The Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur, Oklahoma has a number of odd waterfalls. I think that’s probably the best way to describe them. Some of them don’t seem natural, but I include them anyway because somehow it’s been decided they’re important enough to be named.
There’s Little Niagara Falls, Bear Falls, and Cave Island Falls in addition to this fourth falls, Garfield Falls. They are all barely 5′ tall at the highest. There is supposed to be another waterfall in the Recreation Area, but I couldn’t easily find the falls. The Chickasaw NRA is honestly a beautiful place to visit, even if it isn’t for the waterfalls. The trails around the park were definitely enjoyable.
From US-177 in Sulphur (at the intersection of OK-7), head south along US-177.
There are two entrances that will both lead you to the same general location. The first option is to turn left onto Perimeter Road soon after that intersection. The second option is to head just under a mile south and turn left (on what might also be Perimeter Road). Why would you choose the second? Part of the drive is one-way, and the only way to get to the falls from the first entrance is to drive over the river at some point. When I was there in early March, the river over the road, and there was no way I was going to cross in my rental car. The second option avoided this river crossing.
If you choose the second, southern option, you can drive directly to the sign for the falls for Little Niagara. The other falls can be accessed along the trail nearby.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy) Height: 3′ Length of Hike: roadside
Lace Falls is a freebie that comes with a visit to one of the many waterfalls in Ithaca, New York. The interesting thing about the other waterfall is that it seems to have many different names: Wells Falls, Businessman’s Lunch Falls, or Van Natta’s Falls.
I don’t honestly remember the hike down to the falls as I visited Lace Falls 13 years ago and am just now getting to writing about it. Luckily I wrote about Wells Falls way back when, so the trail directions are down below. Once you get to the base of Wells Falls, Lace Falls is flowing off to the side. It’s a separate waterfall from Wells Falls. After a good rainfall, it will be impressive. If it’s been dry, there may not be much of a waterfall!
From the center of Ithaca, head out on East NY-79.
You’ll pass the intersection for NY-366, but do not turn here. Shortly after that, you’re going to turn onto Water St.
Water St. will end at the parking lot of a nature preserve that is right next to Six Mile Creek.
Park in the nature preserve and walk across Giles St. and over the bridge that crosses Six Mile Creek.
After you have passed the bridge, you have two options. First option: There is a trail that has been widely used that you will come up to first. This trail can give you some very good views of the crest of the falls, but not the base. If you continue on the trail, you will most likely end up with the trail ending abruptly. Second option: If you go a very short distance further, you’ll will notice a somewhat inclined trail/rock road/path that leads downward. If you follow this trail, you’ll end up with a much better view of the base of the falls. Try both options for multiple photo opportunities.
Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate) Height: 75′ Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip
Looking at the map just now, I didn’t realize (or maybe remember?) that Spoonauger Falls was so close to the South Carolina/Georgia border. Georgia’s just a stone’s throw from the Spoonauger Falls and it’s partner, Kings Creek Falls. I don’t remember going as far as Burrells Ford, but the road to the falls crosses over into Georgia.
I didn’t go as far as Burrells Ford because the parking area that leads to both falls is right before you would need to cross the Chattooga River. If you head right/north from the parking area, you’ll find Spoonauger Falls. If you head left/south, you’ll find Kings Creek Falls.
Spoonauger Falls is the shorter of the hikes, and is an easier, straight shoot to the falls. It must have been some uphill and downhill hiking since I rated it as a moderate hike. It’s a really beautiful waterfall, and the fact that it wasn’t too difficult to arrive at the falls and then hike to this and another waterfall makes it a worthwhile set of waterfalls to visit!
Drive along SC-107 (in between the North Carolina border and Oconee State Park).
Find Burrells Ford Road. If heading south along SC-107, it will be on your right. Turn onto Burrells Ford Road.
Drive for about 2.5 miles along the road to a parking area on your left. It’s mostly gravel, but it’s well kept.
Park and look for the kiosk near the front of the parking area. The trail to the falls starts right after the kiosk.
Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate) Height: 50′ Length of Hike: 0.6 miles round-trip
Starved Rock State Park is a wonderful state park to see some fascinating geological features and some amazing waterfalls if you show up at the right time! I’ve posted about LaSalle Canyon Falls and Wildcat Canyon Falls already.
There are many parking areas in the park that can lead to different canyons. St. Louis Canyon is unique in that it’s somewhat on the edge of the park. There’s a designated parking area for St. Louis Canyon off of IL-178. Once you park, you hike west and you’ll come to St. Louis Canyon Falls. You can continue on the Bluff Trail to the main parking area, which then leads to an extensive trail system which parallels the Illinois River.
The important thing to make your visit worthwhile. Visit in spring or after a good rainfall. The waterfalls in these canyons disappear after it gets warmer and drier. The area is still amazing, but if you’re looking for waterfalls, timing is important.
