Hestavaðsfoss, Iceland

As many European countries open up to vaccinated travelers, I figured it would be worth it to showcase the beauty of the country. Iceland is a stunningly beautiful country, and before Covid-19 appeared, I would hazard to say its beauty was overwhelming the country. For a country of 300,000 people, there were an insane number of visitors. And it’s understandable…in addition to the beauty, it’s easy to get around and communicate in Iceland. Now that travel is popping back up, it could become that way, but I’m hoping Iceland keeps some of its isolated charm.

There is what is referred to as the Golden Triangle in Iceland, which is where most tourists visit. If you can get outside of the Golden Triangle to the north or east of Iceland, you can find some of that isolated charm. Skógafoss is still close enough to Reykjavík that it isn’t wildly isolated, but it is honestly quieter than some of the waterfalls in the Golden Triangle. Skógafoss is a really beautiful waterfall that can be seen from the Ring Road, and the village/town around it is definitely interesting.

When I first visited Iceland in 2012, I didn’t know that there were other waterfalls above Skógafoss. There is a trail (Fimmvorduhals) that continues along the Skóga River for about 25 kilometers or so, and there are many drops along the River. I didn’t go the whole way, but if you hike up the 500 steps to the right of Skógafoss, you’ll get a great view of the Atlantic, but if you continue for just a short distance you’ll stumble upon Hestavaðsfoss.

At 30′ tall or so, Hestavaðsfoss isn’t as mesmerizing as Skógafoss, but it has a completely different “look”, and so is worth the hike, I believe. The climb up the stairs isn’t too bad, honestly, and I’m someone that doesn’t care for heights.

Directions:

  1. Just over 150 kilometers east outside of Reykjavik along the Ring Road (Iceland Road 1), you’ll come to the village of Skogar. If coming from Reykjavik, it will be on the left/north.
  2. There will be a sign indicating the turn to Skogafoss. Turn left onto that road. Head to approved parking areas for Skogafoss.
  3. Once you’ve visited Skogafoss, look for the trail/steps on the right of Skogafoss that lead uphill. Follow that path and then go a bit further from the viewpoint to see Hestavaðsfoss.

Accessibility: 6/10 (Moderate)

Height: 30′

Length of Hike: 0.6 miles round-trip

Hestavaðsfoss in July 2017

Where in the World is Hestavaðsfoss?

Juneau Creek Falls, Alaska

Juneau Creek Falls in June 2021

I had the chance to visit Alaska again this June (inexpensive airline fares, only complicated by limited rental car availability). I took my partner and my sister’s family of five, for a total of 7 people! We started out in Anchorage and then headed south to Girdwood. I was trying to figure out something to do one day, and Juneau Creek Falls popped up as being not that far away.

We packed everyone up and headed to the Resurrection Pass Trail Head along AK-1. It was just under an hour drive from our AirBnB in Girdwood. We parked our van at the parking area, and started along our journey. There were four adult, two teenagers, and a 3 year old!

The hike isn’t terrible, it’s just much longer than advertised. Many websites report this hike as a 7-8 mile hike (round-trip), but it rings in at 9+ miles round-trip. There is some up and down portions, but it then levels off as you approach the falls. It isn’t extremely clear where the trail veers off toward the falls, but luckily, there are multiple paths that will get you to a viewpoint of the falls.

The falls are much larger than they appear. I’m guessing they are about 100′ tall, and maybe 20′ wide. Even standing rather far away, you can feel the spray from the falls. My nephew, who is extremely “brave”, did figure out a path down to the base, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s a very steep and rather large drop-off.

The return hike is somewhat easier because you tend to know how the hike is going to go, and it’s mostly downhill from there. The test was my 3 year old niece. I wondered how she would fare on what turned out to be a 9 mile hike, but she was a champ. That’s a relatively good indication that it isn’t extremely strenuous…maybe just moderate in difficulty due to the length of the hike.

Directions:

  1. AK-1 is a rather long road in Alaska, so you’re looking for the piece on the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage and Girdwood. You can set your GPS to Cooper Landing or to Resurrection Pass Trailhead South Parking. The parking is further to the west.
  2. Once you reach the parking area, you can start your journey. The path is very well kept, and is relatively quiet, though there were mountain bikers that passed us.
  3. I would recommending downloading maps on your phone so that the phone GPS can guide you to where the falls are. There is a campground north of the falls, and so if you’ve reached the campground, you’ve passed the falls.
  4. The falls will be to the right of the main trail. As I said, there are a few side-trails that lead to the falls, and they are all relatively equal in difficulty/safety.

Accessibility: 6/10 (Moderate)

Height: ~100′

Length of Hike: 9 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Juneau Creek Falls?

