6-29-13 - Bard Falls is a waterfall you really don't want to miss. It's also known as Hole-in-the-Wall Falls - named for the large pothole next to the falls that goes all the way through the rock. In the above image, I'm sitting right next to the hole and it goes all the way down to creek level! There are more than one ways to get to this 30' high waterfall depending on which trail you happen to be on or how far you want to hike. You may also be doing a multi-day backpack which could have you on the trail this waterfall is on - the North Harper Creek Trail (#266). The route I describe is about 1.75 miles and not too hard, but has a creek crossing where you will probably have to get your feet wet, a few rocky places, and a scramble to get down to the falls from the trail.
Directions: Get yourself to FR464 by one of the ways I describe on the main Wilson Creek page. If you come in from the Parkway at MP 311, once you get on FR464, drive 2.5 miles to the right turn for FR58. There are a couple of drive up primitive camp sites here. Stay straight on FR464 and drive and additional 3.2 miles to a small parking area on the right for Trail #266A. If you come in via the Mortimer Recreation Area, drive 3-3.5 miles on FR464 and the parking area will be on the left. I didn't get an exact mileage, but look for the parking for Hunt Fish Falls on the right at around 3 miles or so. Bard Falls parking is 1/2 a mile past that. The trail begins here.
Trail #266A heads gradually downhill from the parking area for a mile and dead ends into the North Harper Creek Trail (#266). Turn left here and follow this easy trail down North Harper Creek. At just over 1/4 mile from this turn, the trail crosses the creek. Most of the time this will be a wet crossing, but it's not too deep. The more steady of you rock hoppers may be able to make it across on some small rocks just up creek from the crossing. If it's a hot day, you might just want to take a dip here before continuing. From here, it's less than 1/2 a mile to the top of the waterfall. There are several cascades and swimming holes along the way, but most require a slippery scramble down to them. This section of the trail is particularly pretty with the creek on the left and stone and rock walls to the right. At the top of the falls, you can get out on the rock for a view of the creek below the falls.
top of Bard Falls
There are 2 large pot holes in the rock next to the waterfall. One is deep and generally has a dry bottom. The other one is the one that goes all the way through the rock. Don't fall in or you'll be hurtin' for certain! On a dry day, you can scoot down that rock from where Bobbie is sitting if you have grippy footwear. Don't try to do it near the water flow for obvious reasons! If this looks too steep, go back out and continue down the trail, passing a wet area where people have scrambled down, and look for a less steep drainage area that will take you to the nice pool below the waterfall. This waterfall is an excellent spot to hang out - especially with the cool rock next to the falls and the nice little swimming hole. This entire area has some really nice fall color, so keep that in mind if you are looking for nice autumn waterfall scenes. Unfortunately, the light was horrible the only time I have been during the fall.
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