Chasing waterfalls

Watching Ken Burn’s amazing documentary, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea on PBS the last few nights I have seen a lot of majestic waterfalls. It made me think about waterfalls  we’ve visited over the years. While we have great National Parks in the southwest, because of the arid climate, waterfalls tend to be smaller. But wherever I am, if there’s a waterfall, the sound of rushing water draws me. I love sitting next to falling water and listening to the sound it makes and take in the powerful energy it generates. Here are five waterfalls we’ve encountered in our travels. These days, because I don’t hike too much, I get to see the ones close to the road and Steve , camera in hand, hike off the see the ones that require some strenuous walking.

Little Chasm Falls on Rio en Medio Trail NM photo Steve Collins

Little Chasm Falls on Rio en Medio Trail near Santa Fe photo/Steve Collins

New Mexico:

Little Chasm Falls a little over an hour’s hike up the Rio en Medio Trail a bit past Tesuque (north of Santa Fe). The area is, according to Karen Denison of Santa Fe’s Outspire Hiking and Snowshoeing at the flanks of Deception Peak/Lake Peak area. She notes that the area is actually named “Aspen Basin”, but warns not to confuse it with the parking area at Aspen Basin Road. Steve took the hike with our son and his family this summer. They all loved it and returned with great photos and lasting memories.

Jemez Falls photo Steve Collins

Jemez Falls, photo/Steve Collins

We stopped at Jemez Falls (part of the Santa Fe National Forest) on the way home from a trip to Valles Caldera after the Las Conchas Fire in 2011. It was a beautiful October Day and it was a bit eerie driving through the burn scar. Fire jumps. One part of the landscape is untouched, then you’ll get to an area where there’s charring and then you’ll encounter total devastation. It’s a lot for the senses to take in. A way down NM 4, beyond the Las Conchas area, we saw the sign for the falls and pulled in. We don’t pass up waterfalls! Steve hiked down and came back with this great shot. Sadly, because of the Thompson Ridge Fire in June 2013, the falls are temporarily closed. Check with the Santa Fe National Forest before going. Meanwhile, you can enjoy Steve’s photo.

Hays Creek Falls near Redstone CO,photo Steve Collins

Hays Creek Falls, near Redstone, CO, photo/Steve Collins


We spotted Hayes Creek Falls from the road as we were driving between Paonia and Redstone on our way to Aspen in late spring. We had to stop. A short walk in takes you right up to the falls. It’s worth the stop!

Bridal Veil Falls,Telluride photo Steve Collins

Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride, CO photo/Steve Collins

Neither of us got to Bridal Veil Falls about 305 feet above Telluride, but they were beautiful from the distance. We just missed the sound of the cascading water.


McWay Falls Big Sur CA photo Steve Collins

McWay Falls, Big Sur, photo Steve Collins

Driving up Route 1 in Big Sur, stop and visit McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. The fall drops about 84 feet to the beach on the shores of the Pacific Ocean below. We hope to get to Big Sur again when we travel to California in October.

If you know any easily accessible water falls on the Oregon or Northern California coast, let us know. We’ll bring back some photos to share.



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22 Responses to “Chasing waterfalls”

  1. noel
    September 6, 2019 at 10:20 am #

    I’ll have to look up that show, it sounds great…these are beautiful waterfalls. You’ll have to visit me in Hawaii and I’ll show you some more amazing waterfalls to add to your collection!

    • Billie Frank
      September 6, 2019 at 3:51 pm #

      That’s a deal. The show is incredible. We just watched the fiery lava waterfall cascading down from Kilauea. It’s a deal! We’ll get to Hawaii one of these years.

  2. Cathy Sweeney
    September 6, 2019 at 11:24 am #

    Lovely and diverse selection. There is something about the sound of waterfalls, big and small, that really captivates me. The hubby would like to be swimming out to get right in them, but I’m happy just to look and listen.

    • Billie Frank
      September 6, 2019 at 4:00 pm #

      I think we’re married to the same man-lol.

