Anderson Falls, Alaska

Anderson Falls (31)

Anderson Falls in August 2014

I was searching through photos from travels in past Augusts, and was reminded of a number of waterfalls I saw on a visit to Alaska. I’m always a bit surprised at how difficult it can be to find information about waterfalls in Alaska. There are some waterfalls that are very commonly advertised, but there are other impressive falls that are less so.

If you search for Anderson Falls, you’ll find a few hits, but sparse information. And yet Anderson Fall is one of the tallest (easily visited?) waterfalls in the state. Based on the terrain, there are many more that are just too inaccessible to visit. And in terms of “easily visited”, it does require a boat ride. Luckily, there are a number of fjord and glacier cruise tours that leave from Valdez and will pass right by this waterfall.

From my guesstimate, it seems that the falls are at least 600′ tall, possibly more. There are two portions to the falls, the top plunge drop, followed by the lower cascades. The falls continue even more as they meet the shoreline. It’s a really impressive sight, and one that I wasn’t particularly expecting!

Directions:

  1. In this case, the most “difficult” part is getting to Valdez. I flew into Anchorage, and it was 5 hour drive to Valdez. (There are flights on prop jets into Valdez.)
  2. After arriving and seeing some of the other waterfalls in Valdez, I hopped on one of the boat cruises (Lu-Lu Belle or Stan Stephens, I don’t remember which), and took the cruise to see the falls, glaciers, and wildlife! It’s definitely worth it!

Accessibility: 10/10 (Easy)
Height: 600′ +
Length of Hike: Not applicable

Where in the World is Anderson Falls?

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Waterfalls in Nærøyfjord, Norway

Likely the largest of the waterfalls in Nærøyfjord

When you’re in Norway, one of the best way to see much of the fjords is by boat/cruise. There are multi-day/week cruises that go up and down the coastline and weave through the fjords, but there are also shorter excursions that occur for those that want a bit more freedom when planning their itinerary.

I took two different short 2-3 hour cruises while in Norway. One of them was from Flåm to Gudvangen (or vice-versa). It passes through two different smaller fjords, Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord. Each of them has a number of very obvious waterfalls that drop hundreds of feet down into the waters below.

This post focuses just on those in Nærøyfjord. From my pictures, I counted at least five different noticeable waterfalls in the fjord. There were also many other finer, wispier waterfalls that might only be there when it’s rained for a few days (which might be pretty frequently!).

One of the waterfalls, the one that should show up first in the pictures, is large enough at its base that you might notice a boat pulling up to the falls themselves. Our larger vessel didn’t do that, so if that’s something that interests you, I would ask around in Flåm. While on the boat, I think they gave a name to the waterfall, but I couldn’t remember it even minutes after, and the name doesn’t seem to show up in online searches.

The way the cruise is set up, you can start at Flåm or Gudvangen, and this means you can connect onto other modes of transportation. From Flåm, you can get on the Flåm Railway, and connect to Oslo or Bergen (via Myrdal). From Gudvangen, you can catch a bus to Voss. I drove a rental car, and ended up hitting many of the same stops along the way.

Directions:

  1. This cruise starts in Flåm or Gudvangen. You need to figure out how to get to either of those cities, both of which are on the E16. This is one of the main roadways in Norway, but it is still narrow compared to our main roads (interstates, etc.).
  2. You can find out more info about the cruise I took here.  There was another “operator” selling tickets, but I have a hunch it might really be the same company. If I’m wrong, let me know :). The cost of the cruise was about $50 USD at the time, and lasted for approximately 2.5 hours.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Distance of Hike: N/A
Height: Not sure…Pretty tall! Upwards of 600-900′

One of the waterfalls in Nærøyfjord that is closer to Gudvangen

This waterfall may be even taller than what you can see…

Where in the World are the Waterfalls in Nærøyfjord?

Bowen Falls, New Zealand

Bowen Falls in May 2011

Milford Sound is one of my favorite places on the planet. There’s something wildly spectacular about seeing peaks rise 1 mile from the sea level. And the waterfalls that you’ll see are equally as spectacular.

Two of the falls in the sound are considered to be year-round, Stirling Falls and Bowen Falls (sometimes called Lady Bowen Falls). At 530′, Bowen Falls is breathtaking. You can get hints of the falls by exploring the trails west of the parking area, but your best views are by boat! It’s definitely worth every cent you spend. You will pass by Bowen Falls on your way out, and you’ll get an even better view coming back to the dock. During the cruise, you’ll likely see dolphins and seals. The sun may appear and disappear consistently throughout the two hours on the cruise. This can lead to a number of different photographic opportunities. (And you will want to dress warmly. In early May, it was chilly at times.)

