I often don’t write about waterfalls until years after I’ve visited them. I try to hit a variety of different geographical regions along the way, but in the process I often forget about some waterfalls, at least certain details. I remember a bit about Pikes Falls, but other aspects are a bit fuzzy.
I visited in July 2015, and stayed near Stratton Mountain. It’s a beautiful area, though a bit quiet during the summer. On the way out, I had a few waterfalls on my list including Pikes Falls and Hamilton Falls. This was my first stop, as it’s not far from Stratton Mountain. The directions that others give are what tend to throw me off, as I approached it from the opposite direction. I remember the road being narrow but quiet, and I don’t remember there being much difficulty finding the parking area for the falls. I don’t recall much of the surroundings, nor the very short hike. (Sometimes short hikes are nice, but they stick in my head less than the tedious hikes!)
The falls are smaller, though there are definitely a number of different views to be had. Since the hike is easy and short, it’s worth your while to stop if you’re in the area. Otherwise, there are other larger falls in the area. Many people seem to enjoy this waterfall for the pool below, perfect for swimming.
- From VT-100 in Jamaica, turn left on Pikes Falls Road.
- Drive for approximately 2.5 miles. You’ll then veer right over a bridge, staying on Pikes Falls Road.
- After another 2.5 miles, you’ll come to the parking area. It would be on the left if heading west. (There is also apparently a white house very close by, though I don’t recall this.)
- Follow the trail to the falls.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 20′ (total drop)
Length of Hike: 0.15 miles round-trip
Pikes Falls in July 2015
Where in the World is Pikes Falls?
I had to do a bit of mental recall about Doane’s Falls in central Massachusetts, since I visited it three years ago and don’t distinctly remember all of the aspects of the falls. I posted about Upper Doane’s Falls soon after visiting, which helps remind me about a few things, but it’s still a bit fuzzy.
There are three main drops associated with Doane’s Falls, and this is the second. From my previous record, it seems that it can be difficult to photograph the second falls as there is a metal barrier that prevents exploration to get a better view. I’m fine with that, but it may explain why I’ve zoomed in so much on the falls and there’s not much view of the surroundings.
The hike to the falls does involve a bit of elevation loss (followed by elevation gain on the way back). The hike to see all three falls is relatively short at 0.6 miles round-trip.
- From MA-2/US-202 heading west, take exit 18 heading north toward MA-2A. (Heading east, exit 17 may be easier.)
- Turn left onto MA-2A, which at some point combines with MA-32.
- Take this into the town of Athol. Once in Athol, take a right on MA-32 to continue heading north.
- Quickly after turning onto MA-32, take a right onto Chestnut Hill Avenue. (This will be shortly after crossing the bridge over Millers River.
- Drive along Chestnut Hill Avenue (which may change names to Athol Road at some point) for a few miles.
- You will come up to Doane Hill Road. Just before you would turn left onto Doane Hill Road (heading toward Tully Lake), you’ll find the small parking area clearly signed for Doane’s Falls.
- From the parking area, you’ll take a short hike to the Upper Falls.
Accessibility: 9/10 (Easy)
Distance of Hike: 0.6 mile round trip (for all three falls)
Middle Doane’s Falls in July 2015
Where in the World is Middle Doane’s Falls?
The lower drop of Christine Falls in July 2018
During the 4th of July weekend, I had the chance to visit Mount Rainier National Park, which I would absolutely suggest doing. It’s another stunning national park to add to the list if you haven’t already. One of the benefits of Mount Rainier…a lot of waterfalls!
Mount Rainier is over 14000′ in elevation, and if you consider that much of that elevation change happens over a relatively short distance from sea level, it leads to a lot of chances to find waterfalls. There are a number of marked waterfalls on the main map, but there are many others that you can find along the way. One of the first waterfalls you might encounter is Christine Falls. It’s essentially a roadside waterfall you’ll come across along one of the main roadways in the park. It’s taller than it appears in this photograph, but one part of the drop is at an angle hidden behind a rock. You can view the upper portion of the falls from the road. The road is narrow, though, so you have to careful if you want to view the upper portion.
