Willow Falls, Wisconsin

A couple of years ago, I flew into Minneapolis and visited a number of waterfalls. One of the Minnesota waterfalls I visited was Vermillion Falls in Hastings. I for some reason didn’t realize that there were other waterfalls very close to the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, or at least that these waterfalls were so close. Willow Falls is only about 30 minutes away from Hastings, and Cascade Falls is only about 30 minutes from Willow Falls. So there are a number of other waterfalls along the border that you might want to check out.

Willow Falls is definitely a waterfall that you want to check out. While it is a bit isolated from other waterfalls, it is a beautiful waterfall. There are a number of different trails that lead to the main trail to the falls, but the shortest way to get there is via a specific parking lot designated for the falls. The hike starts out pretty easily, but then becomes rather steep, though it is paved. That makes the hike a bit more moderate in difficulty, especially on the way back to the parking lot. But when you reach the falls, you’re rewarded with a really nice tiered waterfall that approaches 45′ in height and 100′ wide. There are a few different viewpoints that lead to great shots of the falls.

Directions:

  1. Headed in from Minneapolis/St. Paul, you might be headed east on I-94.
  2. Take exit 4 (in Wisconsin) for County Road U (US-12), and head north on US-12.
  3. Instead of veering east on US-12, continue forward along County Road U, which then turns into County Road A.
  4. Willow Falls State Park is found on the left of the road if you’re headed north. Maps online seem to indicate that you can head directly to the Willow Falls parking area, but that is blocked off. You must enter at the park entrance and pay the fee. You will then follow a dirt road to the parking area. (I don’t know if this changes based on the season?)
  5. From the parking area, follow signs for the falls. You’ll know you’re headed in the right direction if you’re on a moderately steep, paved path.

Accessibility: 7/10 (moderate)
Height: 45′
Length of Hike: 0.6 miles round-trip

Willow Falls (113)

Willow Falls in September 2019

Where in the World is Willow Falls?

Shadow Falls, Minnesota

Shadow Falls (35)

Shadow Falls in September 2019

I didn’t know what to expect from Shadow Falls. I was visiting Minnesota and Wisconsin this past weekend, and flew in and out of Minneapolis. I had a few waterfalls on Wisconsin on my list, but I didn’t really have any from Minnesota on my radar. Luckily I brought one of the books that included Shadow Falls. The description was somewhat helpful, but didn’t really reveal how interesting Shadow Falls could be.

A few years ago, I had visited Hidden Falls, which is on the same side of the Mississippi River. It’s an interesting park, but Hidden Falls didn’t have much water and had aspects of human touches. I maybe expected that from the photos I saw of Shadow Falls. What I found was a much taller (than I expected) waterfall definitely a bit more rustic in getting to the falls.

Luckily, it’s a short hike to the falls, but if there’s any rain or water nearby, you’re likely to get a bit muddy. The initial hike to the falls isn’t very difficult. You could get a view of a portion of the falls from the trail above the falls. But if you want to get to the base, it becomes a bit more interesting. There is a trail to the base, but it is a bit slippery and steep. The ground has a lot of clay in it, and this can make shoes very slick. But if you can get down to the base, you realize that the waterfall is much more interesting that it seems from above.

Directions:

  1. Head to Shadow Falls Park by using Google Maps. (There are so many different ways you could approach it.)
  2. Really, the trick is deciding where to park. I think there is some parking off of Mississippi River Boulevard near The Monument. On weekends, there is parking available on some of the streets nearby. I parked on Exeter Place, and that leads you much closer to the start of the hike.
  3. The start of the hike is near the intersection of Exeter Place and Mississippi River Boulevard, and is a dirt trail.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Shadow Falls?

Overlook Falls, South Carolina

Overlook Falls (31)

Overlook Falls in March 2017

This an odd little waterfall that you’ll find at…surprise…an overlook between two numbered South Carolina roads. I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to see the falls, but it ends up that Whitewater Falls and Sloan Bridge Falls are found on opposite sides, so if you’re looking for waterfalls in far northwest South Carolina, you might end up passing by the falls anyway.

It is an easy waterfall to miss, but it’s also an easy waterfall to visit once you find it. I think I may have passed this a few times along the way, and had to backtrack a bit to find it. If you’re driving west, the falls will be on your right. There’s a large parking area/pullout on the left (if headed west). It doesn’t have a whole lot of water flowing at any point in time, so the best time to see the falls would be after a heavy rain.

Directions:

  1. The waterfall is found on State Road S-37-413 between SC-130 and SC-107.
  2. If you’re headed west on S-37-413, the falls will be on the right just before the parking area on the left. You may have to walk a bit to get closer to the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 15′
Length of Hike: roadside

Where in the World is Overlook Falls?

Rocky Glen Falls, Illinois

I was trying to decide whether include this waterfall, as I had a hunch it was man-made, and from what I understand, it was constructed in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corp. And yet, I figure it’s an interesting enough stop that doesn’t have the feel of a man-made waterfall at a putt-putt golf course!

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve completely surrounds Argonne National Laboratory, so there are multiple trails that do not necessarily lead to waterfalls, but to other interesting features of the park. Rocky Glen Falls is in the southeastern portion of the preserve. It was an enjoyable hike to the falls, partly on gravel roads, and then on some trails as you approach the falls. I visited in January 2018 when it was a rather warm day, and it was a surprisingly hopping place. There were many people traversing the trails and visiting the falls. It’s about a 30-45 minute drive outside of downtown Chicago, but it doesn’t appear public transportation will be an easy way to get there. So I don’t know if I’d go out of my way to visit the falls, but I still found it an enjoyable diversion.