From what I understand, there used to be a trail that led directly the base of the falls, but it has been closed for some time due to rock slides.

Directions:

  1. From Te Anau, head north on NZ-94 to its very end at Milford Sound.  (From mid-May to October, you may want to check to make sure that the road is open to Milford Sound…It can close randomly, or snow chains may also be required.)
  2. At Milford Sound, park, head to the cruise area and board your cruise.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 528′
Length of Hike: not applicable

Where in the World in Bowen Falls?

Milford Sound Waterfalls, New Zealand

One of the waterfalls in Milford Sound (May 2011)

Up until this point, I haven’t listed these waterfalls on any list, and I’m not sure why. When you visit Milford Sound, which you should do sometime in your life, you should take a 2 hour cruise through the sound. You’ll see wildlife, stunning views, and a significant number of waterfalls. Many of them show up only after it rains, while others are more consistent. You can check out the ones that have been clearly named, such as Bowen, Bridal Veil, Fairy, Palisade, and Stirling Falls. And yet, there are a number of other waterfalls that seem to last longer that haven’t been named, or if they have been named, there names haven’t been advertised very well.

So I’ve decided to include them, since they are in such a beautiful place, and are equally as scenic as some of the named falls. There’s not a whole lot of description required. I’m a really bad judge of height, but each of these is in the hundreds of feet tall! If you take the cruise, you’ll see eight or nine falls during sunny periods, and I’ve heard it increases even more so while raining. It’s a reason to take a cruise while raining!

Directions:

  1. From Te Anau, head north on NZ-94 to its very end at Milford Sound.  (From mid-May to October, you may want to check to make sure that the road is open to Milford Sound…It can close randomly, or snow chains may also be required.)
  2. At Milford Sound, park, head to the cruise area and board your cruise.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: ~100-200′
Length of Hike: not applicable

Another ephemeral waterfall

Another one!

Where in the World are the Waterfalls of Milford Sound?

Bridal Veil Falls, New Zealand

Bridal Veil Falls in May 2011

There are two different Bridal Veil Falls in New Zealand (possibly more, since it’s a popular name for a waterfall).  This is the one found on the South Island in Milford Sound.  If you want to know more about Milford Sound, check out my post on Stirling Falls.

Even on a relatively dry, sunny day, you’ll see a number of pretty impressive waterfalls.  Stirling Falls is one of the waterfalls that you will likely go under (intentionally) if you take the Milford Sound Cruise.  On the other hand, Bridal Veil Falls is obvious, and yet tucked away enough that you’ll just be viewing it from afar.  Milford Sound is absolutely amazing, and the falls, including Bridal Veil Falls, are no exception.  Be aware, though, while you’re travelling relatively slow, you have to be ready to capture Bridal Veil Falls.  Since you’re on a boat, the amount of time available is more limited.  Renting a kayak might solve that problem?

Directions:

  1. From Te Anau, head north on NZ-94 to its very end at Milford Sound. (From mid-May to October, you may want to check to make sure that the road is open to Milford Sound…It can close randomly, or snow chains may also be required.)
  2. At Milford Sound, park, head to the cruise area and board your cruise.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)

Height: ~75′

Length of Hike: not applicable

Where in the World is Bridal Veil Falls?

Stirling Falls, New Zealand

Stirling Falls in May 2011

I haven’t yet posted anything about my visit to Milford Sound, and since Stirling Falls is the first waterfall I’m going to discuss in the area, I’m going to include my other impressions as well.

I was so excited to visit Milford Sound, and I was not disappointed.  The two-hour cruise in the sound (well, fjord, actually) was very impressive and there were a number of impressive waterfalls.  As they’ll inform you, there are many more after the rains come (and that’s pretty frequently), but even during the partly cloudy periods, you’ll still see many.

You can see many of the falls at once, and Stirling Falls is likely to be one of the last that you visit on your cruise.  It’s a really great waterfall, and you’re almost guaranteed to get a very close look.  And by close, I mean close.  Our boat navigated so that a portion of it was under the falls.  It was just cool enough outside that I didn’t readily rush into nature’s cold shower, but it was still memorable!

Directions:

  1. From Te Anau, head north on NZ-94 to its very end at Milford Sound.  (From mid-May to October, you may want to check to make sure that the road is open to Milford Sound…It can close randomly, or snow chains may also be required.)
  2. At Milford Sound, park, head to the cruise area and board your cruise.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 510′
Length of Hike: not applicable

Where in the World in Stirling Falls?