America and stunning scenery go hand in hand. There’s no denying that. While many people opt for the classic US beach vacation, there are some hidden gems within Indiana you’ll wish you had known earlier.
Throughout this state, you can expect lush forests and stunning vistas. But nothing epitomizes this glorious part of the world more than the beautiful waterfalls buried deep within the thick oak-hickory forests.
Some of the most breathtaking hiking trails lead to these glorious bodies of water. So if you’re an avid adventurer, grab onto something because the best waterfalls in Indiana will blow you away.
10 Best Waterfalls in Indiana
As a northern state, Indiana is notorious for its vast expanse of hardwood forests, making it a hikers’ playground. So if you’re looking for an epic US spring break destination or simply want to discover the countryside, you’ve come to the right place.
Below we also share the best trails to reach these waterfalls.
1. Cataract Falls
Starting with a bang, Cataract Falls is a show stopper in central Indiana’s Lieber State Recreation Area. Mill Creek feeds the falls, and there are not one but two cascades.
The upper falls take a total plunge of 45 feet into the murky water below, while the lower Cataract Falls have a 30-foot drop. The two cascades are separated by a mile of glorious river, with effervescent forest all around.
It’s also a relatively easy hike to the widest waterfall in Indiana, as the Ed Dailey Nature Trail (1.4 miles) leads you straight there. You can also just park at the Cataract Falls Recreation Area and have a short walk to Mill Creek, but where’s the fun in that?
Top Tip: If you go to the center of the Cataract Falls covered bridge, you’ll have stunning views of both falls on either side. It’s also the perfect place to snap some mesmerizing photos.
2. Big Clifty Falls & Little Clifty Falls
Expect cascades galore in Clifty Falls State Park, so why not see two sights in one go? There are several hiking trails throughout the park, so how you choose to explore the region is really up to you.
If you want to visit the Big Clifty Falls and Little Clifty Falls in one go, take trails 8 and 2. It’s a 3.2-mile out-and-back trek that offers several stunning views of both cascades.
You’ll first come across some mesmerizing views of the Big Clifty Falls and their incredible 60-foot plummet into the creek. The rock formation creates a somewhat natural staircase, which just adds to the falls’ beauty.
If you carry on a little further along the trail, you’ll come across the Little Clifty Falls. Don’t let the name deceive you, though, as it has a spectacular 60-foot plunge straight into Little Clifty Creek. It’s fair to say you won’t be disappointed.
3. Hoffman and Tunnel Falls
It’s safe to say Clifty Falls State Park isn’t short of stunning waterfalls, and Hoffman and Tunnel Falls are no exception. That’s right. Clifty Falls State Park in Madison has not two but four glorious falls for you to enjoy.
If you embark on the full 6-mile loop trail of Clifty Falls State Park, you’ll visit both Tunnel and Hoffman Falls in three hours. You’ll pass the Tunnel Falls first, where this aptly named 83-foot waterfall awaits.
It’s definitely one of the most interesting Indiana waterfalls, as hidden wooden steps lead you to Brough’s Folly cave. This unfinished railroad tunnel then pops out to the roaring sound of Tunnel Falls.
Carrying on along the trail, you’ll eventually reach Hoffman Falls, with an almost fairytale-like setting. The 78-foot waterfall plunges into the water below as the white sandstone wall behind is emphasized by its green surroundings.
4. Silver Cascades
Nothing beats the beauty of Shades State Park in central Indiana. So why not make a day of your time in this glorious park? With Sugar Creek flowing strong, the Silver Cascade Falls are often overlooked but don’t make that mistake.
It’s a short 0.6-mile walk along the hiking trail before you see why this quaint waterfall gets its name. The shimmering effect of the river dancing down the granite slopes turns the otherwise rocky terrain into a beautiful silvery sheen.
And once you’ve spent some time admiring this gentle waterfall, head over to Maidenhair Falls, which is also in the park. You can also take in the views of Canoe Island in Sugar Creek and other iconic sights in the park, like Lovers Leap.
5. Rock Rest Falls
Rock Rest Falls is probably the best-kept secret in Indiana — until now. This glorious little spot in Southern Indiana is fed by an unnamed tributary of the Muscatatuck River, and boy, is it pretty here.
It’s located roughly a mile from Vernon near North County Road 25, where you can simply park on the side of the road. There isn’t a marked trail per se, but you’ll see a lightly worn path that most people take to get there.
As you approach the sound of flowing water, you’ll start to see the arced cavern of Rock Rest Falls. It’s a great spot to admire nature’s beauty, as hardly anyone comes to this small waterfall.
