Tunnel Falls, Indiana

Clifty Falls State Park in Indiana (right near the Kentucky border) has four waterfalls that are 60+’ tall. It’s actually an impressive sight, as your brain may not associate Indiana with waterfalls, or especially tall waterfalls. The tallest waterfall in the park, at 83′, is Tunnel Falls.

I’m not sure what the perfect time to show up at the park is. I went in March 2014 and it had rained a bit, so most of the falls were at least running in the park. I noticed, though, that many of the falls are partially blocked by trees, so sometime when the trees don’t have leaves might be best. Now, there are a number of trails that lead to the base of some of the falls, but some of these hikes are long and/or strenuous, so I didn’t do any of those hikes (or wasn’t very successful at finding the trails). So you can view the four falls with shorter hikes, but you just won’t be able to guarantee the greatest of views. It’s still worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Directions:

  1. There are two entrances to the park, and both are found between Hanover and Madison. The north entrance is off of IN-62. The south entrance is off of IN-56. Both will get you to the waterfalls, as the road loops around the park.
  2. The north entrance will get you to the viewpoint for Tunnel Falls slightly quicker. (If you are heading east along IN-62, you would turn right into the park at the north entrance.)
  3. If I remember correctly, there are pretty clear signs for each of the falls. There may be two parking areas that you can view Tunnel Falls, with one on the north side (Hickory Grove), and one on the south side directly opposite. I think the photo below is from the south parking area.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 83′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Tunnel Falls Indiana (11)

Tunnel Falls in March 2014

Where in the World is Tunnel Falls?

Little Clifty Falls, Indiana

Little Clifty Falls in March 2014

You may not think Indiana has any interesting waterfalls, but interestingly enough, it does. There are a number of tall, rather impressive waterfalls in the state, and while many of them are concentrated in the southernmost portion, a few others are scattered throughout the state.

When I originally traveled to Indiana, Clifty Falls State Park was very high on my list (along with the indefinitely closed Tioga Falls in Kentucky). I visited in late March before the leaves on the trees had emerged, and that was probably a good thing… The day was beautiful, if a bit cool. After visiting Clifty Falls State Park, though, I was a bit disappointed.

There are viewing areas for the falls that are easily accessible, but those specific viewpoints all have trees blocking at least part of the view. Little Clifty Falls was no exception. I followed the trail that wanders close to the falls and crosses the creek (using a bridge) just upstream of the falls. Whether you’re on the left or right side of the falls, it’s unlikely you’ll get any good views. And once the leaves are out, the view might be worse.

There isn’t any designated way to arrive at the base of the falls, partly because it would require walking up the creek or doing something infinitely more dangerous and stupid. There is a way to get to the base of Clifty Falls (by walking up that creek), though I can’t remember whether that trail was accessible at the time of my visit…(I may have been too tired to hike the almost 3 miles to get to the base, since there’s no easy access point.)

While I would stop by Clifty Falls State Park if you’re in the area, I’m not sure I would go out of my way for it unless you want to really check it off your list. It rained later that night, and after finding out about the Hemlock Cliffs, I visited what I think are the much more interesting (and more up-close) Hemlock Cliff Falls #1 and #2. (They’re not exactly extremely close to Clifty Falls State Park…After a good rain, though, they are beautiful!)

Directions:

  1. There are two entrances to the park, and both are found between Hanover and Madison. The north entrance is off of IN-62. The south entrance is off of IN-56. Both will get you to the waterfalls, as the road loops around the park.
  2. The north entrance will get you to the viewpoint for Little Clifty Falls slightly quicker. (If you are heading east along IN-62, you would turn right into the park at the north entrance.)
  3. Once you enter the park, there are pretty clear signs indicating where to drive to see Clifty Falls, and that is where you will also find Little Clifty Falls.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Distance of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip
Height: 60′

Where in the World is Little Clifty Falls?

Merriman Falls, Washington

Merriman Falls in April 2008

There are at least three interesting waterfalls along South Shore Road in Olympic National Park: Bunch Falls, Merriman Falls, and Gatton Creek Falls (I think). I only fleetingly saw Gatton Creek Falls, so I can’t really say how it compared. Merriman Falls is the less photogenic of the remaining two, as it seems to be blocked by a lot of trees and other things. I thought it was maybe my picture, but then looking online, I realized that others also had not so great pictures of the falls. The one picture I saw really didn’t even have a clear view of the falls.

Nonetheless, the falls are found in an extremely beautiful area. Olympic National Park is one of my favorite national parks, and it has to do with the amazingly lushness of the temperate rain forest. This is one of the national parks I definitely want to visit again, and there are many other waterfalls in the park. A drive down South Shore Road is still worthwhile.

Directions:
1) From US-101, turn onto South Shore Road.
2) Continue on South Shore Road for a ways and you will pass other waterfalls before coming to Merriman Falls. I would just keep paying attention to the right side of the road, as this is where all of the interesting falls are. You’ll just have to stop on the road somewhere (possibly try to pull off), as there are no parking lots near the waterfalls.
3) You can either turn around at the bridge crossing the Elwha River, or continue onto North Shore Road, which is just as pretty.

Accessibility: 10/10 (roadside)

Where in the World is Merriman Falls?: map

Bunch Falls, Washington

Bunch Falls in April 2008

Bunch Falls isn’t one of the most memorable waterfalls I’ve seen, but the scenery around it is amazing. Bunch Falls is found in Olympic National Park, which has a beautiful temperate rain forest setting. Bunch Falls is the third of three noticeable waterfalls along South Shore Rd.

In order to get to Bunch Falls, you have to drive down a more than passable dirt road. It’s a few miles from US-101, though, and the road is relatively narrow. There weren’t a significant number of other cars when I visited in late April, but every once in a while somebody would pass.

Directions:

  1. From US-101, turn onto South Shore Road.
  2. Continue on South Shore Road for a ways and you will pass other waterfalls before coming to Bunch Falls. I would just keep paying attention to the right side of the road, as this is where all of the interesting falls are. You’ll just have to stop on the road somewhere (possibly try to pull off), as there are no parking lots near the waterfalls.
  3. You can either turn around at the bridge crossing the Elwha River, or continue onto North Shore Road, which is just as pretty.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 60′
Length of Hike: roadside

Small falls near Bunch Falls

Where in the World is Bunch Falls?