So long hot nights and extended days. Summer has been good to us! We took a few road trips out to national parks, stopped by a tradeshow or two, linked up with new friends, and of course spent plenty of time in the water. Our good friend Zach Liptak, from Excursion Always, put together a list of the Craziest Waterfalls in ode to summer. There's still time for one last hurrah before the weather changes for the year!
1) Nauyaca Falls, Costa Rica
Nauyaca Falls is the number one craziest waterfall I have ever been to, and most likely one of the most beautiful waterfalls I'll ever stumble upon. This waterfall is hidden deep in the jungles of Costa Rica, which requires stopping at a family's house on the dirt path and getting a key to open the gate at the start of the trail. We were told to park at a separate house at the top of a hill, which we accidentally passed and continued down the hill, where we immediately got stuck and had to fully utilize our RAV4's four-wheel drive capabilities to make it back up the muddy and rutted out slope to our parking spot. The hike to the falls traversed through the jungle, and required a rock scramble upstream where we finally found the falls. I had seen and read that you could climb up to either the first or second tier, and leap off the 30 or 70 foot falls. In our attempt to reach the falls, both myself and my friend found ourselves being violently thrown around due to the intense flows during the rainy season, and quickly realized it was impossible to actually reach the falls, much less jump them. It is one of my goals to return to Costa Rica during low flows and finally jump this monster!
2) Upper American Falls, Tahoe National Forest
The Upper American was an area I have been dying to explore for a number of years, and finally made it down there this summer and lived to tell the tale. We used a topographic map to plan our route, which was determined include scrambling down a dry canyon wash for nearly 3,000 feet in the middle of the night. On the way down, we swore there was a mountain lion protecting its territory directly in our path as our flashlights kept catching eyeshine. We attempted to scare off this beast using rock and screaming like banshees for nearly 30 minutes, until its "eye" decided it was instead a moth and flew into the night sky. We reached our campsite around 1 AM, but woke up to the most glorious series of swimming holes and cliff jumps imaginable.
3) Seven Falls, Plumas National Forest
Seven Falls is a series of seven waterfalls that cascade down nearly 800 feet in just under two miles, making each waterfall an average of over 100 feet. These falls are not easy to access, and require navigating a series of logging roads and unmarked dirt roads to reach the unmaintained trailhead. Once on the trail, it's a steep descent of another 2,000 to the canyon floor, where the third fall stands at 100 feet t wide and 40 feet tall. The next 4 falls downstream are essentially unreachable unless you bring some serious canyoneering gear, which I intend to do next time we venture out to the Plumas National Forest. The swimming opportunities are limitless; however, jumping is very risky as there is a large horizontal clearance required for almost every jump, and if anything goes wrong, help is a very, very, very long ways away.
4) Stanislaus River Falls, Stanislaus National Forest
I had heard rumors of a small fall with an huge swimming hole on the Stanislaus River, and struck out to find it back in July 2015. The hike down involved nearly 2 miles of rock scrambling before we picked up a small trail that lead us to this beauty. One the way, one of our friends decided to practice his bouldering skills and promptly slipped and fell almost 20 feet to the riverbed upside down. Luckily his backpack and a boulder broke his fall and he hobbled away with a mangled knee and a nasty concussion, but do this day, that was one of the most intense hikes because of that fall. The trauma of those injuries seemingly vanished once we reached the swimming hole though!
5) Rock Creek Falls, Plumas National Forest
This beautiful little waterfall is created by the impoundment of Rock Creek by a huge hulking boulder, creating a miniature paradise complete with a short natural waterside. On the hike to these falls, we were stuck in a massive lightning storm complete with a torrential downpour of rain, which made the steep granite slabs we were crossing on the way to the falls all the more treacherous. In the end we made it with only minor injuries, and the warm, seemingly tropical rainstorm only made this incredible waterfall all the more worthwhile.