It’s a great idea to visit in Autumn (October) as the trees start to change from green to shades of fall. This will improve your travel photos from stock standard to absolutely epic.
6. McCormick’s Creek State Park Falls
Of the Indiana state parks, McCormick’s Creek State Park is possibly the most picturesque of the lot. And to make things even better, there are plenty of ways to explore McCormick’s Creek Falls, with loads of hiking trails.
But if you want a stunning walk through the entire park, take on the Falls Canyon Trail. This 4.8-mile loop trail will take you past everything, including the old rock quarry.
You’re here for the waterfall, though, which you’ll come across near the start of the trek. Admire the flowing white water as it carves its way through the famous St. Louis Limestone.
What makes this such a stunning waterfall? Well, it simply has to do with the multi-colored limestone surrounding it. It’s an honest and otherworldly sight, so it’s no wonder it’s such a popular attraction in Indiana.
7. France Park Waterfall
Resting in north central Indiana, the France Park Waterfall has a very peculiar history. For starters, France Park rests on what was once an old rock quarry in the 19th century.
So it’s unknown if the waterfall was originally there or potentially a manmade one, thanks to the mining tunnels. No matter the case, there’s no denying its raw beauty.
The falls are a short walk from Lake Trimmer, the largest in the park and understandably the prettiest. The grassy outcrop below the falls provides the perfect picnicking spot as you watch the water jump 15 feet down the stair-like rock formations.
Top Tip: Once you’ve seen it all at France Park Falls, take on the Spring Dry Loop Trail. It’s a short hike that’ll lead you straight to the Moon Tower, offering the best views of the entire park.
8. Kokiwanee Falls
If you’re ever in the Kokiwanee Nature Preserve, make an effort to visit this majestic set of falls. The Salamonie River is the source of the Kokiwanee Falls as it flows towards the larger Wabash River.
Take your pick of hikes, from the easy 1.6-mile Kokiwanee Nature Preserve Trail to the difficult 3.1-mile loop trail. If you decide to try your hand at the more challenging trail, keep in mind its rocky terrain makes it a difficult trek, especially when wet.
But no matter the choice, you’ll get the chance to see a series of bluffs trickling down limestone outcrops. It really is a stunning sight throughout the hike, and that’s not all you can see here.
If you’re a lover of all things birds, it’s common to spot bald eagles, blue herons, and much more around throughout the preserve. It doesn’t get much better than that, right?
9. Salamonie River Falls
If you step (or float) across the Salamonie River, you’ll come across the unforgettable Salamonie River State Forest. There are several ways to explore this area, with several falls within the forest.
But the best trail is along the 0.7-mile Three Falls Trail. Although the loop trail is called three falls, you only really pass two, with the show-stopper being the Salamonie River Waterfall.
Alternatively, you can embark on the longer 1.4-mile Hominy Ridge Lake Trail. This trail actually passes three cascades, with the forgotten Kissing Falls being the third of these fantastic Salamonie River Falls.
No matter your choice, you’re guaranteed to enjoy a hike of the highest order, with lush green trees and fast-flowing water at every turn.
Tip: If Indiana sounds like a place you want to visit, discover all the essentials for traveling the US.
10. Williamsport Falls
If it’s the highest waterfall in Indiana, you seek, look no further than Williamsport Falls. This glorious waterfall spews 90 feet out of the bedrock into Fall Creek Branch.
Although it’s the highest waterfall in the state, it doesn’t have a constant flow. So timing your trip is really important. It dries up occasionally, but for the best chance of seeing this magical waterfall in action, head there in spring when the winter’s snow melts in March and April.
That said, you can also catch a glimpse of the waterfall flowing in the rainy months of June and July.
Okay, time to discuss how to get there. Your best option is on the 1.6-mile Williamsport Falls Loop Hike. It’s a lovely short hike, and if you’re feeling brave, you can always take a dip in the chilly spring.
Final Thoughts on the Best Waterfalls in Indiana
From flowing rivers to hardwood forests, Indiana isn’t short of beauty. And let’s face it, none of this would be worth visiting if it weren’t for the stunning waterfalls in Indiana.
So whether you’re backpacking across the US or simply looking for your next vacation destination, these magical cascades will make it all worth it.
Which ones are you most drawn to? You don’t need to answer this now, but it’s a handy question to keep in mind when planning an adventurous road trip across Indiana.
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If you’re looking for waterfalls, visit Ricketts Glen State Park in northeastern PA. It features the “Falls Trail” which is a 8 mile loop featuring 21 waterfalls. Absolutely breathtaking!