1st waterfall on Middle Creek 12-12-04
7-29-07 I first learned about these waterfalls from Kevin Adams while he was researching his latest guide book. I went shortly afterwards in high water and just returned a couple of days ago for another visit. The water level now is way down and the above waterfall was a thinner stream by quite a bit. I'm not sure what normal would be.
Directions: From the intersection of Hwys 64 and 106 in Highlands, drive south on Hwy 106 for 9.3 miles (passing the turn for Glen Falls) and pull over on the right shoulder at the School Bus Stop Ahead sign. Just beyond the sign is a white wooden fence and what appears to be a horse pasture. The pulloff is grassy and narrow, but there's room to safely pull off. If you miss it, notice some landmarks and go down the road a bit to turn around.
You should see the national forest boundary marker and a trail leading down the bank. To get to the 1st waterfall shown above, take the trail for less than 5 minutes and look for a side trail to the right just before the point where the trail begins heading up. You'll hear the waterfall through the trees as you are very near the creek. Take that trail to the creek and see if you can rock hop up to a better view. The rocks here are very slippery! If not, look for the little side trail that goes up to a view, then carefully climb down from there.
The 2nd waterfall is a little harder to get to, but not real difficult. Come back out to the main trail and take a right heading uphill. Near the top is a fork. Take the right or straight ahead path along the ridge line. Left goes up to private property. The trail from here was flagged with mostly orange tape on my July '07 trip, but don't count on it. The trail is fairly obvious for the most part, but not so near the top of the 2nd falls if the tape isn't there. Quite a few little side trails lead towards the creek, but you need to bypass the top of the falls and follow the grade down to the base. On a dry day, the trail you want will come out behind this jumble of boulders with trees on top. Go to the left of this and around to the view of the waterfall. You can climb up closer from there. To the left is Death, so you have to be very careful. Avoid this area in wet weather! The picture below is from the December '04 trip. The wet rock is from the spray off of this 75' section of waterfall.
On that day there was no getting closer from this point, but we found a way to get closer from the right side. The spray was so bad I couldn't take a picture. On the July '07 trip, all that rock was bone dry and safe to walk on. The creek was quite a bit tamer also.
This isn't the most photogenic place, but it's pretty awesome. It's worth a visit if you are the adventurist type. It's not a place for small children. I timed it going back and it took me about 15 minutes to get back to my vehicle.
Kevin lists a 3rd waterfall also. Harry and I made it down there on the 1st trip, but I was alone this last time and turned back after the 2nd waterfalls. The creek drops rapidly from here - about 300' in elevation. In low water some of it can possibly be safely explored. To get to the 3rd waterfall, pick up the path down creek again. We missed it on our early trip and ended up going around our butts to get to out elbows to get down the mountain. We finally picked up a flagged trail near the drainage Kevin talks about and stumbled around in the brush before finally finding the waterfall. It's not much, but was kind of cool. The water flows over a big dome shaped chunk of rock shown below. Part of the flow was on this side and part flowed to the right. There was no place to get to where I could shoot the entire thing.
From here we did pick up the trail on the way back up. It was flagged, but that was in 2004.
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