An interior shot when Madison Light and Power Co. occupied the Trolley Barn building.
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Madison, Indiana

Clifty Falls State Park

Stairs lead down a steep hillside, forming part of a trail, at Clifty Falls State Park.

Stairs lead down a steep hillside,
forming part of a trail, at Clifty Falls State Park.
National Park Service

Just west of Madison is Clifty Falls State Park. The park was founded in 1920, when an increased interest in outdoor recreation led to the creation of many Federal, State, and civic parks across the nation. The land’s natural beauty, with its four waterfalls and abandoned railroad tunnel, made it an ideal location for a park.

The 600-foot long railroad tunnel within the park dates back to 1852. While visitors to the park can no longer walk through the tunnel, there are informational signs along the trail that explain the history of the tunnel. It and other railroad related remnants in the park are known as “Brough’s Folly,” after John Brough, who led the failed railroad conquest. Had this section of railroad been completed, it would have been part of the Madison and Indianapolis Railroad.

Since its founding, the park has grown in size and now encompasses 1,519 acres. It features over 12 miles of trails, a campground, and a swimming pool. With many of the miles of trails in the park consisting of walking along, down, and through the creek bed and canyon, Clifty Falls State Park has one of the more rugged trail systems in Indiana.

The park is also home to Clifty Inn. The inn first opened at the site in 1924, offering park guests a convenient place to stay and rooms with spectacular river views. While in Madison to see the local Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in action during the Depression, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt stayed at the inn. A new, modern motel and pool replaced the original inn in 1964. After a devastating tornado ripped through the park in 1974, Clifty Inn was replaced again. Constructed in 2006 as part of a multi-million dollar park upgrade, the present hotel contains a restaurant and conference center and offers an outstanding view of the Ohio River.

Plan your visit

Clifty Falls State Park is located at 2221 Clifty Dr., Madison, Indiana. The park is west of Downtown Madison off State Rte. 56 and State Rte. 62. It is open to the public from 7:00am to 11:00pm each day and offers numerous amenities including campgrounds, shelters, a nature center, tennis courts, swimming pool, and hiking trails. Daily admission for Indiana residents is $5.00 per car and for nonresidents is $7.00 per car. For general information about the park, call 812-273-8885. To make campground reservations, call 866-622-6746 or visit Camp Indiana.

Clifty Inn, located within the park, offers lodging and its restaurant is open to the public. For more information about Clifty Inn or to make reservations, call 812-265-4135 or visit Clifty Inn's website.

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