Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Window Falls: Hanging Rock State Park

Window Falls
Window Falls is located within the Hanging Rock State Park which is located in Danbury, NC off of NC 8, north from Hwy 52. More specific directions can be found on their official web site. Window Falls is probably the most visited waterfall in the entire park. As you can see from the picture, there is an opening behind the falls that is easily accessible. I have seen many a hiker cool off in the spray of this magnificent feature.

Finding the Window Falls is fairly easy, although takes a bit more of a hike than the other falls in the park. Once inside the park, you will park by the visitor's center. On the side of the parking lot, you will see picnic benches and shelters set up just beyond the trash cans. There will be a sign that says to Window Falls, and Hidden Falls. Just follow the trail for 0.6 mile which is an easy stroll for the most part. As you get close to the falls, you will have to climb down some steps. These steps have been cut into the rocky ground, so they are not as uniform as those in your house. They are easily traversed, but will add to the difficulty of the hike. This section would be classified as moderate mainly due to the hike back up.

Once you finish with the steps you will find yourself at an observation platform. From here, you can see the water gently falling off of the ledge. Like I said previously, this is a frequently visited location so if you are going to attempt any photography, you will have to be flexible while folks enjoy the view, and cool off in the warmer months.  I would strongly suggest getting here early in the morning, or waiting until the cooler months if your goal is to capture a picture or two.

You can leave the observation platform and explore in the woods a bit. For those that choose to do so, they will be richly rewarded with some secondary cascades below the main water fall. It takes some maneuvering to make you way through the thick woods, but there are several vantage points to view the cascades.

Lower Window Falls Photo Copyright © 2005 G. Kiser

Don't pack up just yet. There is more to see around this particular waterfall. All you have to do is climb up, and you will find even more to look at. For details, please read the sister entry Behind the Window Falls: Hanging Rock State Park.

The hardest part of this hike comes after you are done taking in the beauty of the falls. The stairs that you came down, become rather tiresome on the way back up. It is a good workout to be sure. It is on these return hikes that I question the 40LBS of gear I am carrying with me.

Edit 09-30-2009

The lower sections of this waterfall have gotten much more grown up since my visit in 2005.  I have tried to find similar compositions to the one posted here, but there is just to much ground clutter now.  I would recommend not going beyond the trail because there is little to nothing there to see anymore.


jlocorriere05 said...

I can almost here the water cascading over those rocks Greg! Beautiful shots, I've only visited a little of this area and would love to come back some day to see more. Your photos are great publicity shots for NC! Jeannette.

rjet33 said...

Oooooo, I REALLY like this one!~

rebecca27406 said...

nice shot!  i love standing in this one!  it is very cold, however all year round.  hence, the bronchitis.

rjet33 said...

You ought to be in really good shape carrying around that much weight on a hike like this.  As usual, your photography is STUNNING!~



midwestvintage said...

 The pictures are stunning and it looks like you made a good investment.  Too bad there is no way to lighten up the load but its worth it.