Geary Lake Falls, Kansas

After our road trip from Nevada to Michigan, I started teaching and didn’t get to write about some of the other waterfalls we stopped to visit along the way. So now it’s time to catch up a bit! We stopped at waterfalls in Utah and Colorado, and then drove into Kansas. Kansas doesn’t have many waterfalls on the west side of the state, but there are definitely a few on the east side of the state.

One that is relatively easy to visit off of the interstate is Geary Lake Falls, which is found in the Geary State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area. Once you find the parking area, which isn’t difficult, it’s an easy hike to the falls. From other articles, it seemed like it was steep hike to the falls, but it was more of just slippery as you approached the falls.

The falls were definitely flowing when we arrived, and the falls were surprisingly pretty. (I wasn’t sure what to expect.) The one thing that you’ll find in other waterfall seekers’ descriptions of Geary Lake Falls is the snakes…There are definitely water snakes found in the ponds and stream below the falls. While I’m not a big fan of snakes, they don’t bother me so much and I went on photographing the falls. My partner, on the other hand, is not a big fan of snakes and it bothered him.

Directions:

  1. From I-70 near Junction City, take exit 295 for US-77.
  2. Head south on US-77 for just over 7 miles to Geary Lake.
  3. The waterfall is located in the northwest part of the wildlife area, so to get closer to the falls, you want to turn left on the first road that leads into Geary Lake. On Google Maps, this is named State Lake Road.
  4. Take State Lake Road to its end. You should find a parking area here. If you look downhill, you’ll see a path that leads you along the northern edge of the lake. This path leads you to the waterfall.
  5. Follow that path along the lake. When you reach the end of that specific path, you’ll see another path heading downhill. Go downhill and follow that, and you’ll arrive at the falls!

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 35′
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip

Geary Lake Falls in June 2020

Where in the World is Geary Lake Falls?

Rifle Falls, Colorado

In June, I went on a road trip (social distancing style) from Las Vegas to Michigan. The first waterfall stop on the trip was Lower Calf Creek Falls. The next stop was in Colorado. The waterfalls we visited had to be easy to get to from the main freeways and also had to be shorter hikes. Rifle Falls fits into both of those categories.

From the parking area, it was an easy hike to Rifle Falls, a fascinating waterfall. A sign near the falls says the waterfall likely formed when minerals built up around a beaver dam (or something of that sort). I don’t know if I’ve stopped at any other falls that may have been formed that way. At the falls, there are multiple different viewpoints. It is one of those that definitely changes as you’re looking at it from the sides versus head-on, and that makes it fun to photograph. It’s definitely a waterfall that’s worth a stop if you’re along I-70 in Colorado.

Directions:

  1. We were headed east through Colorado along I-70 and took exit 87 before Rifle.
  2. We then turned left onto US-6, which follows I-70 into Rifle. Before entering Rifle, we turned left onto CO-13.
  3. CO-13 skirts Rifle and then just north of Rifle, we turned right onto CO-325 heading north.
  4. Rifle Falls State Park is on CO-325, but you veer right and then left before arriving. When you reach the Rifle Gap Reservoir, you veer right, and then when CO-325 splits with Road 226, you veer left again. It’s pretty hard to miss Rifle Falls State Park if you stay on CO-325.
  5. From the parking area, you head north to see Rifle Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (Easy)

Height: 70′

Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Rifle Falls in June 2020

Lower Calf Creek Falls, Utah

Lower Calf Creek Falls in June 2020

In the past week, my boyfriend and I have been traveling from Las Vegas to Michigan. I took this as an opportunity to find some waterfalls that I had been wanting to visit, but were a bit out-of-the-way. One of these is Lower Calf Creek Falls, which is in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Nevada. It is a bit out of the way, and yet still surprisingly well visited.

Lower Calf Creek Falls flows pretty well in many months, which isn’t always the case for many waterfalls in the desert. This probably explains why it is a bit more popular than the average waterfall. It also helps that the hike and the waterfall are both wonderful.

The hike is not particularly difficult, but it is a 6 mile round-trip hike. I have to admit it did feel a bit longer than 6 miles round-trip, but it was still enjoyable. We showed up at 4 pm in early June, and that was honestly the perfect time to start the hike. It was still warm outside, but the hike was mostly shaded, and it cooled down on the return. During the middle of the day, the hike could have been a bit less enjoyable. During other times of the year, you would likely want to get an earlier start.

