The main drop of Peavine Falls you’ll find
This past weekend, I flew into Birmingham, Alabama to spend some time with some friends. I had a few hours to go and find a waterfall or two, and decided that Peavine Falls would be the closest, simplest option. (I say that when I really had no clue what level of difficulty the hike to Peavine Falls would be.)
Oak Mountain State Park is a beautiful park outside of Birmingham. The views from the outlook along the way to the falls are spectacular. Once you arrive at the parking area for the falls, you’ll have an enjoyable hike to a larger-than-expected waterfall, Peavine Falls. In mid-April, the falls were flowing pretty well. I can imagine that as the summer progresses, that these falls might have a lower volume of water.
The hike from the designated parking area is rather short, though as you approach the falls, it can get slightly confusing. You’ll still end up at the falls, and there are many ways to reach the base. But there are almost too many ways, and too many signs direct you back to parking. We followed one of these signs, only to end up at another drop of Peavine Falls. So…if you have a few hours to explore, you’ll find more than one drop to the falls! (Finding these other drops likely means you’re headed further downhill, and you’ll need to head back uphill to get back to the parking area.)
- You’ll want to get on I-65 south of Birmingham. Take exit 246 from I-65 (signed as Cahaba Valley Road).
- Turn right onto AL-119 South (Cahaba Valley Road).
- Very quickly after turning right, you’ll turn left onto Oak Mountain Park Road.
- Continue on Oak Mountain Park Road to the intersection with John Findlay Dr. Turn left onto John Findlay Dr.
- Continue on John Findlay Dr for 2.6 miles.
- Turn right onto Terrace Drive. Drive along this road until you reach the end of the road (essentially), which will be the parking area for Peavine Falls.
- Follow the blue or white blazed trails to the falls.
Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Length of Hike: 1 mile round-trip
A drop downstream that I wasn’t expecting to find
Where in the World is Peavine Falls?
Kansas is another one of those states that you don’t expect to find many waterfalls. And there aren’t a whole lot of extremely exciting waterfalls here. Of the four waterfalls I visited in April 2014, I would say Bourbon Lake Falls was probably the most interesting.
At 30′ tall, it’s a relatively nice waterfall, and it had some water flowing over it, enough to make the visit worthwhile. From what I understand, there’s only a few months of the year (April to June) where it will be a worthwhile visit. It dries up later in the year as the lake level lowers. I have seen pictures of the falls in higher flow times. The other waterfalls I visited didn’t have a large amount of water flowing either, so I’m guessing it was just a low water year.
- There are numerous ways to arrive at the falls, so I’ll describe one way that’s not particularly difficult. From US-59 south of Moran, turn at the junction of US-59 and KS-203, which at different points in time will be called First Street, Delaware Road, and Indian Road. If you’re headed south on US-59, it would be a left turn.
- Continue on First/Delaware/Indian and then turn left on 20th Street after a few miles. (You’ll be extremely close to Bourbon Lake.)
- Drive to the end of 20th Street and turn right on Ivory Road. It’s a gravel road, but you’ll be traveling a short distance just past a little area where you can tell cars have parked before (just past the small bridge over the spillway-related creek).
- Park your car and follow the trail to the falls. (You’ll be following the stream/creek upstream toward the falls.)
Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip
Bourbon Lake Falls in April 2014
Where in the World is Bourbon Lake Falls?
I’ve had the chance to visit Mingo Falls twice, once in late April 2013 and then just a few weeks ago in early March 2017. I hadn’t looked at the two pictures side by until just recently, and realized Mingo Falls could present very different personalities depending on the time of year.
Let’s start by stating: Mingo Falls is a fun waterfall to visit. It’s right at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and is a few minutes drive from Cherokee (which is a town I could visit pretty frequently, especially in non-peak season). The first time I visited, I made sure to see Mingo Falls. The second visit, I had time to kill before the sunset, and figured I should go and see Mingo Falls again. I’m glad I did.
In late April, the leaves on the trees were emerging and so they covered up part of the falls. That wasn’t a problem in early March! What’s also striking is the amount of water flowing over the falls. After doing a bit of research, I found that this year (2017) has been a rather dry year in the Great Smoky Mountains region. Many of the falls were not as intense as I expected. As you can see, much more water was flowing in late April of 2013 than this year. (Usually, as the spring progresses toward summer, the opposite holds true.)
Late April 2013
Early March 2017
One issue with writing about waterfalls sometime after I visit them is I don’t always remember the fine details. When I arrived this year, I was surprised to find steps leading up most of the way to the falls. I don’t exactly remember that the last time, but it was four years ago…It is a short hike, but it is also consistently uphill. You’ll get a bit of exercise. I probably went a bit too fast on the way up, as I could feel the burn.
- You want to end up on Big Cove Road (Road 1410), and there are a few different ways to get there. If you’re on US-441 in Cherokee headed toward the Smoky Mountains Park entrance, you could turn right onto Acquoni Road, and then very soon after turn left onto Big Cove. (If you miss that, there’s another road that leads to Big Cove right after that.)
- Drive for approximately 3.5 miles on Big Cove Road.
- There should be a sign for Mingo Falls, turn right onto Sherrill Cove Road. Literally a few hundred feet after this turn is the parking area for Mingo Falls. (Some GPS systems might direct you to turn onto Sherrill Cove Road much earlier, but ignore this. Sherrill Cove Road is a very narrow, winding dirt road, whereas Big Cove Falls is a paved road.)
- It’s an uphill hike from the parking area.
Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate, this would be fine for kids, it’s just almost all uphill with stairs)
Length of Hike: 0.8 miles round-trip
Where in the World is Mingo Falls?
Takakkaw Falls in September 2014
I’m not even sure I can accurately describe the awesomeness that is Takakkaw Falls. At 1250′ tall, Takakkaw Falls is one of those waterfalls that’s stunning and yet difficult to capture it’s true height.
Takakkaw Falls is found in Yoho National Park, which is a stunningly beautiful park in British Columbia. (Banff National Park is right across the “border” in Alberta, and you should plan to visit both parks simultaneously.) In Yoho, there are a number of impressive waterfalls. While Wapta Falls is nowhere near as tall, it is much wider. Takakkaw wins in the height department, though.
The road to the falls is narrow and winding (and only open for a few months in the summer), with some surprisingly sharp curves. Once you get to the falls, though, it’s smooth sailing. There’s no real hike required to get to the falls, but you can walk on the trails to get a much closer view. If you look at the picture, you just might notice some red dots near the base of the falls, which are people getting a better look.
While you’re already rewarded with a great view of Takakkaw Falls, Whiskey Jack Falls is across the road. If you plan far enough in advance, you could even stay at the hostel near the falls. If you want to hike further (which I didn’t do), there are four other waterfalls along another trail that starts at Takakkaw Falls. (It’s a 10 mile round trip hike…)
- From the Trans-Canadian Highway 1, take Yoho Valley Road north to Takakkaw Falls. (The signs for Takakkaw Falls are very obvious.)
- The parking are for the falls will be on your right, and you’ll be able to see Takakkaw Falls from there. There’s a trail that leads you much closer to the falls.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Hike: not applicable
Where in the World is Takakkaw Falls?
Salmon Cascades in June 2016
The Salmon Cascades aren’t probably a waterfall that I’d go out of my to visit if it weren’t for a few things. First, it’s a quick stop along the way to the very impressive Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park. Second, if you show up at the right time of the year, you may see salmon jumping up the falls to go further upstream. Hence the name Salmon Cascades.
The falls themselves are only about 5′ tall, so they’re nothing to get too excited about. Depending on how you classify waterfalls, they might not even fall into that category. It’s such a quick stop and short hike to the river, though, that there’s no reason not to take a look.
- From US-101, turn onto Sol Duc Hot Springs Road. If you’re heading west along US-101, it’s a left turn.
- Drive just over 7 miles to the Salmon Cascades parking area on your right. It’s not a big parking area.
- The falls are a very short jaunt from the parking area.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Length of Hike: negligible (essentially roadside)
I pulled into what I thought was the parking area for Springfield Falls, only to find out that I was just a bit off. There’s a jeweler’s shop right near the falls, but that’s not where you want to start your short journey. (Some place on the web says to start here. It’s not even a good place to view the falls.) After someone let me know, I went a bit further down the road to the official parking area.
From the official parking area, it’s extremely easy to get to Springfield Falls. There’s a short downhill hike to get a view of the falls. At about 15′ tall, it’s not a big waterfall, but I do find that it’s a very photogenic waterfall. Even on a sunny day (which isn’t usually great for waterfalls), you’ll likely get some good shots.
- There are multiple different ways to arrive at Springfield Falls, so let me give you a general sense of it’s location. If you’re on I-80, you would take exit 15.
- You would head south on US-19 for just over 3.5 miles.
- If you were heading south, you’d turn left onto Leesburg Station Road (Road 2002). Go past the jewelers, and continue onto Falls Road.
- After a very short distance, you’ll come to a parking area on your right, and the falls will be to your left across the road from the parking area.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip (at most)
Springfield Falls in October 2015
Where in the World is Springfield Falls?
Kjosfossen in May 2015
I’m trying to figure out where to start this post. Is this a post about a waterfall or a post about a railroad? Let’s see if I can sort out the answer to my own question. I’m guessing you can’t disconnect the two in this case.
Kjosfossen is a beautiful waterfall. It’s a very-easy-to-visit waterfall, and yet the only way that you’re going to see it is via the Flåm Railway. If you’re in the Bergen area and you have the time (or if you’re traveling between Oslo and Bergen), you should take the time to visit Flåm. From Flåm, you have many options. You can take a cruise through Nærøyfjord and see the many Waterfalls in Nærøyfjord. Without much planning, you can hike to Brekkefossen. A third option would be to take the Flåm Railway from Flåm to Myrdal (or vice-versa).
Along the way, you’ll see a number of waterfalls. Kjosfossen and Rjoandefossen are the two more impressive falls along the way, with Kjosfossen being the main attraction because there is a designated stop just to see the waterfall. Along the journey, you’re given a few minutes to get out and take pictures of the falls. There’s even a platform that allows you to get these amazing views…if it weren’t there, you wouldn’t have any chance of getting this close since the cliffs are pretty steep in this area. Part of the excitement of the trip is that you’re climbing 2,833 feet over 12.5 miles, with a big portion of that climb in the latter half of the trip.
- You want to get to Flåm, which is along the E16 Highway. Enjoy the trip…it’s a curvy drive and there are a LOT of long tunnels near Flåm.
- In Flåm, purchase tickets for the trip. I would suggest purchasing tickets for later in the day. Some of the trains were sold out and packed. I waited for the last trip of the day and the train was maybe 1/4 full. It was awesome, to say the least.
- One of the stops is for Kjosfossen, so enjoy the view!
Height: 735′ (though you can’t see all 735’…)
Length of Hike: “roadside”
Where in the World is Kjosfossen?