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232 Burgess Falls 2010-05-24

Big Falls at Burgess Falls

Saturday afternoon I stopped by Burgess Falls, State Natural Area, for my weekly hike. I had never been to the area; but thought it would be a good hike because it was a Natural Area. I generally enjoy areas which focus more on the wilds and less on the amenities.

The parking area was filled when I arrived. It was a Saturday afternoon, I should not have expected less. Someone was leaving, so I found a space after a short wait. Since the parking area was full, I knew the trail would be crowded, also.

The River Trail follows along Falling Waters River. The trail is easy to follow and is rated as moderate for footing and one long stair climb. There are three waterfalls along the river, ranging from a cascade to an impressive drop. The hardest thing about walking the trail is remembering to look at the trail sometimes. The falls are impressive and draw your attention away from the trail.

There are two constructed overlooks, one for the Middle Falls and one for the Big Falls. The views from the overlooks were worthy of the small effort of walking the trail.

From the Big Falls Overlook a trail descends to the top of the falls. Some hikers were venturing to look over the rim of the falls, I was happy just taking their pictures.

stairs leading to the base of the falls

Leaving the top of the falls, a stairway climbs down the cliff adjacent to the falls. From the base of the stairs a rugged trail switchbacks to the base of the falls. The Falls are spectacular.

Returning to the Overlook, I walked to the gravel road and then along the Ridge Trail. Along the way there was a bench situated for a great view of the gorge below.

Back on the gravel road I returned to the trailhead. The trail was shorter than expected, so I walked it again.

Burgess Falls was a well-kept area. The trails made a nice; but short hike.

Burgess Falls trailhead

A few trails notes:

  • There are Burgess Lake overlooks near the overflow parking area.
  • It would be worth a trip just to see the butterfly garden.
  • There was an excellent history kiosk near the main parking area.
  • The trail was in good condition. The area had no litter.
  • The area was well signed.
  • The fence barrier along the trail was in good repair.
  • The trails were crowded (but it was a Saturday afternoon.)
  • Two Park employees were visible, keeping watch over the area.
  • Water and restrooms were available at the trailhead.
  • The Ridge Trail was short and hardly followed a ridge. It was an easier grade than the River Trail. The trail does not climb to the crest of a ridge, but instead travels along the rim of the gorge for a short distance and then returns to the road. It was a nice, quiet, detour.
  • It was a good hike, just short.

Happy waterfall trails.


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