Williamsport Falls, Indiana

A waterfall in Indiana
Williamsport Falls in June 2020

I’m getting to write about the last waterfall stop on our road trip from Las Vegas to Michigan a few months after it started. Winter break has now arrived, and so I have some time to write about a few waterfalls before the next semester starts.

Williamsport Falls is definitely a popular waterfall, though it would be even busier if it were near a busy city. It’s found in western Indiana about 1.5 hours northwest of Indianapolis. It’s directly in the town/village/city of Williamsport. Once you find the parking area for the falls, you can view this impressive 90′ pretty quickly from above.

You can also hike down to the base of the falls, which we decided not to do since we had been traveling and hiking for a few days before this, and we just kind of wanted to get home. The view from above was more than adequate, and it was rather busy at the base. This was in early June, though the weather was a bit warm and humid in this area, which encouraged others to find an interesting water source…why wouldn’t you choose a tall waterfall?

Directions:

  1. From I-74, take exit 15 onto US-41 north.
  2. Continue along US-41 north for 15 miles or so.
  3. US-41 does a few twists and turns. In Attica, you will veer/stay left on US-41.
  4. After 2 miles, you’ll turn left onto S River Road. S River Road will turn into S 3rd Street right before you turn onto E Monroe Street.
  5. Turn right onto E Monroe Street and continue for about 0.7 miles. The parking area will be to the right behind some buildings along E Monroe Street. There was very clear signage to find the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (Easy)

Height: 90′

Length of Hike: roadside

Where in the World is Williamsport Falls?

White Alloe Creek Falls, Missouri

White Branch Falls in early June 2020

I had previously flown into Kansas City to visit some waterfalls in eastern Kansas and outside Kansas City, but I did not see this waterfall pop up in my searches from years ago. As we were traveling cross-country, I searched for Missouri waterfalls, and this falls appeared. I did a bit of research and found out the falls are in the Parkville Nature Sanctuary northwest of Kansas City.

The falls are often referred to as the Parkville Nature Sanctuary waterfall. I have been informed that the falls are on White Alloe Creek, so I decided to refer to them as White Alloe Creek Falls, which is a bit easier to communicate.

When we arrived at the parking area for the nature sanctuary, it was warm and humid. Luckily, the path was mostly shaded, and the hike is relatively short. It’s just under 1 mile round-trip and is on mostly level ground. Even then, we were still sweating a lot. But once you near the waterfall, it definitely cools down a bit. The waterfall isn’t tall, but it is definitely a beautiful waterfall. It’s a pleasant surprise, one that I would definitely direct people to for a day hike in the Kansas City area.

Directions:

  1. From I-635, you want to end up on MO-9, heading northwest.
  2. Continue on MO-9 into Parkville. You will need to turn right to stay on MO-9.
  3. In between 12th Street and 13th Street (on the right), you will find parking for the Parkville Nature Sanctuary.
  4. After parking, you will find signs that direct you the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (Easy)

Height: 20′

Length of Hike: 0.9 miles round-trip

Where in the World is White Alloe Creek Falls?

Geary Lake Falls, Kansas

After our road trip from Nevada to Michigan, I started teaching and didn’t get to write about some of the other waterfalls we stopped to visit along the way. So now it’s time to catch up a bit! We stopped at waterfalls in Utah and Colorado, and then drove into Kansas. Kansas doesn’t have many waterfalls on the west side of the state, but there are definitely a few on the east side of the state.

One that is relatively easy to visit off of the interstate is Geary Lake Falls, which is found in the Geary State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area. Once you find the parking area, which isn’t difficult, it’s an easy hike to the falls. From other articles, it seemed like it was steep hike to the falls, but it was more of just slippery as you approached the falls.

The falls were definitely flowing when we arrived, and the falls were surprisingly pretty. (I wasn’t sure what to expect.) The one thing that you’ll find in other waterfall seekers’ descriptions of Geary Lake Falls is the snakes…There are definitely water snakes found in the ponds and stream below the falls. While I’m not a big fan of snakes, they don’t bother me so much and I went on photographing the falls. My partner, on the other hand, is not a big fan of snakes and it bothered him.

Directions:

  1. From I-70 near Junction City, take exit 295 for US-77.
  2. Head south on US-77 for just over 7 miles to Geary Lake.
  3. The waterfall is located in the northwest part of the wildlife area, so to get closer to the falls, you want to turn left on the first road that leads into Geary Lake. On Google Maps, this is named State Lake Road.
  4. Take State Lake Road to its end. You should find a parking area here. If you look downhill, you’ll see a path that leads you along the northern edge of the lake. This path leads you to the waterfall.
  5. Follow that path along the lake. When you reach the end of that specific path, you’ll see another path heading downhill. Go downhill and follow that, and you’ll arrive at the falls!

