BEAUTIFUL BUT DEADLY
As former city dwellers, we seem to enjoy our camping the most at State or National Parks where we can view the beauties of nature "up close and personal". If you ever meet us you will quickly find that Bob's very favorite thing in the whole world is to have a campfire and sit around entertaining folks with his harmonica playing. Well, this park was the ideal setting for all of this.
To give you a little background, Clifty Falls is located on SR 56 & 62 just west of Madison, Indiana. The park was established in 1920 to preserve the falls on Clifty Creek, "a bit of original Indiana". Initially the park consisted of 617 acres, primarily the canyon and its waterfalls. In 1965 the park doubled in size when it acquired adjacent uplands from the Madison State Hospital. It now covers 1361 acres.
While most people think of Indiana as very flat, farmland; Clifty Falls is definitely the exception. Clifty Falls was created during the Ice Age when the southward flowing waters of Clifty Creek met the newly formed Ohio River in a spectacular plunge, a waterfall that may have been two hundred feet high. The falls has since cut its way into bedrock to a point more than two miles north of its original position. Today, at a height of sixty feet, it continues the retreat upstream at a rate of one-quarter inch per year.
Because of its small watershed, the park's four major falls (Big Clifty Falls=60', Little Clifty Falls=60', Hoffman Falls=78', and Tunnel Falls=83') are at their best from December through June. The nature enthusiast will find a wealth of opportunity here. The park's 425 million year old shale and limestone rocks contain numerous marine fossils and are among the oldest bedrock exposures in Indiana.
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