Two Falls Trail
Please note: As of March 21, 2020, the US Army Corps of Engineers has closed public access to the Cagles Mill Lake property due to the Coronavirus outbreak. This includes the Two Falls Trail. The property is not scheduled to reopen until May 11, 2020. Please check back here for updates.
There’s an interesting feature around every bend of this short trail at Cagles Mill Lake near Cloverdale, Indiana. From scenic views of the lake near the dam to towering trees on the hillsides, you’ll discover a fascinating woodland pocket at this US Army Corps of Engineers property. The trail’s name refers to two ephemeral waterfalls that flow over steep rock overhangs near the trail. One waterfall is near the south end of the loop while the other is at the north end. The 1.4 mile loop trail was built by the Hoosier Hikers Council in 2019, and it has a mostly gentle grade that would be enjoyable for hikers of all ages.
The trail starts just north of the Army Corps office located near the Cagles Mill Lake dam. You’ll walk about 100 feet from the parking lot to an opening in the woods and an access trail which leads to the loop. Consider turning right at the end of the access trail and walking the loop counter-clockwise so you’ll see the large bowl that’s been carved out of the hillside near the end of your journey.
Winding down the ridge behind the office, you may catch a glimpse of a bald eagle as you get closer to the lake. During the spring, as you go back up from the lake, listen for the first waterfall. You’ll see it across the ravine, and you’ll find another view of it from above on the other side of the ravine. Spring also brings migrating birds and colorful wildflowers such as Trout Lilies and Dolls Eye. As you continue along the trail you’ll climb slowly back up the ridge through large oak and hickory trees until you finally round the top of the loop and come to the giant bowl into which the second waterfall flows. Words and photos can’t convey the size of this rock formation, so you’ll have to see it for yourself!
The Two Falls Trail starts near the US Army Corps of Engineers office at the north end of Cagles Mill Lake. When you visit, you’ll need to approach the dam from the south to reach the office; the road north of the dam is gated. See the Google Map below for the location of the dam. If you zoom in, you’ll see the office.
Cagles Mill Lake is also home to Lieber State Recreation Area and Cataract Falls State Recreation Area. If you’ve never been to Cataract Falls, it’s worth your time to go see what Wikipedia calls “the largest waterfall by volume in the state”. The falls is about a 25-minute drive southeast from the Two Falls Trail. Lieber State Recreation Area offers camping and limited hiking, and many people enjoy boating on Cagles Mill Lake.