We set out to explore the wilderness of Western Indiana and had quite an adventure! The only planned destination: Fall Creek Gorge Nature Preserve near Attica in Warren County. From there we found two more of Indiana's natural wonders.
First, breakfast. Just inside the door of Crossroads Family Restaurant in Attica is a photo of a frozen waterfall. “Williamsport Falls - it’s just down the road,” the cashier tells Joanna and me. We smile – oh, yeah!
Fall Creek Gorge is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy.
Fall Creek Gorge Nature Preserve is best known for the exceptionally large potholes in the stream bed – some as large as 20 feet in diameter. Having just seen the end of a heavy rain, the sun came out as we headed into the woods. Within seconds we were greeted along the trail by a lush display of mushrooms and fungi! Sandstone cliffs support an array of mosses and ferns. The tranquility of trickling and rushing water, moss-covered cliffs and sharing the spot with a friend makes me appreciate the preservation efforts of Indiana’s forefathers and current caretakers. The preserve was dedicated in 1986. Note: parking is limited.
An abundance of mushrooms and fungi greet visitors along the trail after a rain.
Mosses, ferns and other plants are abundant throughout the property.
A trail leads from the parking lot down into Fall Creek Gorge.
Leaving Fall Creek Gorge, we ask for directions to Williamsport Falls. “Follow me, I’ll take you there,” a local gentleman offers. About four miles later in downtown Williamsport, behind a row of buildings, a wide trail leads to the streambed. Following the roar of water, we’re met by the tallest waterfalls in Indiana! The spectacular falls and sandstone ‘amphitheater’ welcome our camera lenses and draw us in. Note: the falls are “intermittent.” Any time of year, the streambed still offers an interesting geological mix of potholes and troughs.
Texas Longhorns dot a field on the way to Portland Arch Nature Preserve. The preserve, dedicated in 1972, is a National Natural Landmark. The natural arch in the sandstone was carved by a small tributary of Bear Creek. One of Indiana's natural wonders, Williamsport Falls is featured on the cover of the 2018 Indiana Roadway Map, order one here.
White pine and hemlock relics, a pawpaw grove and walnut trees are scattered throughout the property. Mushrooms and fungi dot the forest floor. Ferns and liverworts abound. Blueberry, huckleberry and wintergreen are a few of the unique plants found here. The 0.8 mile trail through the ravine gives visitors a superb sense of the richness of life growing in sandstone ravines and on rock walls.
Wet, muddy and happy, we leave Portland Arch and head to Rockville for dinner at Mario Brothers Mexican restaurant. Sorry about the mud on our shoes! Another great adventure wandering Indiana with Joanna!