Posts Tagged ‘water fall’

Blue Lakes Trail – Uncompahgre National Forest

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Lower Blue Lake

Lower Blue Lake

Do high-altitude glacier lakes surrounded by beautiful mountain views interest you?  Well then, you might want to read this and start planning your own hiking adventure on the Blue Lakes Trail!  At this point, I can honestly say that this is the most beautiful location I’ve come across in Colorado, and I highly doubt that it will disappoint you, even if there still is some snow on the ground.

Sure, the altitude may get to you (I topped out at 11,761 feet – a personal best), but if you take it slow and stay hydrated you’ll make it to the top and be happy you made every step of the climb.  The blue hue of the water and surrounding views are what brought me here, but pictures and videos cannot do the Blue Lakes justice… you have to see them for yourself!  You’ll know exactly what I mean, when you peer down onto the Lower Blue Lake, from the rocky cliffs above.

I took this hike as a birthday treat for myself, and camped out right above the Lower Blue Lake for 2 consecutive nights, where I was greeted by plenty of varmints scurrying around, a big buck checking out my campsite (while I ate dinner down the hill), and howling canines of some type up in the mountain tops, which provided me with a wakeup call.  It was truly a beautiful experience, and I’d gladly go back, perhaps sometime in August (to avoid all the snowdrifts), in order to conquer the Blue Lakes Pass and the smaller lake I noticed on Google Maps.

In fact, you can check out my trip right here:

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

There are actually a couple different ways to reach the Blue Lakes, but I opted for the easier hike and the easier drive, so that’s where I’ll direct you.  So, CLICK HERE for directions to where you’ll want to park your car before you start your hike.  There seemed to be plenty of parking spaces available, and no one will mess with your car while you’re off on your adventure.  The Blue Lakes Trail starts at the other end of the parking area, as I’m sure you’ll notice the sign, info board, and trail logbook.

Want to see the path I took?

I just recently started tracking my hikes with the RunKeeper app, so that I can track my actual path, see how far I hiked, how long it took me, and the elevation change I endured.  So, if you’re interested, CLICK HERE for all the stats and map of the path I hiked (from trailhead to my campsite) on the first day.  You can also CLICK HERE to see the short hike I went on to see the two upper Blue Lakes, as well as proof that I actually was 11,761 feet up (looks like you need a RunKeeper account to see those stats)!

HELPFUL TIPS

Unless you really want a challenging hike, complete with giant snowdrifts to hike over and extra chilly nights, I wouldn’t plan on coming here until July.  I hiked this trail on June 20th and, as you got higher in elevation, there were plenty of big snowdrifts I had to hike over, in shorts.  The snow takes a while to melt off the mountains but, as it melts, it drifts down and crosses quite a few spots on the trail, so be prepared for that if you come here before July.

You will also have to wade through water to continue along the trail, at two different points, so wear boots and socks that dry quickly, if they’re not waterproof!  The first water crossing wasn’t that deep when I went, and only one of the footsteps I took resulted in a soggy boot, so it’s nothing to be too concerned about.  In fact, once you cross the first little creek, you’ll know that you’re about halfway to the first lake.  Now, the second patch of flowing water was a bit concerning for me, since the water was really flowing and it happens to be at the top of a waterfall, but with slow and careful steps you’ll make it across, even if the water does come halfway up your calves.  But you’ll only have to wade through water the second time if you plan on going up to the two upper Blue Lakes.

And, even though I’m sure this goes without saying, if you plan on camping here, pack as light as you possibly can – your shoulders and legs will thank you!  The 3.3 miles of hiking to the Lower Blue Lake is tougher than you might think, and you still have about a mile of hiking, as well as over 700 feet in elevation gain, to deal with before you make it to the Upper Blue Lake.

Where I Camped

Where I Camped

Want to camp where I did?  There’s an amazing view of the Lower Blue Lake below you and mountains to die for, but no one else seemed to set up camp where I did.  So, if you want a little privacy and the best spot in the area, then CLICK HERE for the exact spot I set up camp.  If you star this location, you should be able to bring up Google Maps on your phone on the mountain and have it show you how close you are to my spot, at least if you’re using Verizon.