The main thing that has kept me from visiting Mount Rainier until this point…the weather. The other times I have visited Washington have been earlier in the year, generally. This is not the ideal time to visit much of the park, as many of the roadways and trails will be covered in snow. Even in early July, a number of the trails at Paradise were STILL covered with feet of snow, though the outdoor temperatures were very comfortable. You still maybe able to visit some of the lower elevation waterfalls, but it’s a better bet to show up in the summer months. (Of course, you then run into more people…)
- We entered the park on WA-706 heading east (at the Nisqually Entrance).
- You will pass the National Park Inn and Longmire Museum, and after a few more miles and switchbacks, you will pass the trail head for Comet Falls. Comet Falls is on the same creek, but is at a higher elevation and requires a longer hike (which I didn’t attempt).
- Shortly after passing that trail head, you’ll cross a bridge where you may notice the upper portion of the falls. After this, there is a parking area on your right.
- From this parking area, there is a very short downhill hike that leads to the view shown in this pictures.
Accessibility: 9/10 (Easy)
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip (essentially roadside)
Where in the World is Christine Falls?
Upper Ho’opi’i Falls in July 2015
I’m honestly a bit torn about what to say about Ho’opi’i Falls. It’s a bit confusing about whether you can access the falls or not, though recent searches seem to indicate that many people are still visiting the falls. So why the confusion?
Searches for Ho’opi’i Falls are unclear about whether falls are on private property or owned by the state. (An article about the closure no longer exists…) If anyone definitively knows more, feel free to leave a comment. I know that when I visited in 2015, it was a bit confusing about where to start the hike. I was following a guidebook (that is known to lead people to places they shouldn’t necessarily be), and it mentioned a fence. Well, the start of the hike, was not at the obvious fence, but a less obvious set of metal posts. I think what has happened is that many people were starting at the wrong place and crossing private property. There are some interesting comments if you look around online.
So it seems that as long as you stay on a designated trail, there aren’t any major issues. Follow any signs and closures. If open, you’ll find two separate waterfalls. I’ve decided to post both of them here instead of creating unique entries. The first falls upstream was very busy and a number of locals were jumping off the falls. It made a bit hard to capture the falls without someone in the way. The second falls downstream required a bit of downhill hiking, but was more isolated. (Jumping there would have caused serious injury.) Both drops are scenic in their own ways.
- I’ll let you find the directions to this one another way just in case there’s an issue. You can see on the map below the general location of the falls.
Accessibility: 8/10 (Easy/Moderate), some sites seem to mention this being difficult…apparently I didn’t think so…
Height: Upper Falls 15′, Lower Falls 30′
Length of Hike: 2.2 miles round-trip
Lower Ho’opi’i Falls
Where in the World is Ho’opi’i Falls?
Pine Creek Falls in June 2014
When I visited Montana and Wyoming in 2014, I visited a number of Wyoming waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park. In Montana, I was able to visit two waterfalls on the way from Bozeman and back. The first, Ousel Falls, is outside of Big Sky. The second, Pine Creek Falls, is a bit more isolated and off the beaten path. (As the crow flies, these waterfalls are about 45 miles apart. In reality, the drive between the two is much longer.
I visited this one on the way back from Yellowstone. I exited Yellowstone from the north entrance, heading along US-89 toward Livingston. The roads and trails to the falls are not wildly far off of US-89, and the drive to the falls was stunningly beautiful. US-89 hugs the Yellowstone River for much of the drive. After veering off US-89 to get to the campground and trail head, there was some driving down some forest roads. I don’t remember them being particularly problematic, but it was four years ago.
I also don’t remember the hike to the falls being particularly difficult. It was in a mountainous area, so there was some elevation climb, I’m sure. I usually remember if the elevation climb is steeper, and this one doesn’t ring a bell. (The elevation change is listed at 390′ gain over 1.25 miles, so it is not wildly steep, but still will some uphill climb.) The trail head had a few other cars, with a few other people, including one larger family, hiking the trail. The hike to the falls was beautiful, though I tried to stay nearby others. (You should be aware of bears and another animals in the area.) Overall, it’s definitely a worthwhile hike to get a quick burst of Montana beauty a bit further from the busy Yellowstone trails.
