There is something undeniably pleasant and harmonious about the sight of moving water. Hence, the attraction to waterfalls, those fountains of nature. Everybody loves ‘em, right?
Maybe not. If you’re a serious hiker, my bet is that you probably don’t dislike them, but you probably don’t love them either. Most serious hikers I know prefer a good, solid mountain top with a view, and maybe a rock scramble, to a waterfall any day. But that doesn’t mean that waterfalls can’t be worthy in and of themselves.
My opinion is that the best waterfalls in the United States are located west of the Mississippi except for one, and realistically, once you’ve seen that one it’s all downhill, so to speak…you really don’t absolutely need to see any other.
There simply are no waterfalls in these here eastern hills that remotely compare with, say, Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemeti, or Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon, or Cascade Canyon in Grand Teton or Snoqualmie Falls in Washington State. The eastern states just plain don’t have the snowpack for that kind of runoff, for one thing. And the mountains are older and more worn down, so the drop offs aren’t as steep. I guess you can make the argument that the mountains of the east don’t compare with the Rockies, Sierras and Cascades either…but it doesn’t seem to matter as much to me. Maybe because I love mountains so much.
The most impressive falls I have personally seen outside of New York State is probably Hemmed in Hollow in Arkansas. I was last there in 2006…not even sure I can find those pictures any more.
Most waterfalls in the Appalachians tend to be small and rather scant of output…seldom do they roar impressively. More pleasant cascades than thunderous tumults. And waterfalls hikes in the Appalachians tend to be short, often on muddy and badly eroded trails which are overrun with sneaker and flip-flop hikers. Maybe this has caused me to disparage them to a greater degree than is deserved. Its not the fault of the waterfalls that they are over-loved.
Sylvia, by the way, enjoys waterfalls to a slightly greater degree than I.
But whatever I might think of the pleasures and pitfalls of waterfalls, they are certainly popular, and we have visited a good many. We will re-visit our adventures in North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and other locations where gravity and water meet.
Get ready for Waterfall Week!
Next up: Dark Hollow Falls