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 35′
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip

Geary Lake Falls in June 2020

Where in the World is Geary Lake Falls?

Rifle Falls, Colorado

In June, I went on a road trip (social distancing style) from Las Vegas to Michigan. The first waterfall stop on the trip was Lower Calf Creek Falls. The next stop was in Colorado. The waterfalls we visited had to be easy to get to from the main freeways and also had to be shorter hikes. Rifle Falls fits into both of those categories.

From the parking area, it was an easy hike to Rifle Falls, a fascinating waterfall. A sign near the falls says the waterfall likely formed when minerals built up around a beaver dam (or something of that sort). I don’t know if I’ve stopped at any other falls that may have been formed that way. At the falls, there are multiple different viewpoints. It is one of those that definitely changes as you’re looking at it from the sides versus head-on, and that makes it fun to photograph. It’s definitely a waterfall that’s worth a stop if you’re along I-70 in Colorado.

Directions:

  1. We were headed east through Colorado along I-70 and took exit 87 before Rifle.
  2. We then turned left onto US-6, which follows I-70 into Rifle. Before entering Rifle, we turned left onto CO-13.
  3. CO-13 skirts Rifle and then just north of Rifle, we turned right onto CO-325 heading north.
  4. Rifle Falls State Park is on CO-325, but you veer right and then left before arriving. When you reach the Rifle Gap Reservoir, you veer right, and then when CO-325 splits with Road 226, you veer left again. It’s pretty hard to miss Rifle Falls State Park if you stay on CO-325.
  5. From the parking area, you head north to see Rifle Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (Easy)

Height: 70′

Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Rifle Falls in June 2020

Lower Calf Creek Falls, Utah

Lower Calf Creek Falls in June 2020

In the past week, my boyfriend and I have been traveling from Las Vegas to Michigan. I took this as an opportunity to find some waterfalls that I had been wanting to visit, but were a bit out-of-the-way. One of these is Lower Calf Creek Falls, which is in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Nevada. It is a bit out of the way, and yet still surprisingly well visited.

Lower Calf Creek Falls flows pretty well in many months, which isn’t always the case for many waterfalls in the desert. This probably explains why it is a bit more popular than the average waterfall. It also helps that the hike and the waterfall are both wonderful.

The hike is not particularly difficult, but it is a 6 mile round-trip hike. I have to admit it did feel a bit longer than 6 miles round-trip, but it was still enjoyable. We showed up at 4 pm in early June, and that was honestly the perfect time to start the hike. It was still warm outside, but the hike was mostly shaded, and it cooled down on the return. During the middle of the day, the hike could have been a bit less enjoyable. During other times of the year, you would likely want to get an earlier start.

Directions:

  1. There aren’t many options to get to the falls. You have to drive on UT-12, either south from Torrey or northwest from Bryce. (Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park and/or Capitol Reef National Park at the same time would definitely be an option.)
  2. The Calf Creek Campground is the starting point for the hike. You follow the trail to the falls…

Accessibility: 7/10 (moderate)
Height: 126′
Length of Hike: 6 miles round-trip

Likeke Falls, Hawaii

Likeke Falls in March 2020

I have visited Hawaii a number of times before. I started on Maui, and then the Big Island, and then Kauai. I left Oahu for later because there didn’t seem to be as many interesting and easily accessible waterfalls on the island. So in March, I had a chance to stop on Oahu for a few days, and I tried to identify what might be the easiest waterfall to visit, and Likeke Falls was the choice.

I had read directions online that said the quicker route to get to Likeke Falls started at Ko’olau Golf Club, and should only be a 15 minute hike. After 45 minutes to an hour of searching, I wondered where I had gone wrong, but I knew I had gone wrong somewhere. We were consistently climbing uphill, and I could tell on Google Maps that we were somehow getting further away from the waterfall! We turned around once we realized this, and then took another wrong turn! If you find the correct spot to veer off the main trail, it is indeed a quick hike. So just pay attention to one detail…

At the Golf Club, we parked further away from the clubhouse, and found the trail relatively quickly. We proceeded toward the water tower, which has been painted by many people. Veer left once you reach the water tower. You’ll end up on a stone pathway. Now here’s the important part…after 5 minutes or so on this pathway, you’ll reach a split in the trail, which wasn’t obvious even though I had seen pictures. There is a tree that has carvings in it on your right, and as of March 2020, there was also blue paint with an arrow. (I’ve included the picture of the important tree at the bottom.) You want to veer to the right here. If you continue along the main trail, it turns into a much longer slog. If you veer right, it’s a short uphill climb to Likeke Falls.