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you, you can check out their official site here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/gmug/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=32558&actid=50

And if you’d like to enjoy the natural beauty without having to see my face, then you can watch the instrumental video here:

And here are more pictures:

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Blackwater Falls State Park and Douglas Falls

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Blackwater Falls (57 feet high)

Blackwater Falls (57 feet high)

If you love amazing views and the perfection of falling water then you need to check this place out!  There is so much beauty to be absorbed by your pretty little eyeballs in West Virginia, so I highly recommend you plan a trip to this area.

My timing was a bit off, otherwise I would have made it to the state’s high point during daylight hours, but I did manage to see some great views and some gorgeous waterfalls.  And I came at the perfect time of year, to see the changing colors of all the leaves, but views like the ones at Blackwater Falls State Park can be enjoyed at any time of the year.

And I know I didn’t go to every overlook, or hike every trail, but I got a good taste of what this area has to offer and I will be going back to this exact location during my walk across the country.  There is a TON of natural beauty to explore, in and outside of the park’s limits, so give yourself plenty of time to absorb it all.

But enough out of me, check out the beauty yourself through the video below…

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

If you would like to check out Blackwater Falls in Davis, West Virginia then CLICK HERE for the directions to the parking lot, above the falls.  There is plenty of parking, bathrooms and food provided here.

If you would like to check out the Pendleton Overlook and Pendleton Falls in Davis, West Virginia then CLICK HERE for directions to the parking lot, right next to overlook.  Once again, there is plenty of parking and it’s only a short hike to the waterfall.

If you would like to check out Elakala Falls in Davis, West Virginia then CLICK HERE for directions to the parking lot, right outside of the lodge.  Again, there is plenty of parking and it’s a short hike to the waterfalls.

If you would like to check out Lindy Point in Davis, West Virginia then CLICK HERE for directions to the parking lot, right beside the trail.  There isn’t a lot of parking here, but you can park on the side of the road if you need to, and it’s not that long of a hike to the vista.

And if you would like to check out Douglas Falls in Thomas, West Virginia then CLICK HERE for approximate directions to where you’ll park.  You will want to turn onto a gravel road called Rail Falls Road, which is marked with a green road sign, but drive slowly because there are a lot of potholes.  If you don’t have four-wheel drive, then just park your car on the side of the road whenever you don’t feel comfortable driving any farther.  It won’t be too long of a walk to the falls, but you will cross a bridge that looks like it’s constructed out of railroad ties and you want to keep going until you come to a gate, and then Douglas Falls is down the bank to the left.

HELPFUL TIPS

At Blackwater Falls they have a boardwalk, with a couple overlooks, so you won’t be able to walk right up to the base of the falls without breaking some rules.

But you will be able to get up close and personal with Pendleton Falls.  Just stick to the Pendleton Trace Trail, marked in blue, and go past a dammed area and over a wooden bridge.  Then, off to the left, you’ll see a small stack of rocks beside a trail and you should hear the falls in the distance.  Take that trail down the bank, but be careful because it can get a little tricky.  You’ll be able to see the falls from up top and the base.  And, if you check out the Pendleton Overlook, be careful around the edge of the gorge because some of the overlook locations don’t have any railing to keep you from going over the edge.

But the trail to Elakala Falls is clearly visible off to the left of the lodge parking lot and you’ll know you’re in the right place whenever you cross a wooden bridge.  Why?  Because you just walked over the top of the falls!  You can climb down the bank to see it up close, but there are actually three more sections to this waterfall, which are a little harder to get to.  So, if you want to see it in its entirety, then be prepared to slowly creep down the gorge, off the beaten path.

And there is a observation deck at Lindy Point, but there are side trails that allow you to walk right out onto the rocks, so be careful near the edge.

But don’t get confused when you’re looking for Douglas Falls, because there are a couple small waterfalls before you get to the true falls.  The first one is wide and falls a decent height but the rocks aren’t quite red at this point, and you’re looking for the reddish rocks, which mining helped color.  The second fall you’ll come across is really short, but now you’ll start to see the reddish rocks.  But you don’t want to stop walking, or driving, until you come to a gate, and you’ll hear the falls off to the left.  You’ll want to be careful on the rocks, but you will be glad you came down this rough road, outside of the park, to find this gem.