Directions:

  1. There aren’t many options to get to the falls. You have to drive on UT-12, either south from Torrey or northwest from Bryce. (Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park and/or Capitol Reef National Park at the same time would definitely be an option.)
  2. The Calf Creek Campground is the starting point for the hike. You follow the trail to the falls…

Accessibility: 7/10 (moderate)
Height: 126′
Length of Hike: 6 miles round-trip

Stone Creek Falls, Nebraska

I’m finally getting to a number of waterfalls I visited in the past six months. Due to Covid-19, I haven’t done much exploring lately, and have elected to stay at home. The outdoors might be the best place to visit, especially when social distancing guidelines seem to be followed. (If you’re reading this in a few years, and you don’t understand, well…good?)

In November 2019 (before the world changed), I was visiting Omaha, and was looking for waterfalls in the area. I happened to stumble upon one online, though it wasn’t advertised a lot. Stone Creek Falls popped up on a few other blogs and sites, and it seemed easy enough to visit as it was just outside of Omaha. So we headed out to Platte River State Park.

The Platte River runs next to the state park, but the waterfall is not on the Platte River. I’m assuming it would be on Stone Creek, which flows into the Platte River. Oddly enough, you can’t even see the Platte River very well because a railroad owns the property directly adjacent to the river.

The hike from the parking area is relatively short. It only took 10-15 minutes or so. The trail wasn’t a difficult hike, either. Even though it isn’t a tall waterfall, it’s one that can be quick to visit if you’re in or close to Omaha.

Directions:

  1. From I-80 W south of Omaha, take the exit onto NE-66 heading east.
  2. Follow NE-66 E (E Park Highway) until you reach 346th Street.
  3. Turn left onto 346th Street heading north toward Platte River State Park.
  4. After entering the park, turn left away from the Park Headquarters. A short distance after that, you’ll find a trail head for the waterfall. You don’t have to enter the camping area.
  5. Follow the Stone Creek trail to Stone Creek Falls.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 6′
Length of Hike: 0.6 miles round-trip

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Stone Creek Falls in November 2019

Where in the World is Stone Creek Falls?

Brekkefossen, Norway

Brekkefossen

Brekkefossen in May 2015

Norway has many waterfalls, and a great place to start your journey to find waterfalls is Bergen. I flew into Bergen, stayed a few days there, and then started my waterfall hunting. (Well…I had seen some waterfalls on a cruise, but that didn’t require much effort.) I stopped at a few different places, and then set my sights on Flåm, a village found at the end of Aurlandsfjorden. Flåm is the home of the Flåm Railway, which is famous for its 2800′ elevation change over 12.5 miles. There are even a few waterfalls to be viewed along the Railway, such as Kjosfossen and Rjoandefossen.

Those falls can be viewed from the train. Brekkefossen can be viewed partially from spots in Flåm, but to get a more intimate view, you can hike to the Brekkefossen. I don’t think there was parking at the trail head of Brekkefossen, and anyway, it wasn’t a difficult hike to the trail head from Flåm. It’s about a 1 mile hike to the trail head/base of the falls, and it’s mostly on flat ground. It’s the hike up to get closer to the falls that classifies this as probably the most difficult hike I did while in Norway.

At a height of 2050′, Brekkefossen is pretty tall! It’s not a climb to the falls, so it’s not wildly steep, but you have to hike a pretty significant elevation in a pretty short distance. It must have not been the most difficult hike I have ever been on…I think I was prepared for the difficulty level. But, still, it was an adventure indeed. You’re greeted with a portion of a beautiful waterfall (of which most in Norway are)! Now, if you’re not up for the steep hike, you still can get a pretty good view of the falls from afar, so you can still check it off the list if you’re ever in Flåm.

Directions:

  1. Head to Flåm, which is along a main road, E16. There are some very long tunnels you have to pass through if you’re headed east into Flåm.
  2. I stayed in Flåm at the Fretheim. From there, I hiked back toward the E16.
  3. There are a few different ways to get to the road of interest, but you want to end up on the other side of E16 on a road Nedre Brekkevegen, heading essentially south for a few tenths of a mile. You’ll pass some apartments and hostels along the way.
  4. You’ll then end up at the trail head for the falls.

