sky during daytime
Encompassing just over one mile along the northern shoreline of Lake Rudolph, the North Shore Loop Trail offers beautiful lake views. At times the trail veers farther inland, traversing patches of upland woods.
The trail is very well maintained, and birdwatchers and photographers will find plenty to capture along this route, from great blue herons fishing in the shallows to songbirds flitting through the treetops.
- Benches are spaced periodically to take in the scenery. As with other lake access areas.
- $7 daily parking fee applies.
Tunnel Falls To Lilly Memorial
Tunnel Falls To Lilly Memorial
This 2.4 km loop trail starts at the park’s nature center and winds through the forest before reaching Tunnel Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in Indiana at 83 feet.
Hikers then continue over rock steps and bridges past cascading streams until arriving at the Lilly Memorial, which honors one of the early settlers of the area. The multi-use trail offers scenic views of the rugged gorge landscape.
- There is no fee to hike this trail however a daily vehicle entrance fee to the park of $7 per vehicle is required.
- Closed-toed shoes are recommended.
Trail 3 And 4 Hoffman Falls Loop
This 4-mile loop combines Trails 3 and 4 to take hikers through hardwood forests and across several bridges over streams feeding into the Barren River Gorge. Along the way are views into the deep gorge and descendants to silver maple bottomlands.
The trail passes by a picnic shelter before reaching the scenic 40-foot Hoffman Falls cascading over limestone ledges.
- Entrance fee to the park- $7 per vehicle
- Caution should be exercised near all waterfall areas.
Little Clifty Falls
This 2.6 km loop trail located near the eastern edge of the park provides easy access to scenic Little Clifty Falls, which tumbles 60 feet over stone ledges.
The trail features stone steps and boardwalks taking hikers through a ravine forest to viewpoints overlooking the falls. Interpretive signs along the trail describe the unique flora and fauna found in this habitat.
- $7 daily vehicle entrance fee to the park is required.
- Park only in designated areas and respect all signage.
The terrain is uneven in spots so hiking boots or shoes with traction soles are recommended.
Cliff Bell Nature Trail
a river flowing between two large rocks
The Cliff Bell Nature Trail is a gentle 0.8 km paved path that meanders through a mature forest. Interpretive signage identifies native plants and trees along the route and shares insights into the local ecology.
Birders may spot warblers and woodpeckers among other feathered residents. The level trail provides accessible views of the forest for those with limited mobility.
- Easy interpretive path with seating areas for free.
- Standard daily vehicle entry fee.