The waterfall isn’t necessarily the prettiest of waterfalls, but many of the interesting waterfalls on Oahu are either closed or require longer hikes. If the hike takes you 15 minutes, it’s definitely a worthwhile waterfall to visit, as it definitely gives you a tropic, lush island vibe.

The important tree…take a right when you see this tree!

Directions:

  1. From Kaneohe, head south on HI-83.
  2. Turn right onto Kahiko Street, which will be right before the intersection of HI-83 and Interstate H3.
  3. You will then turn left onto Kahiko Street after 100 feet or so. You will then go under H3.
  4. Continue for just under 1 mile on Kahiko Street, which turns into Kionaole Street.
  5. Turn right to head toward the Ko’olau Golf Club. Park in the southeast corner of the parking lot away from the club.
  6. The trail starts heading uphill, and refer to the notes above to prevent getting discombobulated!

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: 0.8 miles round-trip

Cascata De Fervença, Portugal

My partner and I visited Portugal in December, and one of our goals was to find a waterfall outside of Lisbon. There are a few, and one of the larger ones is the Cascata De Fervença. It’s about a 30 minute drive outside of central Lisbon, but we didn’t drive.

To make it more interesting, and because there were other items of interest nearby, we took the train to Sintra, which is a touristy town. In Sintra, there is a national park with a number of fascinating stops, including the Castleo dos Mouros. When we got off the train in Sintra, we wandered around for a bit, but I knew that Cascata De Fervença almost a 4 mile hike one-way from the train station in Sintra. So we opened up Uber, and obtained a ride to the waterfall.

Our first driver didn’t speak much English, and when he arrived at the location we had indicated, he was a bit confused. There was no waterfall in sight, so he wondered why we wanted to go to this random spot. My partner got out of the car and looked around for a bit, and then I noticed a paved road heading downhill from the main road. From Google Maps, I sensed that we needed to head that direction to find the waterfall. And lo and behold, there was definitely a waterfall down at the end of the paved road.

At 30′ (10 meters) high, the waterfall was impressive. There was something very beautiful about finding this waterfall when you didn’t expect it from the main road. The photos came out beautiful, but it does seem to be a dumping ground for marble and rocks, oddly enough. After hanging out there for about 30 minutes, we headed back up the paved road and obtained an Uber back to Sintra.

Directions:

  1. As I mentioned, we started out in Lisbon. Lisbon has what is called the Lisboa Card, which allows for unlimited travel on the subway/metro, bus, tram, and trains. We purchased the 72 hour option, and then use the metro to get to the train, and the train to get to Sintra.
  2. From Sintra, we set our Uber location (which you could use as the location if you decided to walk or drive as the Restaurant Retiro do Baião (which didn’t seem open in December). I don’t remember if the Uber app had a location for the actual waterfall.
  3. When you get to Retiro do Baião, you want to turn around, head southwest, pass a residence, and then head downhill. The road is paved and it will veer left. You will pass what looks like a marble/mining operation.
  4. The paved road will end and there is a short foot path to the falls.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip

Cascata De Fervença in December 2019

Where in the World is Cascata De Fervença?

Stone Creek Falls, Nebraska

I’m finally getting to a number of waterfalls I visited in the past six months. Due to Covid-19, I haven’t done much exploring lately, and have elected to stay at home. The outdoors might be the best place to visit, especially when social distancing guidelines seem to be followed. (If you’re reading this in a few years, and you don’t understand, well…good?)

In November 2019 (before the world changed), I was visiting Omaha, and was looking for waterfalls in the area. I happened to stumble upon one online, though it wasn’t advertised a lot. Stone Creek Falls popped up on a few other blogs and sites, and it seemed easy enough to visit as it was just outside of Omaha. So we headed out to Platte River State Park.

The Platte River runs next to the state park, but the waterfall is not on the Platte River. I’m assuming it would be on Stone Creek, which flows into the Platte River. Oddly enough, you can’t even see the Platte River very well because a railroad owns the property directly adjacent to the river.

The hike from the parking area is relatively short. It only took 10-15 minutes or so. The trail wasn’t a difficult hike, either. Even though it isn’t a tall waterfall, it’s one that can be quick to visit if you’re in or close to Omaha.

Directions:

  1. From I-80 W south of Omaha, take the exit onto NE-66 heading east.
  2. Follow NE-66 E (E Park Highway) until you reach 346th Street.
  3. Turn left onto 346th Street heading north toward Platte River State Park.
  4. After entering the park, turn left away from the Park Headquarters. A short distance after that, you’ll find a trail head for the waterfall. You don’t have to enter the camping area.
  5. Follow the Stone Creek trail to Stone Creek Falls.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 6′
Length of Hike: 0.6 miles round-trip

IMG_20191124_140138

Stone Creek Falls in November 2019

Where in the World is Stone Creek Falls?