Sol Duc Falls in Washington
A multitiered waterfall in Olympic National Park, Sol Duc Falls drops off the side of a cliff into a narrow canyon 50 feet below. Photos of this waterfall sparked one man’s passion for landscape photography, and he reports on a drive to the park to see it in person.
He wasn’t disappointed. His road trip from Seattle included a visit to see Marymere Falls, and on the way back to the city, he stopped at Rocky Brook Falls (reached by an easy walk) and Murhut Falls, a 130-foot-tall waterfall that requires an uphill hike. “Dominating the forest around it, Murhut Falls was well worth the effort,” he notes.
Ferne Clyffe Waterfall in Illinois
The Big Rocky Hollow Trail in Ferne Clyffe State Park leads you to this beautiful waterfall, which crashes 100 feet into a creek below. The park is one of several in the verdant Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, a 290,000-acre woodland that stretches between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.
Like most waterfalls in the Midwest, Ferne Clyffe Waterfall and other smaller falls scattered throughout the park flow only after heavy rain. An uncrowded wilderness haven that appeals to hikers, kayakers, rock climbers, fishing enthusiasts, birdwatchers and anyone who appreciates the sound of rushing waterfalls, Shawnee National Forest is an easy weekend road trip for Midwesterners, as it’s about a three-hour drive (or less) from St. Louis, Nashville and Louisville.
Yosemite Falls in Northern California
One of the tallest waterfalls in the continental U.S., Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park drops 2,425 feet from the top of the upper fall to the base of the lower fall in Yosemite Valley. It’s easy to recognize because of the notch in the Sierra Nevada clifftop where it begins.
The park, about four hours from San Francisco, is home to at least another 25 waterfalls as well, in a wide range of sizes. Most years, the flow is fullest in May. Vernal, Nevada and Bridalveil waterfalls tend to flow year-round, but most of the others (including the biggest one) dry up in summer. As one ranger puts it, “In summer, we refer to Yosemite Falls as ‘Yosemite Walls.’”
Photographers head for Yosemite in mid- to late February, hoping to see Horsetail Fall glow orange during sunset. If you visit late in winter, watch for slushy frazil ice, which forms when mist from the waterfalls freezes and rushes down creeks in the early morning hours. And if you see a mound of snow and ice hundreds of feet tall at the base of Upper Yosemite Falls, that’s known as a snow cone.