Kepler Cascades and Old Faithful

Kepler CascadesLet’s Start with Kepler Cascades

 Kepler Cascades is a waterfall on the Firehole River in southwestern Yellowstone National Park . The cascades are located approximately 2.5 miles south of Old Faithful. The cascades drop approximately 150 feet over multiple drops. The longest drop is 50 feet. The cascades were named by the park superintendent in 1881 for the 12-year-old son of Wyoming’s territorial governor John Wesley Hoyt. Hoyt and his son, Kepler, were visiting Yellowstone in 1881 when  Superintendent Norris named the cascades after the younger Hoyt.

The Firehole River flows over a series of small ledges before making it’s 50 ft drop. There’s a paved parking area and a well Observation Platform at Kepler Cascadesmaintained wooden observation platform. Its a great place for viewing the falls and taking pictures. I was there in the off season so there was plenty of room. No telling what it’s like in the summer season.

Falls at Kepler Cascades

Upper Geyser Basin

Upper geyser Basin

Leaving the Kepler Cascades behind steam starts to become visible in the distance. I’m about 2.5 miles away from the upper geyser basin, home to Old Faithful Geyser. When you reach the Upper Geyser basin there’s a lot more than just Old Faithful.  The Upper Geyser Basin, approximately two square miles in area, contains the largest concentration and nearly one-quarter of all of the geysers in the world! You enter a world of steam and clouds. While I was topping off the gas tank I spotted a lone Bison wandering toward the steaming plateau. Tourists closely followed behind the bison with camera’s clicking.  I was surprised the rangers didn’t round them up and shoo them away from the animal.


I could see Old Faithful in the distance building up a head of steam. If I didn’t make it to the viewing area in the next few minutes I’d have a 90 minute wait for the next eruption.  

Old Faithful warming up

Sure enough, in just the few minutes it took me to go up the road to the Old Faithful Parking Lot, the geyser went off!

Visitor Center

On the Road to Angel Falls

On the Road to Angel Falls

angel Falls maineMy handout from the Chamber of Commerce describes Angel Falls as one of Maine’s tallest Waterfalls. It claims to be 90 ft. We saw Bash Bish Falls at 60-80 feet and that was pretty impressive. Time to top that one with a 90 ft drop. The directions were pretty specific. “Turn right on to a unnamed gravel road (adjacent to a large open field)” Now that’s pretty clear don’t you think? believe it or not, I found it!

Cross the Swift River

This was starting to look like a real adventure. One of the reason I got an SUV was to be One Lane Bridge over the Swift River, Maineable to navigate the back roads of the places I wanted to visit, like Maine, New Hampshire and Duxbury Beach. (that’s another story). I turned onto an unnamed gravel road next to a large open field and there was a one lane bridge over the Swift River. This matched my directions perfectly. That bridge look pretty questionable but I tried it anyway.

Bemis Road

Bemis Rd, Maine, A dirt Road with RutsMy directions then told me to take a right on Bemis Road. That’s a little confusing because there is no right and I thought I was on Bemis Road when I went over the bridge. No worries, I’ll just keep going a little farther and see where it takes me. After passing a cute little house surrounded by lilac bushes the road made a sharp right. A hand lettered sign said “Gate Closed” 1 mile.  I continued on. The road was bumpy, rutted and filled with pot holes. The deepest holes had sticks standing upright in them as a warning, or so I assume. A friendly Maine driver waved at me so I pulled over. He assured me I was headed in the right direction and told me to ignore the “private” signs and “no trespassing”! he said it was beautiful out there and I might even see a moose.

Angel Falls to the Left

I bumped along what seemed like forever. I kept reminding myself this was why I have an Road to Angel Falls, MaineSUV as we lurched over another set of ruts.  Finally, as I passed a car parked on the shoulder, I saw a sign with an arrow, Angel Falls. It pointed left but as I gazed at the dirt road down the hill my stomach almost flipped. I felt like I was at the top of a roller coaster about to start down! Yikes! I don’t do roller coasters!

Bash Bish Falls

Bash Bish Falls

Bash Bish Falls is located in a State Park of the same name in the Town of Mount Washington, Ma. This is the highest single drop water fall with the state’s borders.

Bash BishFalls lies in the Taconic mountains located int he Hudson Valley. Even so, Massachusetts residents prefer to include it in the Berkshire mountains and New York residents consider it all part of the Adirondack Mountains.

