Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘waterfall’

Cascading Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills State Park

Cedar Falls 1

Welcome sign to Cedar Falls

Should I or shouldn’t I?  That was the question upon approaching the one hundred steps down to Cedar Falls. The naturalist said they were easy steps so with the help of my walking stick, the walk down began.

Cedar Falls steps

Looking back to the top

From the very top, the roar of the falls could be heard distinctly. That brought a smile to my face as several trips to the falls in previous years were made in the summer time when the water was not running with much force.

In Hocking Hills State Park, it was also surprising how many others were looking for that peaceful walk through nature. Step  by step the bottom got closer, but the sound of the falls got farther away. Well-placed benches along the way provided not only a place to rest, but a place to meditate and connect with nature.

Cedar Falls flowers

Tiny white spring blossoms

Since this trip was solo, there was no need to hurry so it was possible to leisurely enjoy the sights and sounds of the forest along the way. Springtime just had its beginnings that day and small flowers were popping up through the ground.

Cedar Falls Ferns

Fern and moss covered rock

Ferns were coming back to life and the trees were budding. A good day to be out for a walk.

Cedar Falls stream

Bridge over the stream

To be in nature is to know peace. At the bottom of the stairs, a path along the stream, called Queer Creek by the early settlers, brought relaxation, because this far from the falls the stream ran quietly. But the nearer the path came to the falls, the stream became a bubbling brook with water rippling over the stones. Seemed like a great place to build a cabin.

Cedar Falls cliffs

Surprisingly high cliffs

This remote area was bound by steep rock walls and grottos. While it may be a wild and lonely place, its beauty made the trip worthwhile.

Cedar Falls

Powerful Cedar Falls

After crossing the gentle bubbling brook, a path led closer to the waterfalls. Around a bend, it could be heard full force. As the stream tumbled over the face of Blackhand Sandstone, the amazing force of the water was displayed. A large rock platform or another small bridge made perfect places to take pictures of the waterfalls and drink in their beauty and power.

Cedar Falls roots

Roots for support

While standing at the largest waterfall, a hawk spread its wings and flew overhead as if to welcome everyone. It served as a reminder to observe the world from a higher perspective. While the forest is predominantly hemlock trees, the early settlers mistook them for cedar trees – thus the name, Cedar Falls.

Although there were many people all along the path and at the waterfalls, it was unbelievably quiet. Folks talked in soft voices…almost whispers, so as not to disturb the intense feeling of Cedar Falls. It’s one of those places you don’t want to leave.

But now for the walk back along the path and up those steps. Thanks to my walking stick, the climb back up wasn’t as difficult as one might think. Ah! What a beautiful day for a walk in the forest.

Cedar Falls is located in Hocking Hills State Park in the south-central section of Ohio. Find your closest route to Logan, Ohio, then follow OH-664 S until you reach Hocking Hills State Park. Watch for signs to guide you to Cedar Falls and other points of interest. A walk in the park is good for the soul.

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Elakala Trail

View of Elakala Falls from across the valley with State Park Lodge in the upper left hand side

View of Elakala Falls from across the valley with State Park Lodge in the upper left hand side

Although not as forceful as the Blackwater Falls, the Elakala Falls are much longer. Found in the Blackwater State Park near Davis, West Virginia, these falls can first be seen from the Pendleton Overlook. Looking straight across the Blackwater River, the Elakala Falls can be seen on the opposite bank to the right of the State Park Lodge. From this distance it looks like a fine line down the side of the mountain, but in reality it is much larger.

Rugged path to Elakala Falls

Rugged path to Elakala Falls

Now it’s time to head to the other side  and walk down the Elakala  Trail. This is a rather rough trail with no steps, just a mountain path. You must be careful of tree roots and rocks in the middle of the path, but the view is worth it. Elakala Falls is a series of four waterfalls of Shays Run, as it cascades down a canyon wall into the Blackwater River below

View of Elakala Falls from the top

View of Elakala Falls from the top

The first waterfall can be accessed fairly easily so more photographs happen here than at the other three. That first waterfall spills over 35 feet to continue down Shays Run. A wooden bridge there provides an easy means of crossing for an overview, but you will want to go just a little farther to get the best picture. 

Some choose the challenge to continue down to the next waterfall, but jumbled rocks and unsecure footing combine to make it very difficult. Anything beyond the second fall is considered extremely dangerous and not recommended for any but very experienced hikers. No marked trails exist for the other three and the gorge here drops 200 feet.

Bridge over Elakala Falls

Bridge over Elakala Falls

The name for these waterfalls originated from old Native American Indian legends, of which there are several. The one I like best claims that  an Indian princess named Elakala threw herself over the edge of the first waterfall when her warrior scorned her. While it’s impossible to know which legend rings true, this area seems to be a perfect place for those early Native Americans to have lived – near the water and under the many rock shelters present.

Directions to Blackwater State Park travel many scenic routes along the way. These are the clearest directions I have found: Take I-7o E to I-79 S. Stay on I-79 S to Morgantown, WV. At Morgantown, follow I-68 E to Rt. 42 S, Friendsville, MD. Follow to Rt. 219 S through Oakland, MD, to Thomas, WV. At Thomas, take Rt. 32 S to Davis, WV. See what I mean?

 

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