WANT MORE?

But if that wasn’t enough for you then check out the official site for Blackwater Falls State Park, here: http://www.blackwaterfalls.com

And if you’d rather not have me interrupt your viewing pleasure, then here’s the instrumental version of the video:

And here are some more pictures…

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Finger Lakes Waterfalls

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Hector Falls (165 feet high)

Hector Falls (165 feet high)

If you love waterfalls then you absolutely HAVE to head to upstate New York and check out the waterfalls around the Finger Lakes!  I had already seen the waterfalls at Letchworth State Park and Watkins Glen but I soon realized that there were quite a few waterfalls that I had missed.

And I’m not talking about tiny trickles of water, here and there, I’m talking about a handful of full-on raging waterfalls, that fall from heights taller than your house!  So, I had to go back up and see them all in one shot… which isn’t that hard to do, since they are all within 20 or so minutes of each other.  And after this trip, I can honestly say that if you love the climate of the northeast and you love waterfalls then you should think about moving to the Finger Lakes region.

I think you’ll soon agree, after you watch this video of my trip:

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

If you want to check out Eagle Cliff Falls in Montour Falls, New York then CLICK HERE to see a map that shows you exactly where to go.  There are plenty of places to park in that loop, and there are also bathrooms, playgrounds and places to have an outdoor feast.

If you want to check out She-Qua-Ga Falls in Montour Falls, New York then CLICK HERE to see a map that shows you exactly where to go; I told you they were close together. 😉  You’ll have to park along the street to see this one, but even on the weekends it doesn’t seem hard to find a parking spot.

If you want to check out Hector Falls in Burdett, New York then CLICK HERE to see a map of where you can park.  You can pull into the place shown on the map, or park along the road, but be careful; it’s a busy road!

If you want to check out Taughannock Falls, from above, in Trumansburg, New York then CLICK HERE to see a map that will direct you to the overlook.  There’s a huge parking lot here, where you can see the falls from above.

If you want to check out the Upper Falls in Taughannock Falls State Park then CLICK HERE to see a map that will direct you to the overlook.  There’s a smaller parking lot here where you can see the falls from above.

But if you want to hike the Gorge Trail, and see Taughannock Falls from the base, you’ll want to CLICK HERE to see a map that will direct you where to start.  There are big parking lots on either side of the road, bathrooms and signs that will direct you where to go.

If you want to check out Buttermilk Falls in Ithaca, New York then CLICK HERE to see where to park.  There’s plenty of parking, vending machines and bathrooms here.

If you want to check out Lucifer Falls in Newfield, New York then CLICK HERE to see where to park.   There’s plenty of parking, vending machines and bathrooms here too.

And if you want to finish out your trip like I did, and check out the Lower Falls at Robert H. Treman State Park, then CLICK HERE to see where to park.  There’s plenty of parking, camping, vending machines, bathrooms and even swimming is allowed at the base of the falls.

HELPFUL TIPS

If you’re going to check out Eagle Cliff Falls, then wear some waterproof boots or your swimming suit.  Even though they say you’re not allowed to swim at the base of the falls, you can get up close and personal with the water and wetness shall be had.  It’s a pretty short hike to the falls though, and it’s a relaxing spot to hang out, but it will cost you $2 to park here.

She-Qua-Ga falls is right along side the road, so there’s nothing to hike to… there’s a sidewalk right up to where you view the falls, benches along the way and a fence right in front of it.  So, this one might be a good waterfall to check out on a stroll after you go out to eat.

You’re going to want to be careful at Hector Falls though, because it’s right on a busy road.  You’re not supposed to park right on the bridge, where the waterfall flows beneath, but you can park alongside the road, and it’s busy.  Just stay clear of traffic and you’ll be golden, but you’ll only be able to see the top section of the falls from the road; to see the rest you’d probably have to be in the lake.

