Exploring the Tri-State: Clifty Falls State Park

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

As summer appears, there are beautiful parks and recreational areas located throughout Southern Indiana and Kentucky for individuals and families. Over the next couple of weeks in our newest blog series, “Exploring the Tri-State”, let us explore these stunning locations and as Levar Burton stated, “Don’t take my word for it”. Our first location is Clifty Falls State Park.

Clifty Falls at Clifty Falls State Park, 2006 (Photograph Credit: Wikipedia.org)

Clifty Falls, 2006. (Photograph Credit: Wikipedia.org)

The founding of Clifty Falls State Park occurred in 1920 in Madison, Indiana (United States Department of the Interior, n.d.). According to Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources (n.d.), “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”. There are four waterfalls: Big Clifty Falls is 60 feet, Little Clifty Falls is 60 feet, Hoffman Falls is 78 feet, and Tunnel Falls is 83 feet (Clifty Falls State Park, 2016).

Clifty Falls State Park Railroad Tunnel, 2008. Photograph was retrieved from Sean Lewis from https://www.flickr.com/photos/transluminate/3154213938.

Clifty Falls State Park Railroad Tunnel, 2008. (Photograph Credit: Sean Lewis from https://www.flickr.com/photos/transluminate/3154213938)

The other attraction at Clifty Falls State Park is an abandoned railroad tunnel. It dates to 1852; moreover, there are numerous railroad fragments located throughout the park, known as “Brough’s Folly”. Named after John Brough, he tried to create a section of railroad for the Madison and Indianapolis Railroad; however, he was not successful (United States Department of the Interior, n.d.). Visitors may view the tunnel from May to October; however, the closure of the tunnel occurs from November to April to protect the bat population and prevent the spread of white-nose syndrome (Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources, n.d.).

If you are interested in visiting Clifty Falls State Park, the admission cost is located on the Indiana Department of Natural Resources page.


Clifty Falls State Park (2016). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifty_Falls_State_Park

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (2017). Clifty Falls State Park. Retrieved from http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2985.htm

United States Department of the Interior (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/madison/Clifty_Falls_State_Park.html

This entry was posted in Exploring the Tri-State, Indiana, Nature, Parks. Bookmark the permalink.

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