Accessibility: 3/10 (moderate/strenuous)
Height: 2050′
Length of Hike: 2 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Brekkefossen?

Sunshine Falls, Colorado

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Sunshine Falls in May 2017

Sunshine Falls was an unexpected waterfall that I didn’t even know about. I was visiting Colorado after a workshop and had decided to go to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. After that visit, I was headed back to Denver, and decided to visit Cañon City and the Royal Gorge. There is a train that takes you on a two hour journey into the Gorge (and along the Arkansas River). This allows for some great views of the Royal Gorge Bridge and the scenery along the Arkansas River and through the Gorge is stunning.

So I was bit surprised when a tour guide mentioned there was a waterfall in the canyon. I rushed out of the train car I was in to get a better view. They mentioned the name of the falls is Sunshine Falls, at least that’s what I wrote down! It had been raining that day, and even then, there wasn’t much water flowing down the falls. But it was fun to add an unexpected waterfall to the record. If anywhere else, I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit the falls, but in this instance, the trip through the Gorge is definitely worth it! (There is another waterfall, Tunnel Drive Falls, that is nearby. Even that didn’t have much water flowing over the falls, but it again was an enjoyable hike that allowed for different views of the start of the gorge.)

Directions:

  1. In this case, unless you’re planning on rafting down the river, the best option to view the falls is on the train. The train station is located at 330 Royal Gorge Blvd, Cañon City, CO 81212. It is right off of US-50 as it passes through Cañon City.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 25′
Length of Hike: not applicable

Where in the World is Sunshine Falls?

Liberty Falls, Alaska

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Liberty Falls in August 2014

I’ve visited Alaska three times, and the second time I visited I drove from Anchorage to Valdez. It’s an approximately 5 hour drive, and there is definitely beautiful scenery along the way. Along the way there, I stayed in Copper Center. Just over 45 minutes away from Copper Center is Liberty Falls State Recreation Area, which isn’t too bad of a drive, and provides beautiful views of Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

I was doing some research to find out the height of the falls, and I couldn’t exactly remember how far of a hike it was to see the falls. I didn’t really remember a hike at all, but some searches were showing longer-than-expected hikes. What I discovered it that there are hiking opportunities in the recreation area, but I confirmed my recollection that to see the falls, there isn’t any hike required. You can get out of your car and essentially see the falls. So, while it is an out-of-the-way drive, once you arrive, it is not difficult to view the falls.

Directions:

  1. From AK-1, you’ll want to head south on AK-4 N (which doesn’t indicate the direction in this case, from my understanding).
  2. After driving south on AK-4 N, you’ll come to AK-10. You’ll want to turn left on AK-10 and drive just under 24 miles to the recreation area.
  3. You’re looking for the parking area that leads to direct views to the falls, unless you’re interested in doing a hike.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 40′
Length of Hike: roadside

Where in the World is Liberty Falls?

Dettifoss, Iceland

I’m surprised sometimes at the waterfalls I haven’t written about. I don’t necessarily follow any order or write about the flashiest, biggest waterfalls first. That means that I sometimes am recording big, flashy waterfalls years after I visit them. When I visited the falls in 2012, I was a bit concerned because I read that both roads leading to the falls were unpaved gravel roads, which in Iceland can make accessing attractions somewhat difficult. Luckily, they had recently paved the road that tracks up the west side of the river, at least until you reach Dettifoss.

Dettifoss is widely known as being one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe (when considering water flow per second). It isn’t the tallest waterfall in Europe (not even the tallest waterfall in Iceland), but it is still impressive for sure! It’s definitely worth a visit, but it is somewhat isolated in the scheme of things. Some of the waterfalls in southern Iceland near Reykjavík and along the southern portion of the Ring Road are very easily accessed, sometimes literally by pulling off the road. From Reykjavík, it’s at least a 7 hour drive to Dettifoss, and is approximately 20 miles from the Ring Road. Luckily, you will get a view of Selfoss also.