It’s nice to check out Taughannock Falls from the overlook, and the parking’s free, but you really ought to head down to the Gorge Trail to see it from below and really appreciate its size.  Parking in the lots at the start of the Gorge Trail is $7, but the trail is only 3/4 of a mile long.  And if the water’s low, like it was when I came, then you have the option of walking on the flat, rock bottom of the creek bed, the whole way to the falls, or the trail itself.  If you opt to walk in the creek bed then bring some waterproof boots because some places are a bit deep.

But don’t count the Upper Falls out; it’s 100 feet high and worth checking out before you go see Taughannock Falls.  It’s a really short hike from the parking lot and a worthy distraction from the main falls.

It’s supposed to cost $7 to park at Buttermilk Falls as well, but if you come later in the day, like I did, then they’ll just wave you through.  From May to June 18th, and from September 11th to October 18th they only collect the fee on the weekends.  But if you come sometime between June 19th and September 6th, and it’s between 10 AM and 6 PM, then they will be collecting the parking fee as well.  And I opted to not hike the whole way up the Gorge Trail here, because all I really came to see was Buttermilk Falls, but there are some other waterfalls to check out, farther up the trail.  Oh, and it appears that the pool at the base of the falls is a popular place to go swimming on hot days.

And it’s supposed to cost $7 to park at Lucifer Falls and Lower Falls as well (they’re in the same park) but no one was collecting money when I came in and I didn’t see a sign telling me to pay.  So, either I missed the sign or you don’t have to pay later in the day.  But, unless you plan on walking the whole trail to see both of the falls at once, then you’ll want to check ahead and make sure that the full Gorge Trail is open near Lucifer Falls.  It wasn’t when I was there and it ruined my plan of avoiding climbing a bunch of stairs.  But, if the complete trail is open, then plan on parking in the lot for Lucifer Falls, hiking the Rim Trail and then walking DOWN the stairs to the base of Lucifer Falls, then hike back the Gorge Trail to the parking lot (about 1/2 a mile round trip).  It will be a lot easier on you, and there are some great views from above.

And then you can drive to the parking lot near the Lower Falls, in the same park, and possibly take a dip in the deep pool at the base of the waterfall.  You can even drive over/through a waterfall of sorts, if you want to go into the camping area.  Oh, and if you want to get a drink from one of their vending machines, then I hope you have those Presidential $1 coins because I tried 6 different $1 bills and it wouldn’t take any of them!

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you then here’s the official site for Taughannock Falls State Park: http://nysparks.com/parks/62/details.aspx

Here’s the official site for Buttermilk Falls State Park: http://nysparks.com/parks/151/details.aspx

And here’s the official site for Robert H. Treman State Park: http://nysparks.com/parks/135/details.aspx

And you can also check out the instrumental version of my trip, without my face popping up in the video, right here:

And here are more pictures:

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Kent Falls, Circle Museum and the Taconic Sculpture Park

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Gaea's concrete head at the Taconic Sculpture Park

Gaea’s concrete head at the Taconic Sculpture Park

If you’re into tall waterfalls and outdoor art parks then have a seat and check this out!  There is an awesome waterfall in Connecticut called Kent Falls that, all together, is over 250 feet high.  It has a lot of different sections to it and there are good views at every section, as you progress up the trail.  When I went it was raining and found it pretty odd, but there were quite a few people fishing at the base of the waterfall!

But then, as I headed toward the Taconic Sculpture Park, I passed a sculpture park I didn’t even know about; the Circle Museum.  I decided to stop and check out the recycled art, created by a guy named Bijan, and it was a cool find!  There are a lot of metal sculptures, paintings inside and the artist is a pretty chill dude.

And when I finally made it to the Taconic Sculpture Park, I was amazed at the detail of Roy Kanwit’s work.  A lot of the sculptures are made from cement, some are carved from marble, and you can tell that a lot of it is inspired by Greek and Roman mythology.  I thought it was pretty cool that the head, pictured above, was taller than I am and you can go inside it and climb and ladder to a hole in the top of Gaea’s head.

