10 Waterfalls Near Indianapolis

When quarantine began, it really was quite a shock to us. We were always on the go. Sports, gyms, playgrounds, museums, events. We never stayed home. All of a sudden, our weekends were wide open with virtually no options for us to socialize or get our boys moving. So we adapted. I researched hikes and trails and discovered that Indiana has many beautiful waterfalls that are just a short drive away. We set off on a Waterfalls Tour and have seen some of the most amazing sights right here in Indiana. We still have a napper, so most of these trips were close enough to central Indiana that they were done in the morning with the afternoon nap on the way home or when we returned home.

Waterfalls in Indiana

I’ve seen more waterfalls in the past few weeks than I have in my entire life! When I shared photos of our adventures, my friends from out of town couldn’t believe it was Indiana. The great thing about doing a Waterfalls Tour is that there are so many different types to see. Some super tall with gushing waters. Some just a trickle but set against the most beautiful backdrops. Some right off the road. Some hidden at the end of long and unmarked trails. All were breathtaking in their own ways. And all had rocks to throw into the stream, which is what my boys love doing the most!

Best Time to Visit Indiana Waterfalls

Waterfalls change moods with the weather. You can return to the same waterfall at different times of the year and see a completely different scene each time. An amazing sight to behold is a partially or completely frozen-over waterfall in the winter. Keep in mind, however, that some may run dry in the summer.

Williamsport Falls

25 N. Monroe Street, Williamsport, IN 47993

Highlights

Indiana’s highest free falling waterfall plunging from a sandstone ledge. It can run dry in periods of no rain or snow. You can swim at the base of the waterfall.

Hiking Difficulty

The waterfall can be viewed from the parking lot. To get the full experience, put on some water shoes and take the short 5 minute hike downhill to the creek. Walk up the creek to the waterfall where you can swim or explore behind the waterfall.

Parking/Restrooms

Parking is right behind the fire station on a gravel road. There are no restrooms but it is very close to restaurants and shops. We stopped at a CVS 10 minutes away.

Cataract Falls

2605 N. Cataract Road, Spencer, IN 47460

Highlights

Indiana’s largest waterfall by volume. Features a trail between the Upper Falls and Lower Falls. There is also a scenic covered bridge as the backdrop of the Upper Falls.

Hiking Difficulty

You can view the Upper Falls from the parking lot. The falls create a stepping stone effect with giant boulders. After taking it in, take the trail along the riverbank to the Lower Falls. The trail is not flat, and can be steep and narrow at times, but it is a doable mile with small children. You can also drive between the two falls.

Parking/Restrooms

There is a large paved parking lot at the Upper Falls next to a covered bridge picnic area, park, and restrooms. When I went, the restroom was closed, but there were porta potties.

www.in.gov/dnr/

McCormick’s Creek Falls

250 McCormick’s Creek Park Road, Spencer, IN 47460

Highlights

Gorgeous waterfall surrounded by St. Louis Limestone and a creek to play in. Within McCormick’s Creek State Park with miles of gorgeous trails. 20 minutes from Cataract Falls (we did both in one day).

Hiking Difficulty

There is a very tall staircase close to the parking area that leads down to the waterfall. Your shoes will get wet crossing on rocks to the other side to get close to the waterfall.

Parking/Restrooms

There is a small lot off the main road at the sign for the waterfall. If it is full, there is more parking about 50 yards away. The park has restrooms.

www.in.gov/dnr/

Salamonie River State Forest

5400 E. Salamonie Forest Road, Largo, IN 46941

Highlights

Visit three waterfalls in very close proximity to one another. There are rock overhangs to view along the way and varying elevations to explore.

Hiking Difficulty

The trails are marked and there are maps, but it is still common for people to get lost. We weren’t sure we were going the right way, but to get down to one waterfall, we had to basically slide down a very steep hill. It was pretty dangerous with a toddler! The Three Falls Trail is .33 miles but it connects to other trails.

