After two long days on the road and with two more to go, I desperately needed some fresh air and exercise. Studying maps and forest information the night before in the motel room, I chose this location to stop because of it’s proximity to the interstate and potential opportunity for a quality outdoor experience. Good call.
Hemlock Cliffs is a recreation area within the Hoosier National Forest in southern Indiana. The area features a couple of small valleys, waterfalls, short bluffs, and deep forest.
The hiking trail is approximately one mile long and consists of a main loop and short spur. Even with exploring, taking photos, and walking slow it didn’t take much longer than an hour to see the entire area.
The wet environment meant that vegetation remained in the canyon bottom even in November. Ferns, moss, and other lush plants were in full green.
Although too late in the season for much fall color, the late afternoon sun made for some interesting photography.
The trail spur is only a couple hundred yards long, and leads to a large rock shelter overhang. Sadly there was graffiti, some trash, and a charcoal mess in the shelter from previous visitors.
Although the Hoosier National Forest boundary looks very large on the highway maps, only a small amount of the area is actually public land; most is private property. So a good detailed map showing topo lines and property boundaries would be critical for additional exploring and hiking.
For more information, here is the official Hemlock Cliffs page at the US Department of Agriculture website.