There are different parking areas in Starved Rock State Park. To most quickly access St. Louis Canyon Falls, the parking are is found directly off of IL-178 south of North Utica. If you reach the Grand Bear Resort, you’ve gone too far. The parking area will be on the left if you’re headed south.
From the parking area, follow the trail into St. Louis Canyon.
Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate) Height: 40′ Length of Hike: 0.8 miles round-trip
Cascade Springs Falls isn’t a large waterfall, but it’s one of the more interesting waterfalls (in a certain respect) in Georgia. If you head one or two hours outside of Atlanta, you can find a multitude of waterfalls in the north of the state. If you head south, there aren’t as many, with High Falls being the main one. But in Atlanta, there aren’t many.
But there is Cascade Springs Falls! Just to the west of the downtown, you can stumble upon this fun waterfall, which is in a fascinating nature preserve. When I visited, it honestly felt a bit out of place…I’m thinking there should be the hustle and bustle of a major city, and yet there’s this ethereal park where you’ll find some really random and interesting treasures.
The ethereal feeling might come from the hobbit-like spring pump house you’ll find as you approach the falls. There’s also Civil War earthworks, though I don’t have much recollection of seeing directions as where to look for those.
I’m not sure what the best way to approach the park is…so I’ll give directions from I-285, which might be the main road closest to the falls.
If you’re headed north on I-285 (north of the intersection of GA-154 or south of the intersection with I-20), you’ll come to exit 7, which is indicatively named Cascade Road.
If headed north, you’ll turn right onto Cascade Road. Head just under 1.5 miles along Cascade Road to the entrance/parking area for Cascade Springs Nature Preserve.
Follow a path south/southeast-ish to get to the falls.
Accessibility: 9/10 (easy) Length of Hike: 1.9 miles round-trip (though I don’t think it’s that long to the falls) Height: 6′
I will admit I forgot that Dutchman Falls exists. The hike to see Dutchman Falls is strenuous, but you get to see multiple other waterfalls. On the way there, you get to see the amazing Multnomah Falls. And then after the strenuous hike, you can see Weisendanger Falls and Ecola Falls. Refer to the Weisendanger Falls post for info about my attempts to see the falls.
Dutchman Falls is actually a very beautiful waterfall, but I think it gets lost when surrounded by the other amazing waterfalls. I remember Weisendanger Falls and Ecola Falls, though Ecola Falls is very difficult to photograph. Dutchman Falls is much easier to photograph, but doesn’t get advertised as much.
Take the exit off of I-84 toward the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Trail, and follow the road. It’s pretty hard to miss Multnomah Falls. The parking for the falls is actually right in the middle of the road.
From the parking area, start heading toward the bridge that crosses Multnomah Creek. This is a uphill climb to begin.
After crossing the bridge, you’ll have a 1 mile uphill hike. This is the part that’s tough. Once you reach switchback 9, you’ll head downhill.
After reaching that switchback and heading downhill, you’ll reach a split. If you head right (indicated by a sign), you’ll reach the Multnomah Falls upper viewpoint. If you head left along trail 441, that will lead toward Dutchman and Weisendanger Falls. Even if you miss this first left, there’s a left later on.
It’s about 0.2 miles further from the switchback to Weisendanger Falls. If you continue uphill beyond that, you’ll reach Ecola Falls.
Accessibility: 2/10 (strenuous) Length of Hike: 2.8 miles round-trip Height: 35′
Turtleback Falls is a bonus waterfall. If you’re in the area of Turtleback Falls, you’re likely visiting the much larger Rainbow Falls, which is on the same trail. Rainbow Falls clocks in at 125′, whereas Turtleback Falls is about 20′ tall, though it doesn’t look that tall because of the angle you’ll be viewing the falls.
The thing with waterfall explorers…I want to add Turtleback Falls to the list, so once I reach Rainbow Falls, I walk about 0.2 miles further to find Turtleback Falls. Now I’ve got another one to add to the list! Turtleback Falls is a pretty waterfall, and in another area of North Carolina even, it would be a worthwhile stop. But with Rainbow Falls downstream, it probably gets a bit lost on the radar of most people.
The hike to Rainbow and Turtleback Falls is not a quick one. It’s about 3 miles round-trip to Rainbow Falls, and then about 0.4 miles additional hiking to get to Turtleback Falls. I don’t distinctly remember the hike, but I’ve been trying to record “my” difficulty right after the hike, and I rated it as on the moderate to strenuous side. That means there was probably a consistent amount of uphill/downhill hiking.
On US-64 between Lake Toxaway and Cashiers, you’ll find a road to Gorges State Park.
If you’re heading west from Lake Toxaway, you’re not far from the park. Turn left from US-64 onto NC-281 (also known as Whitewater Road) heading south.
After a mile on NC-281, turn left onto Grassy Ridge Road, which should lead into Gorges State Park.
