Cummins Falls State Park

After leaving Waterloo Falls, I was itching to do some actual hiking.  Next stop was Cummins Falls State Park which was only 15 minutes away by car.  Weather today was nearly perfect – sunny and about 60 degrees, which felt like summer compared to what I left in Wisconsin.

I started by hiking the Upstream Trail towards the Overlook Trail to get a view of the falls.  The lookout point is quite far away but you can appreciate the scale of these falls and hear a loud roar of the water dropping on the rock shelf below.  Immediately I knew I had to get closer if at all possible.

Following the Overlook Trail there is a “shortcut trail” which winds down the cliffside through a series of switchbacks.  Trails were very well maintained but rocky in many spots.  Trail markers were some of the best I’ve ever seen and appeared to be 3D printed or milled from plastic – super cool.

The trail leads abruptly from the dense forest directly to the river with almost no transition.  Views were stunning.  I could have sat here all day.

Some additional views looking up & down the river:

About halfway down my hike, a Great Blue Heron was scooping fish from the river and followed my pace on the opposite bank.  Walking along the cliffsides allowed passage under several rock ledges.  Looking across the river at one point, another small waterfall seeped from the cliff and carved out a grotto.

Alas, at some point closer to the falls but not quite close enough, I came to an impasse of deeper water and slippery rocks.  I attempted to cross in a more calm location, but the water was freezing and in bare feet the rocks were too slippery.  Next time, I would bring some water shoes and make easy work of this section, but today wasn’t that day.  I took my time walking the trail back to the car to soak in the excellent views.  Would easily come back here again and again!

[Click on photos above for the larger version]

Hiking Data

After 2 days of shuttle buses, waiting in airports, plane rides, and rental cars, a peaceful 2 mile hike was perfect to get my adventure drive re-activated.  GaiaGPS route didn’t quite sync to the topo map image but it’s often imperfect in river canyons like this.  Check out the elevation graph – the quick changes were definitely noticeable!

Lat = 36.2529716 , Long = -85.5658035 -- Show at Google Maps

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