Southeast Indiana Birding Opportunities - Clifty Falls State Park
Clifty Falls became Indiana’s third state park in 1920. Covering just over 1500 acres, Clifty Falls is mostly known for its sheer cliffs, plunging waterfalls, and Ordovician fossils, but it is also a great place to view a wide variety of birds.
Trails 9 & 10 are on much flatter land that was once farmed by the Madison State Hospital until 1965, when they donated it to the park. Trails 9 & 10 travel through younger forest with a very dense undergrowth of shrubs. During the summer, songs of the White-Eyed Vireo, Prairie Warbler, and Indigo Bunting fill the air, and the occasional American Woodcock can be seen strutting across the trail. Year-round, Red-shouldered hawks, Wild Turkey, Brown Thrashers, and Eastern Towhees are common.
The year-round nature center has feeders that attract a variety of woodpeckers, finches, sparrows, and more. Occasionally a Peregrine Falcon can be spotted from the back lawn of the Clifty Inn.
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2221 Clifty Drive
Madison, IN 47250
From the North: take US 421 S. to SR 62 W, the entrance is approximately 4 miles from the intersection of US 421 and SR 62. From the South: take US 421 N to SR 62 W. Continue west for about 4 miles to park entrance.
Hours: 7am-11pm; birders are generally welcome earlier if requested.
Ownership: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of State Parks
Admission: Indiana State Park entrance fees apply. $7/vehicle for Indiana residents, $9/vehicle for non-Indiana residents.
Restrictions: Please obey all rules and regulations. A summary of property rules can be found at stateparks.IN.gov/6468.htm.
Parking: Parking is available at trailheads, the nature center, Clifty Inn and Big Clifty Falls.
Nearby Amenities: Vault toilets are available. Modern restrooms are available in multiple locations, but some may be closed in the winter. Restrooms are available 24/7 at the Clifty Inn. The campground has both electric and non-electric campsites. Visit the nature center for more information and visit the Clifty Inn for a delicious meal or to browse the gift shop. Nearby lodging can also be found in Madison, within 5-10 minutes of the park.
Accessibility: A short section of Trail 7 is ADA accessible to the Clifty Falls overlook.
Phone Number: (812) 273-0609
Written by: Kayla Leach
Photo by: Shari McCollough