60-80 ft drop

After a series of cascades, nearly 200 ft in total, the final drop splits. The twin falls stream past the jutting center rock to fall 60-80 feet to the serene pool at the bottom.

A Dangerous Attraction

The falls are clearly posted  “no swimming” but I saw several people with shirts off and towels ready that were just itching to jump in. The rangers were present the whole time I was there making sure none one acted on the impulse. Because of the large number of drowning, injuries and falls in 2009 AOL Travel named Bash Bish Falls as one of the “Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions” in the U.S. In 2010 AOL upgraded the warning  to the world.

Leaving the Falls

Obviously leaving the falls was easier than climbing up to it. Driving back to the highway was shorter and quicker going through New York. It wasn’t long until I was back on I 90 heading for the New York State Line.

Wildlife in New York

I had barely crossed the stat line when I spotted a brown spot against the green. As I drew closer I could see it was a deer. Just about the time I drew even with her I realized it wasn’t one deer. It was a doe and fawn. The fawn was tiny and covered with spots. That made my day. A beautiful waterfall and now a mama and baby deer. What more could you ask for on a Saturday afternoon?


The Ultimate Massachusetts Waterfalls Road Trip

The Ultimate Massachusetts Waterfalls Road Trip

We dabbled with the Ultimate New Hampshire Road Trip.

Jackson Falls, NH

I need to make another trip back for a couple more waterfalls and a covered bridge but I just ran across this link You guessed it; The Ultimate Massachusetts Waterfalls Road Trip.

Where are these Waterfalls?

Turns out the Massachusetts waterfalls are far more spread out than the New Hampshire ones. It’s an 8 hours drive to complete the road trip not figuring in hiking times.

Doane Falls

The trip begins at Doane Falls, Royalston, moves west through the Berkshires and swings back south of the Mass Pike. # 5  on the list is Bish-Bash Falls.

Bish Bash Falls

Bish Bash Falls is the most western waterfall right on the New York border. I first heard of Bish Bash Falls last year but never found the time to go look for it. Now, with the Ultimate Massachusetts Waterfall Road trip as a guide it’s back on my radar. I have a feeling that I will need to set aside a whole day for this waterfall. The trail is a 2 mile out and back hike near Mt. Washington. and a 3-4 hour drive from where I live but it look like a pretty little falls, not Niagara but certainly worthwhile.

Glendale Falls

Glendale Falls in Middlefield, MA is described as among the longest and most powerful in the state. Middlefield is a little closer to me but still quite a hike. It’s past Springfield MA approaching Becket in the Berkshires. It’s not surpriseding that I’ve never heard of this waterfall. I’d never heard of Middlefield!

The series of comments on trip advisor ranged from beautiful little falls to creepy. We’re going to be slashed in the woods!

It will be interesting to see how I feel about it if I go.

Has Anyone been to any of these Falls?

Take a peek at the list of waterfalls and locations. If you’ve been to any of them please let me know. Are they worth the drive to get to them? I’d love to get your comments.



High Water at the Lower Falls of the Swift River

High Water at the Lower Falls

After leaving Sabbaday Falls I headed east on the Kancamagus Highway. The Swift River runs parallel the the Kancamgus  on your left as we headed down the mountains. The water was high and really rushing. I actually drove right by the Lower Falls because I wasn’t expecting to be able to see them right there from the road. A but further down the Kanc I found a place to turn around so I could back track.

Kayaking The Swift River

On my way back to the Lower Falls I passed a trail head with a number of trucks and vans parked by the road. Some had kayaks piled next to them but I didn’t see anyone around.  A couple of corners later I could see the  Lower Falls ahead and the kayaks were explained. There were at least a half dozen brightly colored kayaks being put in just below the Falls. They must be putting in here then kayaking downstream to meet the vans. I hurried to park because I wanted to get some pictures but in the few minutes  it took me to pull in the kayakers were long gone and out of sight.

Lower Falls Picnic area

The parking area is beautifully maintained, fully paved and lined. There is a large visitor center with restrooms. The trails are really just short paths over to the river bank. A large wooden deck extends over the river providing a great view of the falls. During low water in the summer people swim here. But clearly the wild water from the spring run off makes it too cold and the current too strong for swimming at this time of the year.

If You Go

The lower falls are not a world class waterfall by any stretch of the imagination. They are made up of a series of ledges and steps. In low water there are lots pools and beaches and people flock here to swim. It was fun to see the water volume giving these quiet, gentle falls a bit of life and energy. Definitely needs a return trip in summer or fall to see a different side of this popular destination.