Parking/Restrooms

There are several parking lots with one right next to the Three Falls Trail. There are restrooms in the park.

www.in.gov/dnr/

Kissing Falls

5825 E 50 S, Largo, IN 46941

Highlights

The romantic Kissing Falls is one of three waterfalls within the Kokiwanee Nature Preserve. Five minutes to the Salamonie River State Forest (we did both in one day).

Hiking Difficulty

We cheated and parked near the boat ramp lot which opens up right to Kissing Falls (put Kissing Falls into GPS). The climb to the top of the waterfall and to the others can be dangerous, especially when muddy. But it is worth it to get to walk behind the waterfall and on top of it. You could also hike the full (and much more difficult) 1.6 mile Kokiwanee Nature Preserve Trail from the main entrance.

Parking/Restrooms

There is a main lot and the boat ramp lot right next to Kissing Falls. Both are small but there is also street parking. I did not see any restrooms but Salamonie River State Forest is 5 minutes away.

https://acreslandtrust.org/

Strahl Lake Spillway

1405 State Road 46 West, Nashville, IN 47448

Highlights

Water spills from Strahl Lake into Strahl Creek in peaceful Brown County State Park.

Hiking Difficulty

After an initial 50 step climb from the parking lot, the rest of Strahl Lake Trail 6 is a moderately rugged but generally flat .75 mile loop that takes you around Strahl Lake. There is so much to explore in the state park, including the nature center which can be accessed via a connected path halfway through the hike.

Parking/Restrooms

There is a parking lot and restrooms next to Strahl Lake Trail 6.

www.in.gov/dnr/

France Park Falls

4505 W US 24, Logansport, IN 46947

Highlights

A creek tumbles over a wall of exposed bedrock. Located within France Park, which offers a beach, camping, and even scuba diving!

Hiking Difficulty

A 2.2 mile trail takes you past the waterfall as well as rock formations and a beach. There is also a 4-mile trail above the waterfall to explore.

Parking/ Restrooms

There is parking, restrooms, and a picnic area close to the falls.

http://www.francepark.com/

Big Clifty Falls

2221 Clifty Drive, Madison, IN 47250

Highlights

One of four waterfalls in Clifty Falls State Park, Big Clifty Falls is 60 feet of cascading, rolling water that drops down stair-like rock formations.

Hiking Difficulty

There is a Clifty Falls overlook by Trail 7. You can put together a combination of several different trails depending on what else you want to see, ranging from moderately rugged to very rugged.

Parking/ Restrooms

There is a parking lot and there are restrooms near the Clifty Falls trails.

Thistlethwaite Falls

65 Waterfall Road, Richmond, IN 47374

Highlights

The Niagra Falls of Indiana. A man-made waterfall with a large, shallow base, allowing for kids to splash around and skip rocks.

Hiking Difficulty

There is a short trail that leads to the top of the falls and a stairway that leads to the base. The trail is part of a larger 3.5 mile Whitewater Gorge Trail that passes a bird sanctuary, several bridges, shale vertical cliffs, and a dam.

Parking/Restrooms

There is parking next to the bridge at the top of the falls. There are restrooms in Springwood Park located across the street.

Silver Cascade Falls

7751 S 890 W, Waveland, IN 47989

Highlights

Found along Sugar Creek, Silver Cascade Falls is one of two notable waterfalls in Shades State Park. Beautiful Sandstone cliffs and shady ravines make the hike a nature lover’s paradise.

Hiking Difficulty

Trail 1 is .75 miles and travels through the ravine creekbed to the cascades along Sugar Creek near Canoe Island. The trail passes the famous Devil’s Punchbowl.

Parking/Restrooms

There is parking and restrooms next to the start of Trail 1.

www.in.gov/dnr

What to Bring to the Waterfalls

Start preparing for a Waterfalls Tour of your own! Always print or screen shot directions and trail maps. Signal strength was not reliable in some areas. Pack snacks, water, sunscreen, water shoes, a change of clothes, towels, wipes, and money for parking at the state parks. And don’t forget to bring your dog! As long as they stay on a leash, they are welcome on most of the trails.

*Please keep in mind that bathroom and trail availability are not guaranteed. Please check each website’s Covid-19 information page for the most up to date information on closures and park rules.

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