Hemlock Cliffs Falls #1, Indiana

Waterfall in the Hemlock Cliffs (March 2014)

When I visit a waterfall in a new state, or have just visited a certain area, I often start by reporting the first waterfall I see. In this case, I’m going to report one of the last waterfalls I visited, since it ended up being much more impressive than I expected. Just this past weekend, I visited southern Indiana, trying to find waterfalls. I started at Clifty Falls State Park, which has four very nice waterfalls. They can be difficult to photograph, though, and it is a challenge to get interesting views. I had then planned to visit Tioga Falls in Kentucky, only to discover that the trail has been “closed” for almost two years. I’m honestly glad I didn’t drive out of my way to be disappointed.

So where else do I head? I saw Hemlock Cliffs on a few websites, but they often seem to suggest there’s nothing extremely interesting to see. And I guess at certain times of the year, they would be completely right. But, by pure luck, it was raining. It was raining consistently on Saturday. What does this mean? The waterfalls in the Hemlock Cliffs were spectacular! (There were waterfalls springing from other cliffs along highways.) The trail was very manageable, which made my day! Since the creeks were flowing well, it did mean you had to cross a few more streams than normal, but I managed to stay surprisingly dry.

There are at least two impressive waterfalls that can be seen up close and in person without much effort. There are a few others that are hidden from view. On a rainy day, there are also a number of much smaller, very ephemeral falls.  This first waterfall is relatively tall (50’+ or so), and you can actually walk behind the falls. (It’s not very obvious at first, unless you come from the right direction.) So if you’re in southern Indiana, and it’s raining, take some time to visit the Hemlock Cliffs. You won’t regret it! (The second waterfall is posted here.)


  1. From I-64, take exit 86, and head north along IN-237 (aka Main Street).
  2. After just a few miles, turn left onto Union Chapel Road and drive 2.6 miles.
  3. Continue along County Road 8, which was Union Chapel, but changes to Hatfield Road. (There’s a veer to the right as the road changes names.)
  4. Continue along Hatfield Road until you reach the National Forest Service Road to the Hemlock Cliffs. The signage along the way is great, so just keep looking for “Hemlock Cliffs”. The NFS is narrow and leads to a parking area.
  5. From the parking area, you can head in two directions, as the trail forms a loop. You’ll see both falls along the way.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate, easier when dry, but not as exciting)
Height: 30′
Hike: 1 mile (round trip)

Where in the World is Hemlock Cliffs Falls #1?


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