You’re looking for the Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Trailhead, which is about as far as you can go on Grassy Ridge Road before you start looping back toward the other roads.
Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate/strenuous) Height: 20′ Distance of Hike: 3.4 miles round-trip
Yellowstone National Park has a number of very impressive waterfalls within its boundaries. Most of them can be visited without much difficulty. Undine Falls is a roadside waterfall that requires minimal effort to view. Just pull off the road…I think there might be a designated pull-off/parking area, though many vehicles just pull off to the side of the road anyway to view wildlife. (There were damaging floods in 2022, so I’m assuming that the pull-off would still be there, though it may be damaged.)
There’s a loop that goes around…it could be described as two connected loops. Undine Falls is on the northern portion of the upper loop. It’s not that far from Mammoth Hot Springs. Wraith Falls is essentially right across the road. They’re separated by barely a mile in distance. Wraith Falls requires a hike, whereas Undine Falls doesn’t. I think this was the area where I saw a bear on a slope, and I only noticed because of the above mentioned cars that were pulled off to the side of the road!
Mammoth Hot Springs and Fort Yellowstone are found along US-89. Those essentially represent the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
If you head east on Grand Loop Road, you’ll be headed toward Undine Falls.
Undine Falls is about 4 miles east of the intersection of US-89 and Grand Loop Road. If you’re headed east, it will be on the left side of the road.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy) Height: 100′ Distance of Hike: roadside
The City of Hamilton is a spectacular place to find waterfalls. The Niagara Escarpment runs directly through the city. When we visited in July 2019, we weren’t in Hamilton for very long, but were still able to see a number of falls.
Webster Falls and Tews Falls are both within the same park and within the Spencer Gorge Conservation Area. There are two separate parking areas for the falls, though I think you can hike between them. Webster Falls isn’t one of my favorite falls in the area. There may be some designated viewing areas, but it’s really difficult to get a good view of the full falls, which are about 22 meters/72 feet tall. There is a lot of vegetation right in front of the path, pretty much the whole path. I have photos where I tried to capture the whole drop, but it’s even more so blocked by trees. It’s a pretty area to walk around, but if I had to choose certain falls, I would skip this one and instead visit other falls that I could get better views of.
There is a fee to enter the park and also to park the car. In 2019, there weren’t any reservations required, but in 2022, there are times where reservations are required. The Conservation Hamilton website provides the fees and the dates that reservations are required. Sometimes it is only weekends and holidays, but in the fall, it seems like it may be everyday. The reservation is an additional fee. That gets you in to see both falls.
There are a number of different paths you could take to get to the Spencer Gorge Conservation Area and Webster Falls. I would suggest having the map on your car/smartphone direct you to Webster Falls.
As mentioned above, there are separate parking areas for Tews Falls and Webster Falls. Webster Falls is found off of Fallsview Road.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy) Height: 72′ Distance of Hike: 0.1 miles round trip
I thought I had posted about Wequiock Falls earlier in the year, but here we are. In June, we went to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and ended up in the “thumb” of the UP. I was trying to decide how to get home and figured I would take the ferry from Manitowoc, WI to Ludington, MI. We drove down to Green Bay for the night. I knew there were a few waterfalls in the area.
Depending on the Google maps source, it was reported that Wequiock Falls was closed, but it wasn’t. Unless the path is blocked off, I’m not sure how the park could be closed. There isn’t much infrastructure there to close. After reading a Google review, I expected the park to be trashed, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it was pretty clean. There were some fast food wrappers before we got to the stairs that lead down to a view of the falls, but it wasn’t what I would classify as trashed. Someone may have shown up at a time where someone hadn’t cleaned up in a while?
Getting to the parking area for the falls is pretty easy, and then hiking to the falls is also not very complicated. There are some stairs that lead down to a viewing area. The viewing area is not great for viewing the falls, and so we walked closer to the falls.
We visited on June 21, 2022, and I guess much of the water from snowmelt had already found it’s way to Lake Michigan…There wasn’t a whole lot of water flowing over the falls. I think it had rained the day before (or hours before), but it still wasn’t a lot. It may benefit you to go in early spring or after a really good rainfall.
From Green Bay, head east/northeast on WI-57 (toward what we’ll call the thumb of Wisconsin).
After a few miles, you’ll reach the intersection of WI-57 and VanLaanen Road. If you’re headed east, you’ll turn left onto VanLaanen Road.
The parking area for the falls is a very sharp right after you turn. There are signs to indicate where you should head.
After parking, you’ll head a bit further east. You should be able to see a smaller bridge that leads over a creek. You’ll be passing over the falls.
You’ll head a 100-200 feet along that path and then you’ll come to a staircase. The staircase will lead you down to the creek. There is a viewing deck that’s not that great.
You can head upstream. I didn’t find it to be difficult.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy) Height: 25′ Distance of Hike: 0.1 miles round trip