Clifty Falls State Park (GM-08)
A rugged, cliff-lined gorge and leaping waterfalls are primary attractions of Clifty Falls State Park. The geologic history of Clifty Falls and the gorge below goes back only to the time when glacial ice extended approximately to the location of the present Ohio River. Even a small stream like Big Clifty Creek, which formed after the glaciers retreated northward, has a great deal of eroding power because it drops from the uplands to the Ohio Valley in such a short distance. As the stream cut down, soft shales and thin limestone of Ordovician age were literally cut from beneath the more resistant and thicker rocks now forming the cliffs and the lips of many scenic waterfalls in the park.

All of these features can be enjoyed from walking trails that crisscross the park. Among them you can also see fossils in the Ordovician rocks. The Madison area gained fame as a collecting locality, but, of course, fossils can be collected only outside the park.

Our Hoosier State Beneath Us: Geomorphology


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