- I would take a look at a map of US-89 in Montana to get an idea of the best road to turn on to get to the falls. One option would be to turn onto Pine Creek Road, and head east on it.
- Turn right on MT-540, East River Road, and head south for a few miles.
- Turn left on Luccock Park Road, which is the forest road. Head east on this to the end of the road, which will be the start of the trail head and also where you’ll find the campground.
Accessibility: 7/10 (Easy/Moderate)
Length of Hike: 2.5 miles round-trip
Where in the World is Pine Creek Falls?
Iceland has so many beautiful waterfalls. I’ve been there twice and I still haven’t scratched the surface. Luckily, there are so many that are pretty easy to visit! (There are others that definitely require a bit more effort!)
Vatnajökull National Park has at least three easy-to-visit waterfalls (possibly a fourth, if I remember correctly). Magnúsarfoss and Hundafoss are the first two that you will encounter along the trail. The trail is moderately uphill with some rocky portions. Svartifoss is the most interesting of the three, and it has to do with the geology around the falls. Iceland is a product of volcanic activity, and as the lava cooled during its formation, unique structures were created. At Svartifoss, you’ll find these hexagonal columns on both sides of the waterfall. You can find similar hexagonal structures on Iceland, along with the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland and at Devil’s Tower in Wyoming (both of which I’ve had the chance to visit). Its these hexagonal columns that really make Svartifoss a worthwhile stop, even if it does require more hiking to visit than some of the other waterfalls.
- The entrance to the park is at Skaftafell, which is found directly off of the ring road. It is found east of Vík and west of Höfn. There are scheduled buses that will take you to the park directly from Reykjavík.
- If you’re heading east along the Ring Road, the entrance will be found on your left. Turn into road leading to the visitor’s center.
- Head to the visitor’s center, park, and get your bearings for a bit. To your right is the glacier. To your left is a path that leads to the set of falls.
- Head left on the trail. Signs will indicate the trail to Svartifoss, which is the most popular of the three falls.
- Head uphill for a bit, and after passing Hundafoss (which isn’t as obvious), you’ll arrive at Magnúsarfoss.
- Continue along the trail to Svartifoss.
Accessibility: 5/10 (moderate, There are some uphill, rocky portions)
Length of Hike: 1.9-2.4 miles round-trip
Svartifoss in June 2012
Where in the World is Svartifoss?
In the city of Tumwater, Washington (south of Olympia), you’ll find Tumwater Falls. It’s kind of the quintessential downtown waterfall complete with a park. It’s not particularly wide or tall, though it is unique in its shape. Unlike some of the other Washington waterfalls, I don’t know if I’d go far out of my way to see Tumwater Falls, but if you’re in the area, I’d stop for a bit.
When I visited with my nephew two years ago, we almost didn’t show up at the right time. I just assumed you could visit the park anytime, but that’s not exactly correct. There are gates that close the park by 8 pm. I tried to park in one area, only to find out it was blocked earlier than 8 pm. I then parked on a main road and walked into the park since the exit to the park wasn’t closed yet. (If it sounds complicated, it kind of was for visiting a small waterfall.) I think we had about 15 minutes, and that was more than enough time to see the falls and explore a bit. As you explore, you’ll notice the falls have a few different drops, though it’s hard to capture all of them in the same photograph. I’ve decided to just include the most interesting/closest drop.
- This is in the heart of Tumwater, so it might be easier to set your GPS to go directly to the park. If you’re headed north on I-5, exit 103 will lead you directly to Deschutes Way SW (if you continue forward instead of veering right).
- On Deschutes Way SW, you can either turn on C Street SW, where you’ll find a parking area to your left (which closed early), or you can park on Deschutes Way SW, which is what I did.
- From there, explore the park.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Length of Hike: negligible
Tumwater Falls in June 2016
Where in the World is Tumwater Falls?