Spencer, IN: McCormick's Creek State Park: Canyon Falls Overlook / Trail 3

This past weekend wasn't a total washout. Yesterday's weather (a cool 60 and rainy) wasn't really conducive to sitting outside for dinner, but it was pretty nice for taking a hike in the woods. No bugs, no sweat, and a very full waterfall enticed us (and Eric's mom, who was in town visiting) over to McCormick's Creek State Park for a couple of hours late Sunday morning. McCormick's Creek is just outside Spencer, Indiana, which is about 20-25 minutes west of downtown Bloomington. The park now costs $7 for Indiana plates to get in, $9 otherwise. (We have an Indiana State Park Entrance Permit that I bought for $40 in February for Eric's birthday; the rates for entrance to IN state parks just increased to $7 and the entrance pass now costs $50. I didn't know the fees were increasing this year but am sure glad I bought the pass when I did!)

We had a ton of heavy rain on Saturday so I figured the waterfall would be gushing. We asked the friendly park ranger at the entrance for the best trails that day and the best way to see the waterfall. She told us about the Falls Overlook, so off we went. There is a small parking lot where the Falls Overlook sign is (the park was not at all crowded yesterday but I'm sure it gets packed on nicer days; there is more parking scattered throughout the park; no roadside parking is allowed), then stairs leading down to the trail.

We went right and saw the first of two overlook areas. The first area has a lot of steps to go down with handrails to make it easier.

Coming around the bend in the stairs, you get your first look at the waterfall:

There aren't many waterfalls in Indiana (although we have more rivers than people realize...you do have to have water to farm) and this is only the second one Eric and I have been to together (the other is Cataract Falls). I love waterfalls and am glad we got to see this one running so well.

The first overlook is a concrete slab area. Several other people came down to join us while we were here. The view down the creek is nice, especially on this day with all the greenery and running water.

Eric decided to cross the stream via the rocks (I have photos that look almost exactly like this at several parks around the country).

Once he crossed he followed what he thinks was a beaver down to the falls! Very cool.

He made his way to the waterfall and found some fragile slate rock. He showed us how easy it was to break the rock (the falls are formed because of two different layers of rock present, one that erodes faster than the other making an outcrop that the water can fall over).

While Eric was still playing by the waterfall, his mom and I went back up the stairs to check out the other overlook.

This one awarded us some pretty fantastic photos. There are no stairs to get to this overlook, just walk back up Trail 3 for about 20 feet.

The falls were so pretty. I don't know what they look like on days when it hasn't rained so much, but what we saw was great for a small Indiana waterfall.

One very cool thing at this overlook was a podium that said to push the green button -- doing so resulted in a voice telling us more about the falls. Look for it and listen too!

Once we finished looking at the waterfall, we decided to continue on with Trail 3. The waterfall is the end of one side of this trail, so we went back down toward where we started and continued on.

Not much longer (maybe a quarter mile if that) we ran into the creek. We didn't bring our map and so weren't sure which way to go, as it appeared the trail crossed over the creek (we could see a trail on the other side and the sign post pointed that direction). We couldn't find a way to cross the creek without getting our shoes wet, so we turned around and headed back to the car. Afterward we looked at the map and it didn't look like we were supposed to cross the creek at all, so when you go you should take your map and follow it.

There is a Creekside Shelter (which is not on the map...) located here, too, which would be fun for a picnic. It's a neat small stone building right by the water.

McCormick's Creek is only 15 minutes from our house, so hopefully we can go back a few times this summer and fall while the weather is nice. There is also a campgrounds and lodge with restaurant here, along with some other amenities like horse rides and a swimming pool. It's a nice park to have less than 10 miles away from home!
Spencer, IN: McCormick's Creek State Park: Canyon Falls Overlook / Trail 3 Spencer, IN: McCormick's Creek State Park: Canyon Falls Overlook / Trail 3 Reviewed by Maria on 6:35:00 PM Rating: 5

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