The Hemlock Cliffs

Third day at Hoosier National Forest – I spent a while perusing maps to find some point of interest to explore. One in particular looked interesting. It was a thirty minute drive from my camp. After passing a lot of farms the route eventually turns off onto one lane gravel roads through the woods. The Department of Natural Resources, who control the forest, have done a good job of putting up signage to point the way.

One of the highest rated hiking trails in Indiana, Hemlock Cliffs is an area where streams have cut deep into the forest floor leaving majestic rock cliffs on either side.

      

These sandstone cliffs have overhangs called rock houses and some are actual caves, going deep into the ground.

    

This is one cave you can go into. The standing room is not very big, but I did sit there for a while, imaging being a native hunting game or perhaps a pioneer camping for the night during a long journey west..

Most of the deeper caves are high up the side of the cliffs, and rappelling is prohibited. There was a time years ago when you could camp out along the streams and in the caves, but so much plant life was being destroyed that the DNR stopped it. This whole area is now a wildlife sanctuary.

My hike lasted about 2 hours. Midway it became the first time I have hiked in the rain! Thanks to my Girl Scout days, I was prepared.

The last part of the walk was a bit slippery. There is one spot where you must climb up a rock stairway to the top of a waterfall. That was tricky (my dad would have loved it) I have a good pair of walking shoes, but crossing streams needs hiking boots, I think. That may be my next big purchase.

 

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