But enough out of me, watch the video below to see how awesome these places are:

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

The three spots are in three completely different locations, but if you’d like to check out Kent Falls State Park in Kent, Connecticut then CLICK HERE for a map that will direct you right to the entrance to the park.  There’s a big parking lot and restrooms available.

If you want to check out the Circle Museum in Austerlitz, New York then CLICK HERE for a map that will direct you right to where you can park to check out the art.  There are not many parking spots but you should be able to squeeze in.

If you want to check out the Taconic Sculpture Park in Spencertown, New York then CLICK HERE for a map that will direct you right to the driveway of the park.  You’ll be directed to park right on the grass.

HELPFUL TIPS

If you come to Kent Falls between Memorial Day weekend and the end of October then there will be a parking fee, otherwise it’s free.  Be ready for a little climb on the trail.  Most of the area is pretty well fenced off, but you’ll want to keep an eye on your kids at the base and at the top of the waterfall.  Signs instruct you to stay on the trail as much as possible, but things are a little more open at the top and bottom.  The park’s open from 8 AM to sunset.

And, when you go to the Circle Museum, don’t forget to check out the paintings inside the building.  Bijan might be in there ready to strike up a conversation about his artwork with you.  I’m not sure of the hours, but I’m sure you could swing by at any time, during daylights hours.

And amazingly enough, all of the artwork at the Taconic Sculpture Park is for sale!  So, if something really catches your eye, you can talk with Roy about purchasing it.  You can swing by the park from 9 AM to 5 PM on the weekends, during the warmer months.

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you then check out the official site for Kent Falls State Park here: http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?A=2716&Q=325228

And here is the official site for the Circle Museum: http://cargocollective.com/circlemuseum

And the official site for the Taconic Sculpture Park: http://www.taconic.net/~kanwit/

And for those of you who want to enjoy Kent Falls without me interrupting the natural beauty, here’s an instrumental version of my stroll through the park:

And as always, here are some more pictures:

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Swallow Falls State Park – Home of the Highest Waterfall in Maryland

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Muddy Creek Falls (53 feet) Highest Waterfall in Maryland

Muddy Creek Falls (53 feet) Highest Waterfall in Maryland

If you’re into waterfalls then you’re definitely going to want to check out Swallow Falls State Park!  But, interestingly enough, the waterfall that steals the show isn’t called Swallow Falls; it’s called Muddy Creek Falls, and water crashes 53 feet down the rocks of this waterfall.  I found it a little odd that the park wasn’t named after the highest waterfall in the state, but the namesake falls have  a cool meaning behind their name.

You see, there’s a big rock pillar that has trees growing on top of it, like an elevated island, and it sits right below Upper Swallow Falls.  And tons of cliff swallows use to nest on that little rocky island, hence the name of the falls and the park.  I only found that out after I got back from my trip, but I was actually thinking about climbing up that little rock pillar when I was there.  I opted not to, since it was wet, but I really loved the short cliff trail and the 4 falls and rapids in this area, and I think you will too!

In fact, take a look at my trip here:

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

Well, if you’re from the area, it’s pretty dang close to Deep Creek Lake in Maryland but, to make things easy for you, just CLICK HERE for a map that will direct you right to Swallow Falls State Park in Oakland, Maryland.  There’s a big parking lot (marked by the green arrow) with bathrooms, picnic tables and the office surrounding it.  You’ll see the start of the trail is right off the one corner of the parking lot as well.

HELPFUL TIPS

Make sure that you have some one dollar bills on you, because it appears that they don’t staff the booth for entrance fees.  They run on an honor system, so you probably won’t be able to get change for bigger bills, unless someone else is there.

And, as with all waterfall locations, be careful when you try to get up close and personal with the waterfalls.  They allow you to walk right up to the top and base of every waterfall and the water is moving FAST, so don’t be too careless.

WANT MORE?

Well, if that wasn’t enough for you then here is the official Swallow Falls State Park site: http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/western/swallowfalls.aspx

And if you’d like to really absorb the nature without my face popping up every minute or two, then here is an instrumental version of my trip:

And, as always, here are some more pictures:

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