Directions:

  1. You want to follow the Ring Road (Road 1) to get to Dettifoss, and the closest “large” city is probably Akureyri. Even then, it’s still a bit of a drive.
  2. About 75 miles from Akureyri, you’ll reach a few different roads. If you turn left on road 862, that road is paved and will lead you to Dettifoss. You can also turn left on road 864, which is unpaved, and four wheel drive is recommended.
  3. After about 20 miles on road 862 or 864, you’ll reach parking areas for Dettifoss, which will then require a short hike to view the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 144′
Length of Hike: 1.1 miles round-trip

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Dettifoss in June 2012

Where in the World is Dettifoss?

Lower White Oak Canyon Falls #3, Virginia

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Lower White Oak Canyon Falls #3 in December 2011

In December 2011, I had a chance to visit Shenandoah National Park, and I decided to do the hike to see the waterfalls of White Oak Canyon. I’m not sure why I chose this specific trail, but I believe I knew it had a number of waterfalls along the trail.

I discovered while hiking that there were more waterfalls than expected, though I always wonder whether to count all of the drops along a creek/river as just one waterfall, or how to decide what counts as a separate drop. I decided that there were 5 interesting drops in the canyon, which you can easily find by looking for the correct category tag. I also found that there were 2 “side-falls”, which were waterfalls that were not on the main creek/river, but instead flowed into them. It was an interesting hike, but you should realize that it’s also a strenuous hike, depending on how far you go. I went a pretty good distance (almost 5 miles round-trip), but that also includes a significant elevation decrease on the way down, followed by a significant elevation increase on the way up. It will definitely give you a good workout, but make sure to bring water!

Directions:

  1. At the intersection of US-211 and Skyline Drive, head south on Skyline Drive.
  2. After five or six miles, you should see the parking area for the White Oak Canyon Trail, which is where your journey begins. It’s just after the entrance to the Skyland Resort.
  3. From here, follow the very clear signage for about 2.5 miles to the first falls. After the first lower falls, this is the next in succession. Be aware: the further downhill you progress, the longer the uphill climb you have. The uphill climb is where the difficulty lies.

Accessibility: 2/10 (strenuous)
Height: 10′
Length of Hike: 4.6 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Lower White Oak Canyon Falls #3?

Kidney Springs Falls, South Dakota

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Kidney Springs Falls in May 2016

I’m not really sure how I stumbled upon Kidney Springs Falls. I was visiting South Dakota in May 2016, and I had a list of known waterfalls in South Dakota and Nebraska that I knew I was going to visit. But sometimes I get to a location, and I search on Google Maps or on the Internet, and I think Kidney Springs popped up, and I saw some pictures of a Kidney Springs Falls, and so I, on the spur of the moment, decided to go and check it out.

Kidney Springs Falls may be a long drive from the other falls, but once you arrive in Kidney Springs, it’s a very easy waterfall to find. There’s a parking area along North River Street that allows you to view the falls from across the Falls River. If you want a closer view, I seem to remember that there was a way to cross a bridge to get across the river, and then hike along a trail that leads you directly to the falls. But either way, neither option was a difficult choice. The waterfall doesn’t usually have much water flowing over it, but it is still pretty nonetheless.

Now, if that doesn’t seem worth it, there may be another waterfall within 5 miles of Kidney Springs Falls, but I had difficulty finding it. The Falls River, which Kidney Springs Falls drops into, seems to have a waterfall along it, which may possibly be accessed off of US-18 (which leads into Kidney Springs). I think I remember driving by and not seeing an easy way to view it, but County Highway 79F might lead you to a view of the falls. In 2016, there were no photos of the falls on Google Maps, but in 2019, there are some photos, so it seems like it may be accessible. (If it ends up being on private property, please respect that and don’t visit the falls.)

Directions:

  1. US-385 South or US-18/US-385 North both lead into Kidney Springs.
  2. You want to find North River Street, which is in Kidney Springs (and kind of follows US-385, though I don’t know if that stretch is officially designated as US-385).
  3. The Falls River runs adjacent to North River Street, and so you want to park along North River Street, and then view the falls from there, or head across the river and get an up-close view.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 40′
Length of Hike: roadside

Where in the World is Kidney Springs Falls?