Usually I work on Saturday, but with this being Christmas Eve I had a chance instead to get out into the woods to enjoy the day. I chose to take a waterfalls hike in DuPont State Forest, about a 40 minute drive from my home. Little River drops more than 1000 feet in less than two miles over a series of falls that take the river from granite domes to pastoral valley. In between is awesome power and amazing scenery.
I started with Triple Falls, named for the three-tiered cascade that drops 120 feet in a zig-zag pattern through a thick conifer forest. It’s about a half mile from the Hooper Falls parking area along Staton Road. The trail follows the river most of the way, then climbs a steep but short hill to two overlooks that encompass a view of the full length of Triple Falls. There are 109 wooden steps that then descend to the base of the middle cascade, allowing you to dangle your feet and feel the mist from the roaring torrent.
Next up, I headed to Buck Forest Road and the Covered Bridge Trail to High Falls. Little River flows on a plateau for a ways before reaching High Falls, the tallest of the four different waterfalls. There is a beautiful covered bridge across the river a mere 100 feet upstream from the falls that offers a stunning view of the precipice, but not a hint of the rampage that falls 150 feet to the basin below. Sound is enough to warn you that something big is happening there.
I stopped for a sandwich and some photos at the bridge before heading around the ridge on the Covered Bridge Trail (see photo above). After half a mile there is a picnic shelter and a full frontal overlook of High Falls. I felt daring and took the very steep, very slippery stairs, roots, and wet moss covered boulder trail to the base of the falls. I received a cold winter blast of waterfall mist for my trouble. It was delightful.
The waterfalls hikes in DuPont State Forest are a fun family experience for all ages in all seasons. The falls will never look the same twice, so I will be going back again and again to enjoy the different colors in the forest, and the variable flow rate in the river. Here are some photos from today.