Friday, October 8, 2010

Portland Arch and Fall Creek Gorge

A nice daytrip from Indianapolis or Chicago is the combination of the Portland Arch and Fall Creek Gorge (known by locals as The Potholes).

Portland Arch
Portland Arch
Portland Arch is a beautiful sandstone gorge and natural bridge formed by water eroding an archway under a large sandstone hill. While the Arch is the focal point, hiking the scenic gorge almost makes you feel like you’re in southern Utah instead of western Indiana.

The hike from the parking lot to the arch only takes about 5-10 minutes. If you continue on the trail you’ll follow the gorge and eventually make a loop back to the main parking lot. You might want to drive a quarter mile down the road from the main parking lot and there’s another smaller lot and trailhead that leads to another loop trail that follows a shallower section of the gorge.

Fall Creek Gorge (The Potholes)
Only 17 miles north of Portland Arch is a lesser known natural feature called Fall Creek Gorge, better know as The Potholes.

Finding The Potholes is a bit tricky. Take Hwy. 41 North. 4.4 miles north of Attica turn right (north) on Potholes Rd. Go 1.7 miles on the gravel road and look for the parking lot on the left just before the bridge.

The Potholes
The Potholes are literally big holes in the sandstone creek bed ranging from about two to six feet across and up to four or five feet deep. When I visited the area was in the third month of a major drought so there wasn’t much water running through the creek, but locals told me tubing down the steep creek descent is a popular pastime.

I felt luck to be there during the drought since it allowed me to walk the creek bed and get a close look at the giant potholes. The creek holding The Potholes also has a series of small waterfalls in it’s descent into the gorge. Even in the drought the waterfalls had water flowing.

My neighbor’s dog was with me on the trip and as we walked the creek bed he slipped into one of the potholes. He enjoyed the dip and scrambled out and had a nice shake to dry off. He then proceeded to play in the creek for the next 15 minutes. If you’re going to try to walk the creek bed I’d recommend leaving the cell phone and camera in your car. You’ll be wading ankle high one minute and then slip into a three-foot deep pothole the next.

You can easily take in both the Portland Arch and The Potholes in the span of four or five hours.

1 comment:

  1. June 2013.
    FYI, due largely to overuse and abuse Falls Creek Gorge now has signs banning everything but walking trails.
    DnR conservation officers can and will write tickets nowadays.
    Local police and volunteer monitors also contribute to help keep the area safe and preserved for future generations of people and native species both.
    Past decades have seen theft, injuries, alcohol/drug use, dumping, vandalism, and death/destruction of the floral and fauna. All these human activities work against the mission statement to "preserve" the area.
    I embrace the leave no trace ethic so I u understand.