In northern Indiana, there is a cluster of waterfalls that can be pretty surprising, since you may not think of waterfalls when we mention Indiana. In Kokiwanee Nature Preserve, there are three waterfalls. In Salamonie State River Forest, I saw two waterfalls, but as I’m searching now, there are apparently three falls, as the trail is now called the Three Falls Trail.
I visited in May 2017, and I think I was in luck as it had rained recently. Some of these falls weren’t very big, so at other times you may not find a whole lot of water flowing. That was the benefit…the consequence was that some of the trails were very muddy. This trail, specifically, was distinctly muddy. The trail is very clear to follow, though I believe it was consistently downhill in the mud. The two waterfalls I viewed required a bit of care to visit because they were rather slippery. When I was recording the waterfalls, I wrote down that the hike was of moderate difficult, I think because of these issues.
One of the falls was flowing very well. The other fall had some water flowing over, but nothing to make it a wildly memorable waterfall. The nice thing about visiting the falls is the other waterfalls in the area. Ross Run Falls is also nearby.
From Lagro, Indiana (off of US-24), head south on IN-524.
IN-524 will veer left, and then will veer right. Stay on IN-524.
Turn left onto County Road 100 S, which will lead you into Salamonie River State Forest.
Just over a mile on 100 S, you’ll find the parking area for the Three Falls Trail on the left.
Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate) Height: 10′ each Length of Hike: 0.4 miles round-trip
The first waterfall I encountered in Salamonie River State Forest in May 2017
Waterfalls in Indiana are somewhat scattered throughout the state. You’ll find a few in one area, a few in another, making it kind of difficult to coordinate seeing a number of them at once. In northern Indiana, you’ll find a number of small yet interesting waterfalls within a few miles of each other. This waterfall is found at the Hathaway Preserve at Ross Run, while the other are found in nearby Salamonie River State Forest and Kokiwanee Nature Preserve.
I visited in May and I believe it had rained just the day before. (It was beautifully sunny when I was hiking to see the falls.) Many of the falls that wouldn’t normally be there were showing up. At the same time, this meant that some of the trails were very muddy and in some cases impassible. I did a lot of hiking up slippery slopes. Ross Run Falls definitely qualifies as the easier of the waterfalls to find, with relatively flat hiking terrain.
You might notice that the water looks very, very cloudy. Runoff from the rain definitely made the water opaque. It was fascinating to see the water in such a state. While this waterfall isn’t particularly tall, it was fun to find waterfalls in an area of the state that you might not otherwise expect waterfalls.
There are a number of ways to get to the preserve, either from the cities of Wabash or Lagro, or from the other two preserves. It might be easiest to explain directions from Lagro.
From Lagro, head south on IN-524.
IN-524 will head south, veer east for a short ways, and then head south again. Make sure to stay on IN-524.
After maybe a mile, you’ll come to E Baumbauer Road on your right. Turn right here.
After approximately 1.5 miles, you’ll come to Hathaway Preserve. It will be a circular gravel parking area on your right (assuming you’re heading west).
From the parking area, the hike to the falls isn’t particularly difficult.
Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Length of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip
I had the chance to visit Indiana this past weekend, and decided to try and find some lesser-known waterfalls in northern Indiana. It took a bit more searching, but I discovered there were three locations within very close proximity that each had waterfalls. And you can visit all of these locations and waterfalls in just a few hours.
The first location I stopped at was Kokiwanee Nature Preserve. (Other falls can be found in Salamonie State Forest and Hathaway Preserve at Ross Run.) It has three named waterfalls: Kissing Falls, Daisy Low Falls, and Frog Falls. I had a sense some of these waterfalls might be seasonal, but as I was driving to the preserve, I saw many farm fields that had pools of water…this was a good sign.
I decided to enter the preserve from the less advertised starting point: a boat launch off of Stone Road. After looking at a map, I realized this might be a quicker way to reach all 3 falls. And it is, especially for Kissing Falls. When you get out of the car at the end of the parking lot, there will be a faint trail at the forest edge. This leads very quickly to the falls. (There is another trail that seems to lead to the falls further down the parking lot, but a sign says to go this other trail at the end…so respect that request.)
It was a short hike, about 0.1 miles one-way. As I followed the faint trail at the end of the parking lot, it quickly connects to a set of “stairs” (the ground has been groomed with pieces of wood to create these “stairs”). If you turn left and head uphill, you’ll again quickly see a sign that directs you to the waterfall trail. There’s a sign that says the hike is difficult, but I’m not really sure what they’re referring to. I guess if you head downhill and try to get to the base of the falls by hiking up the stream (if that’s allowed), it might be a bit more difficult. I wasn’t feeling particularly great, and decided to follow the trail that ran parallel to the creek. After a very short distance, I came to Kissing Falls (looking at it from above). I felt this was a fine enough view to take some shots and head to the other falls in the park. Because of recent rains, the falls were flowing pretty well, though I couldn’t avoid the afternoon sunshine.
This is an instance where there’s not an obvious starting point. You can approach from multiple directions. It’s in between Wabash and Huntington south of US-24.
The official entrance to the park is off of E 50 S (GPS at 5825 E 50 S, Lagro, IN 46941). I instead went to the intersection of E 50 S and Stone Road, and went south on Stone Road, turned right onto the road that led to the Salamonie River Boat Launch (can’t remember if there was a more specific name).
At the end of this road, there’s a parking area. The trail to the falls starts at the end of the parking area (read above).
Accessibility: 9/10 (easy, it was very muddy, so bring appropriate shoes)
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip
Where in the World is Kissing Falls?