Indiana’s Highest Waterfall

Cataract Falls in Lieber State Recreation area is the largest waterfall in Indiana. Other falls in the state claim to be higher but Cataract Falls is the largest in the state by volume. Located in Owen County, the fall consists of an upper and lower fall. The upper fall has a drop of 20 feet and the lower fall, which is located about half a mile downstream, drops about 18 feet. The two combine to create a cascade of 86 feet. A bridge crossed Mill Creek between the two falls until it was washed out in the flood of 1875. A covered bridge was built in 1876. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources restored the bridge in 1995.

Although it is possible to drive between the two sections of the falls, there is a trail that connects the upper and lower falls for visitors who chose to hike.

The mill at Cataract Falls was erected in 1820 by Isaac Teal who lived near the smaller fall. Theodore Jennings purchased the mill and the area around it in 1841. Jennings settled in the area with his family and built a saw mill, flour mill, a general store and a blacksmith. The area became known as Jennings Township. From 1883 to 1952, the mill belonged to the Steiner family. In 1952, Agnes Stuckey, daughter of Agnes Wagner Steiner, donated the land around the mill to the State of Indiana as a memorial to her mother. The donation paved the way for the area to be preserved for public enjoyment.

Indiana has several other waterfalls, though most are smaller, seasonal falls. Freemont Falls, located in Clifty Falls State Park which is said to plunge 108 feet, making it the tallest waterfall in Indiana. Unfortunately the fall is usually dry unless there has been a recent rain. Clifty Fallls State Park has several small waterfalls that can be reached by hiking but all are seasonal and can best be viewed after a period of rain. The most impressive is Big Clifty Falls, which drops 60 feet into the creek below. During the months of April and May, when the water rushes over the falls into the creek below Big Clifty Falls can be seen from the overlook.

Tunnel Falls, also located in Clifty Falls State Park, is named for the abandoned railroad tunnel built in 1853 by the Madison and Indianapolis Railroad. The tunnel, located just below the falls, can be safely explored by any visitor willing to brave the rocky, muddy trail. Visitors who would like to walk through the 600 foot tunnel can ask for a trail map at the entry station. Tunnel Falls drops some 83 feet, making it the tallest fall in Clifty Park. The fall is usually not more than a trickle of water, it can become quite impressive during the months of April and May when water flow is at its peak.

Williamsport Falls, located in Williamsport Indiana, has a drop of 86 feet and residents are proud to point to it as the largest freestanding waterfall in the state. There is so little water in the falls that it is also called Dry Falls. After the snow melts and during rainy periods, the waterfall at Williamsport is well worth a visit.


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