Along the banks of the Ohio River, the land becomes noticeably more rugged. Bluffs over the river tower 100-200ft above the banks. I found the drive from Cincinnati to Madison, Indiana to be particularly scenic and I was a bit sad that I didn't spend more time in this drive. Nevertheless, one of the best state parks I've seen in the Midwest was my destination for the day. Here's an overview-
As you can tell from the topographic map, there's a great deal of elevation gain and loss in the region. I've labeled all the highlights of the park but there are miles of hiking trails that are also worth seeing.
If you enter the park from the South, the first highlight is the Lookout Tower which is close to the Clifty Inn. The view of the Ohio River Valley is extraordinary. Its a quickly completed hike that's more of an appetizer of what's to come rather than the main course.
The trails leaving from Hoffman Falls do get deep into the canyon and I would highly recommend turning it into an extended day hike if you have the time and stamina. Bring very sturdy boots or shoes that can get wet!
Continuing North brought me to the piece de resistance pièce de résistance of the park; Clifty Falls and Little Clifty Falls. A prominent notch is created by the confluence of two smaller creeks which is full of magnificent scenery. The roar of Clifty Falls can be herd long before it can be seen-
Had I more time, I would have liked to have hiked Trail #2 which is a fairly rugged trail that brings the hiker just below the final drop of Clifty Falls. Rarely appreciated by the majority of visitors in the park, this is the place for the finest appreciation of one of Indiana's largest waterfalls.
As for me, I had more parks I wanted to see that day, so I'll save that hike for the next time I'm out here, which I hope is not too long from now!