Fall Creek Gorge
Reportedly closed in July 2020 due to overuse.
I'll keep this page posted in case it ever re-opens, though given the evidence of abuse I've seen on previous visits, that may not happen. In the meantime, check the status of this place before attempting to visit, and if it's closed, please respect the wishes of the owners.
Fall Creek Gorge is one of the finest nature preserves in our state and if it ever re-opens should be on every Indiana nature lover’s short list of must-see destinations. This area almost ended up on the bottom of a reservoir. The 1960s saw an orgy of dam construction across the country, and Congress authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to construct an impoundment on nearby Pine Creek, which would have inundated the gorge. At one point, plans for the dam advanced so far that Lindsey et al. (1970) described the property as doomed. Fortunately, longer-term vision eventually prevailed, and Congress cancelled the project in 1976. If you are able to visit the preserve, you will be glad that they did so.
A footpath once led directly from the parking area into the woods. It crossed a small stream, and then climbed a short stair, where you could see the waters of Fall Creek as they slice through a narrow and somewhat shallow sandstone canyon. The trail runs alongside that canyon, and as it does so you could look down at the water churning through it. Over the ages, the force of the rushing water has gouged a series of bowls or “potholes” in the rock. When the creek is running high it makes for a spectacular display that is impossible to describe with justice.
The trail went upstream along the canyon, meandering for a while through forest. Bloodroot, spring beauty, and purple trillium are all present in the spring. There's also an exceptionally pretty waterfall where Fall Creek drops over a ledge. The waterfall is several feet high and was a worthy destination by itself. Aside from its geological interest, this preserve is also biologically important; it is home to unusual mosses, lichens, and liverworts.