1987 Coleman Shenandoah
1987 Coleman Shenandoah
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With its beautiful waterfalls, rugged terrain, and ancient fossils, Clifty Falls State Park is one of the gems of the Indiana State Parks system. Tucked away in the southeastern corner of Indiana, around 47 miles from Louisville, Kentucky, the park is well worth checking out for a few days if you're looking for beautiful natural scenery with a difference.
The park offers challenging hiking trails, plenty of delights to thrill and challenge amateur photographers, and the chance to get back to nature in peaceful surroundings. And with more than 160 sites to choose from in the Clifty Falls State Park campground, RV travelers are very well catered for.
If you've ever heard mention of Clifty Falls State Park before, chances are you've heard about its spectacular waterfalls. In total, there are four main waterfalls found within the park's boundaries, each offering something a little different.
Your first order of business after arriving in the park will probably be to check out Clifty Falls, which sees Big Clifty Creek plummet from a height of around 60 feet. Little Clifty Falls is found nearby and is similarly spectacular, while 78-foot Hoffman Falls and 83-foot Tunnel Falls are further south and will also have you reaching for your camera. Of course, the look of the waterfalls changes dramatically depending on the weather and the season, so it's recommended that you visit in winter or spring to see them at their best.
To experience the best views of the falls, you'll need to leave the bitumen behind and go exploring on foot. This is no great hardship and is in fact a pleasure, as the rugged terrain of Clifty Canyon is quite unlike anything else you'll find nearby.
There are ten hiking trails in total, ranging from half a mile to just under five miles and tackling everything from easy to very rugged terrain. It's worth studying a park map closely to work out which trails you can realistically tackle and where you'd like to explore in Clifty Falls State Park.
Trail 4, a three-quarter-mile trek from the Hoffman Falls parking lot to a breathtaking overlook, is challenging but well worth it. Trail 1, another three-quarter-mile hike that leaves from the nature center parking lot and leads you to an observation tower with views of the Ohio River, is another challenging but rewarding option.
Another favorite is the very rugged Trail 2, a one way, three-mile trail along the stone bed of Clifty Creek. Though impassable when water levels are high, the creek bed here features myriad fossils hinting at the ancient marine ecosystem that once thrived here. Fossil collecting within the park is prohibited, but it's still a fascinating hike that lets you explore the history of Clifty Falls State Park in a little more detail.
If you're planning to camp with an RV in Clifty Falls State Park, search for a rental RV in Jefferson County and then reserve yourself a spot in the 169-site campground. There are 106 electric sites and 63 non-electric sites available, most of which are level and spacious enough to accommodate your rental RV and help you feel right at home.
The campground is generally clean and quiet, with restrooms and hot showers. A dumping station is also available, and coin-operated laundry facilities and a playground are provided as well. A trail near sites 48 and 49 leads you from the campground to the park's swimming pool.
When your Clifty Falls State Park RV camping adventure comes to an end, that doesn't necessarily mean you have to head home. There's a whole lot more to see and do nearby, so why not spend a few extra days seeing what the region has to offer?
For example, you could enjoy a drive along the scenic Ohio River to Madison to check out the Lanier State Historic Site, the grand old mansion that once belonged to a frontier banker. If you'd like to keep exploring the Indiana State Parks system, the excellent boating and fishing on offer in Versailles State Park is just 30 miles to the northeast.
For those who want to immerse themselves in the wonders of a larger city, steer the RV rental toward Louisville, less than an hour southwest. If you choose this option, make sure to check out the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory while you're there.
There are plenty of great attractions within easy reach, so Clifty Falls State Park is the perfect place to base yourself while you explore the best that southeastern Indiana and northern Kentucky have to offer.