Monday, March 4, 2013

Hanging Rock - Waterfalls

The Waterfalls of Hanging Rock State Park

"If I had a Waterfall, we wouldn't wonder not at all at how much  fun each day was gonna be"- Dwight Yoakam
View from beneath Lower Window Falls
On a cold Sunday in March, the FBWG ventured alone to Hanging Rock State Park to visit the five waterfalls located within the park.   Hanging Rock State Park has many interesting features but its collection of waterfalls may be its best kept secret....see if you agree....

The hike started from the visitor's center parking lot, the place where most folks begin their hike up to the popular Hanging Rock, which has been profiled in earlier blog entries.  The first of two waterfalls, Hidden Falls, is located about 1/2 mile down the Indian Creek Trail.  

Hidden Falls is hidden off a short spur trail.
The Hidden Falls is really three upper cascade with twin spouts and two lower cascades.   You have to make a pretty easy rock scramble to get to the upper falls and ford the creek to get a good view. 

Upper Hidden Falls
Lower Hidden Falls

The Lower Hidden Falls pour over a ledge falling about ten feet to a broad swift flowing creek.

Hidden Falls
View of Lower Portion of Hidden Falls

Flowing from a  broad pool, small twin spouts  form a third waterfall for the visitor to enjoy!

Leaving Hidden Falls, the FBWG returned to the Indian Creek Trail and in another 3/4 mile came upon the newly constructed steps and overlook landings profiling the spectacular Window Falls

Ice Wall from Window at Window Falls
Just like Hidden Falls, the Window Falls has an upper and lower cascade.  The upper cascade is located around the corner of the base of a large rock cliff in which is located a large rock window. Looking through the window, icicles adorn a rock wall below the root ball of a  fallen tree.
the Window at Window Falls

To view the upper cascade, you have to leave the safety of the landing and scamper around the rock cliff.  The upper cascade is nestled behind the cliff along an icy creek.  
Window Falls

Turtle Rock at Window Falls

Many interesting rocks are adorned with ice.  One even looks like a turtle.

Icy Wall at Window Falls

The safest way to view the lower cascade is to return to the landing and walk down the steps...but the FBWG could not resist another scramble and rumbled, stumbled, slipped and slid down the far side of the creek....and as a reward got to do something few people get to do.....
Lower Cascade Window Falls

....stand underneath a waterfall in weather so cold that the water flowing overhead was turning into icicles !

View from beneath Window Falls

It was really not very wet beneath the falls, but the occasional water droplets did soak my Red Sox hat and gave me an icy chill!

Icicles from beneath Lower Cascade of Window Falls

It was a sunny day but the temperatures were in the low thirties. Nice Nike long underwear and layered sweatshirts made the hike quite comfortable and the ice certainly made for some interesting photographs!

Lower Cascade Window Falls
As much fun as playing in icy water on a sunny day may seem, I had to leave nonetheless as I had three more waterfalls to visit....but on the way out I scrambled to the top of the rock cliff overlooking Window Falls and caught a nice view of  the surrounding countryside.  A 1.25 mile hike back to the parking lot was all uphill but was tempered by a nice view along the trail of Hanging Rock....something you can't see in the summer.

To get to the next waterfall....Upper Cascade Falls, it is best to ride to the other side of the parking lot and follow the well marked trail, a .3 mile downhill walk....nice handicap improvements allow the disabled to get a nice view of the falls......but to get the best views you have to venture off the marked I came upon the newly constructed overlook, I heard the unmistakable roar of a waterfall and followed a narrow trail around some rocks and was treated to a view of the lower falls for the Upper Cascade Waterfall...something you can't see from the wooden landing.
Lower Falls of the Upper Cascade Fals
The real treat is the Upper Cascade falls upstream.  To access it you cross the wooden landing and climb down some steps to the base of the falls.

Upper Cascade Falls

Like the other falls I visited, ice made the rocks look blue.
Base of Upper Cascade Falls

To reach the last two waterfalls, you have to travel to the other side of Hanging Rock State Park.  Taking a left at the Park entrance onto Moores Springs Road, and another left on Hall Road, you find the parking lot to the trail for the Lower Cascade Falls.....the most spectacular of the beautiful waterfalls of Hanging Rock State Park is just a mile downhill from the parking lot. 

Lower Cascade Falls
The Lower Cascade Falls, is about 35 feet tall and flows into a large warmer weather, FBWG might rename these falls "cottontail" but not on a 35 degree day!....the pond is at the base of a magnificent layered rock wall...and the pond flows into a rock stair step creek. Like a young boy, the FBWG scampered down the creek hopping from rock to sandbar and in the process took some nice pics.

Following the creek downstream, the view was exhilarating ....the water was icy cold but the sun and the scampering combined to work up a nice sweat for the FBWG.   

The nice thing about winter hikes is that you can scamper without worrying about briers and time I will follow the Cascade Creek around this bend as I am sure there is another waterfall downstream.

The final waterfall is Tory's Den Falls which is off Charlie Younger get there you follow Hall Road to Mickey Road....On the way I got some really nice pictures of Moore's Knob and Cooks Wall.
Moore's Knob/Cooks Wall

Tory's Den Falls
Lower Cascade Tory's Den Falls
Tory's Den will be the subject of another bog entry is a two mile out and back trail with a great story attached....but the waterfall is about 1/2 mile down the trail and though it is not as spectacular as the other waterfalls it is a ruggedly remote waterfall and well worth the visit.

Hollowed Root Ball at Window Falls

My only regret is that my hiking companion was home recovering from a flu bug and could not join me on this wonderful afternoon hike.  All told I hiked about six miles.  However, each waterfall is easily accessible with the longest trail being about 2.4 miles in length.  There is no excuse for not visiting these spectacular natural wonders. Hanging Rock State Park may just be the perfect it has something for convenient and well maintained....Overall Trail Rating....10!

Looking up Cascade Creek toward Lower Cascade Falls

One of Fat Bald White Guy's most dedicated fans, my big sis, Becky Venable, had back surgery the previous Friday in hope of being able to walk on the beach this summer...all day long I thought of her and the prospect of her long I dedicate this hike to her in hope that when she feels better she will take a virtual hike with me to this wonderful venue.

"If I had a Waterfall, we wouldn't wonder not at all at how much fun each day was gonna be"  Dwight Yoakam

1 comment:

  1. I love these shots of the waterfalls. amazing that you were out up there in the cold! Inga.