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Indiana State Parks

USA Parks
Southern Region
Clifty Falls State Park
Clifty Falls State Park Just a trickle © Michael E. Ruby
Big Clifty Falls
1501 Green Rd
Madison, Indiana   47250
(lat:38.7551 lon:-85.4212)

Phone: (812) 273-8885
Clifty Falls State Park is located near Madison with entrances off state roads 56 and 62. The name Clifty Falls paints a beautiful picture in your mind. Winter and spring hiking shows the falls at their best while the rugged splendor of the creek and canyon offer exciting scenery year-round.

In historic Madison tour the Lanier State Historic Site, mansion of frontier banker James F.D. Lanier and enjoy the drive along the beautiful Ohio River. Plan a park visit during one of the community's special events such as the Madison Chautauqua Art Festival or Regatta hydroplane boat race.
History of the Area
People have always been fascinated by scenes of rugged geologic splendor, places which give witness to awesome powers at work in nature. Clifty Falls Sate Park, with its deeply cut gorges, sheet rock walls and plunging waterfalls, is such a place. Like the proverbial cowboy who first viewed the Grand Canyon one cannot help think, "Something has happened here!"

Clifty Falls and the nearby Ohio River are products of the Ice Age. The Ohio River is a trench cut by sand and gravel laden melt waters of the glacial ice mass and basically marks the southern most advance of the glaciers which came from the north. Clifty Falls and its canyon are a subsequent erosion feature. From the lip of Clifty Falls at an elevation near the general level of the county, Clifty Creek plunges down more than 70 feet. In nearly three miles of canyon, the creek descends another 250 feet to the Ohio River below. There are four major waterfalls and numerous minor ones in the park.

The 425 million-year-old hales and limestones of the park are among the oldest bedrock exposures in Indiana. They are some 100 million years older than the sandstones and shales of the south central 'Knobs' region and nearly 150 million years older than the coal-bearing deposits of southwestern Indiana. An abundance of fossil remains of ancient marine life are interred in the formation of the rock.

In 1853, the Madison and Indianapolis Railroad Company began work on a railway which was to have run west from Madison then up Clifty Creek Canyon and Dean's Branch to connect with the mail line about one mile north of Madison. Two tunnels were planned for the 4 3/4 mile line. The lower tunnel was barely started and excavation of the upper tunnel which traverses the cliff just south of the Tunnel Falls was in progress when financial problems made it necessary to suspend operations. Portions of the park's hiking trails follow the original grade and several piers and trestle abutments may still be seen.

For many years, the park consisted of 617 acres which included the falls, the canyon and the immediate upland rim. In 1965, the park was more than doubled in size by the acquisition of adjoining upland fields from the Madison State Hospital. This 'old field' area has provided the space needed for modern recreational demands. The city of Madison and the Ohio River Valley make up the panorama seen from Clifty Inn.
GeneralLand, acres1,300
Day-UseHiking Trailyes
 Picnic Sheltersyes
 Swimming Beachyes
 Nature Centeryes
 Nature Programsyes
CampingPrimitive, #59
 Electric Sites, #106
 Flush Toiletsyes
 Youth Group Campyes
AccommodationsLodge Rooms, #63
 Indoor Swimming Poolyes
Clifty inn located in Clifty Falls State Park sits high atop a bluff overlooking the Ohio River. The original Clifty Inn first opened its doors to guests in august of 1924. Since then countless numbers of travelers from all over the World have visited clifty inn to relax and enjoy some of natures most scenic wonders.

Over the years Clifty Inn has changed in appearance. The most recent renovation has just been completed. Clifty Inn is now comprised of 63 rooms and 4 suites. 36 of those rooms are in the riverview building and with balconies in all rooms, you are always afforded a beautiful view overlooking historic downtown Madison. The remaining 27 rooms and 4 suites are in the main building which also houses our indoor pool and hot tub. Also in the main building is the dining room with a fantastic view of the Ohio River and downtown Madison.

With 76 years of service, Clifty Inn continues to provide comfortable accommodations, good food and a professional staff to attend the needs of the business traveler, the family, and all those who seek the beauty and history of the Madison area.
* Electric / 106 sites * Primitive / 59 sites * Youth Tent Areas * Dumping Station

Area Attractions
* Nature Center/Interpretive Naturalist Services * Shelters (Shelter Reservations) * Picnicking * Hiking Trails * Tennis & Other Games * Meeting & Conference Facilities * Clifty Inn and Restaurant * Swimming Pool / Waterslide Open Memorial Day (Policy)

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
June 13 Murphy family reunion
Murphy family reunion was at the Inn on June 10. We had good food and most especially great service from our waitress. Thank you for a delightful experience !!
June 19 Great Staff by William Smith
We arrived at our non electric camp site that we reserved to find it had no trees at that camping space. We had hammocks and envisioned a different experience. My daughter talked to the person staffing the entrance shack to camping and that person let us know which sites were not reserved and let us look at them and pick the one we wanted. The staff member was super nice in helping us have a better camping experience, she was very nice and seemed sincerely concerned about our request. We are so thankful to her for making our weekend great.
January 11 Disappointing... by pinkpajamas
Park needs forest management.Why let vines & greenbriar kill all the trees? Is out of control. Inn had peeling wallpaper, 1 mattress turned upside down with pillow side down. Too afraid to turn it over to see why. Unsmiling check-in employees.Seal broken on sliding door obscuring the river/power plant/3 mile island-like view. We have been here 3 times previously.Yes, the falls are beautiful.Park would be such a treasure with some forest management. Really liked the soap.

Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
Cottages and Cabins
Enjoy the quiet atmosphere of a well appointed luxury 5 star cabin on the peaceful White River in scenic Martin County. Located directly on the rivers edge and surrounded with the serenity of natures hills. With the convenience of town located a mile away.
74.1 miles from park*

Due to a quirk with how our 1501 Green Road address is interpreted by major on-line mapping services, customers using this as a destination address are often lead to a dead end street. To successfully build a map that will get you to our our gate off of state road 62 please use "2221 Clifty Drive" as your destination address.


Indiana State Parks