Directions:

  1. From I-55, you could take exit 274 onto IL-83 heading south.
  2. After 2.2 miles on IL-83, turn right onto Bluff Road.
  3. After 0.7 miles, turn onto Waterfall Glen Road toward the Waterfall Glen Parking Area.
  4. From there, the Main Trail starts heading east. It then veers right/north onto the Rocky Glen Trail. The Rocky Glen Trail leads you to the falls.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 3′
Length of Hike: 0.8 miles round-trip

Rocky Glen Falls (30)

Rocky Glen Falls in January 2018

Where in the World is Rocky Glen Falls?

Trahlyta Falls, Georgia

Trahlyta Falls (2)

Trahlyta Falls in May 2012

I don’t exactly remember how I stumbled upon Trahlyta Falls, whether it was a planned stop or whether I just noticed it out of the corner of my eye. I feel like it might have been the latter, but the visit was over 7 years ago, so it is a bit fuzzy.

Trahlyta Falls is found in Vogel State Park in northern Georgia downstream from Trahlyta Lake. I only visited this falls for a few moments as I pulled off US-129 to take some photographs (or at least that’s what I recollect). If that’s frowned upon, I wouldn’t suggest it, but I didn’t find much difficulty in pulling safely to the side. Looking now, I find that there is a trail down to the falls called the “Falls Bottom Trail”. I don’t know exactly where it starts because I didn’t follow it. In the photo, you can notice that there are stairs and a boardwalk/viewpoint right near the base of the falls. So if you want a closer view of a very nice waterfall, you might want to explore that option!

Directions:

  1. Vogel State Park can be found essentially at the intersection of US-129 and GA-180. Trahlyta Lake is sandwiched in between those two roads.
  2. If you wanted to view the falls from where I did, you would head a bit south of that intersection along US-129 until you can see the falls. As I mentioned, there is a hiking trail that leads to the base, but it doesn’t start from where I viewed the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 80′
Length of Hike: roadside (though you can hike to the base)

Where in the World is Trahlyta Falls?

Cohoes Falls, New York

Some waterfalls are isolated, and then others are found in an urban environment. Cohoes Falls is one of the latter, and this usually means that it’s an easy visit to the falls. It’s a pretty short hike from one of the parking areas to the falls, which makes it a nice stop after a long day of hiking.

Cohoes Falls is reported to be anywhere from 65′ to 90′ tall, and I’m not sure why there’s such a variation, as the falls don’t really “look” uneven. But that aside, the really impressive part of Cohoes Falls is its width, at 1000′. After reading a bit, I guess you’re unlikely to see the falls at their full power, but I still found the falls to be rather impressive. From the viewpoints that I was able to visit, the only difficult was avoiding the power lines in the picture, which I think was essentially unavoidable. The power lines do fade into the picture, so I don’t really notice them. On weekends, it is possible to get down to the riverbed and view the falls differently, but it’s only for about four hours midday. (Check here for more info.)

Directions:

  1. There are so many different ways you could arrive at the falls, so I’m just going to give the general directions for the last few steps. Along the Mohawk River, there’s N Mohawk Street which also turns into Crescent Road further north.
  2. You want to end up on N Mohawk Street. If you end up at the intersection of Manor Avenue and N Mohawk Street, you’d want to head south just a short distance to the parking area for the falls. I’m pretty sure there was adequate signage when I visited.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 65′
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip

Cohoes Falls

Cohoes Falls in July 2014

Where in the World is Cohoes Falls?

Larson Creek Falls, Oregon

Larson Creek Falls

Larson Creek Falls in August 2018

Larson Creek Falls was an unexpected find. Exactly a year ago, my partner, my nephew, and I were in Oregon. We stayed at an Airbnb in Pacific City, and I was wondering whether there were any waterfalls along the way back to Portland that I hadn’t visited before. Google Maps has become a pretty useful tool for finding some different waterfalls as people can add points of interest. Larson Creek Falls popped up, and we had some time to kill, so we drove along the coast and found the falls.

I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to find the falls since we went searching on a whim, but it’s actually pretty easy. There are some stairs that lead down to the beach, and then you veer a bit to the right (north), and you’re at the falls. While the falls aren’t particularly wide, they are pretty tall. If you visit the falls, though, you also get the added benefit of being right on the Pacific Ocean. Larson Creek Falls doesn’t fall directly into the Pacific. There’s a hundred feet or so between the falls and the shore. The whole package is really spectacular.

Directions:

  1. In the map below, I’ve tagged Short Beach as the location. That’s because you want to find the trail/stairs that lead down to Short Beach. If you try to direct yourself to Larson Creek Falls, you’ll end up at a spot you can’t access. So from Tillamook, you could head west, and then southwest on OR-131. That would lead you to Netarts, and then Oceanside.
  2. You want to pass through Oceanside, and head north (turn right) on Cape Meares Loop. (OR-131 essentially turns into Cape Meares Loop, which then may turn into Bayshore Drive right around the parking area for the falls.)
  3. After 1.2 miles, you’ll come to an area where you can park on either side of the road. You’ll hopefully see a sign for Short Beach, though I don’t remember. There should be a trail on the west side of the road that then leads down to Short Beach.
  4. Turn right, and walk about 0.3 miles to Larson Creek Falls, which may be a bit back from the shoreline.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 90′
Length of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Larson Creek Falls?