  3. Kerri
    September 6, 2019 at 11:52 am #

    Ahhh….you brought back some great memories. I grew up in Los Alamos, NM. I last hiked Jemez Falls in November of 2012. It was mostly frozen over and just as beautiful as ever. Thanks for the wonderful post.

    • Billie Frank
      September 6, 2019 at 4:01 pm #

      Interesting that you grew up in the other LA. I meet very few people who did. That whole area of Rte

      is beautiful.

  4. Gaelyn
    September 6, 2019 at 1:37 pm #

    Love the Ken Burns production, of course I’m a little biased being a Park Ranger. And who doesn’t love a waterfall. These are spectacular. There should be plenty of waterfall chances along the coast.

    • Billie Frank
      September 6, 2019 at 4:03 pm #

      I’m not a Park Ranger and I agree. We’re glued to that show. I think the last episode is tonight- but it will roll around again in a year or so. We’re looking forward to coastal waterfalls and lighthouses.

  5. Irene S. Levine
    September 6, 2019 at 7:13 pm #

    What beautiful waterfalls. I have plans to visit Santa Fe soon and am so excited!

    • Billie Frank
      September 6, 2019 at 9:40 pm #

      Let us know when you’re coming. We already have one scheduled Boomer meet-up coming up.

  6. Karen Denison, Outspire Hiking & Snowshoeing
    September 6, 2019 at 8:58 pm #

    Although not as accessible now as once-upon-a-time, the Upper Falls in Bandelier National Monument is awfully pretty, too! Nice walk and a great chance to see some interesting geology (which is responsible for the falls).

    • Billie Frank
      September 6, 2019 at 9:42 pm #

      We were at the upper falls before we took up photography so don’t have any photos. We were planning to hike down to the bottom of the trail, but we waited too long. At the time we did the upper falls the trail was fine until just about when we got to the falls- then it was a bit scary. I have some minor height issues. Has it eroded a lot before the falls- or is there a lot of fire damage in that area?

  7. Neva Fels
    September 6, 2019 at 9:03 pm #

    Ken Burns’ documentary’s are worth seeing many times and I love them too. Your pictures are beautiful, thanks for sharing them.

    • Billie Frank
      September 6, 2019 at 9:43 pm #

      Thank for saying that about the photos, Neva!

  8. Patti
    September 7, 2019 at 3:45 pm #

    I wonder what it is about water falling over the side of a cliff that fascinates us so?! These are beautiful, thanks for linking up!

    • Billie Frank
      September 7, 2019 at 5:18 pm #

      I think it’s the sound and the energy they generate- after all, they run power plants from it. Our pleasure to be part of the carnival!

  9. Marcia
    September 9, 2019 at 12:58 pm #

    I played around with the idea of interpreting the fall theme this way but ended up doing something else.
    I keep missing the documentary, I’ll have to look out for and mark my calendar so I don’t schedule something when it’s coming on. Love water and waterfalls. They’re so soothing.

    • Billie Frank
      September 9, 2019 at 1:40 pm #

      It’s a great documentary. You can also get it from a video rental place. It was long- about

      hours but wonderful.

  10. Mike
    September 10, 2019 at 12:09 pm #

    Beautiful pictures Billie and Steve! I like your mention of Big Sur…it’s absolutely gorgeous :)

    • Billie Frank
      September 10, 2019 at 2:52 pm #

      Thanks, Mike! It’s a special place!

  11. Suzanne Fluhr (Boomeresque)
    September 12, 2019 at 5:50 pm #

    There’s definitely something about waterfalls that calls to the human spirit. We’re mesmerized by them. I live in the northeastern U.S., but I’ve never been to Niagara Falls. However, I’ve visited Iguazu Falls on the border of Argentina and Brazil and I’ve enjoyed the beauty of MacKay Falls while hiking the Milford Track on New Zealand’s South Island. Obviously, we’re due for a ride to go visit the mega falls almost in our metaphorical back yard!

    • Billie Frank
      September 13, 2019 at 3:30 pm #

      I was at Niagara Falls (on the Canadian side) years ago. I want to go back. An incredible photo I saw last winter by Annie Lieboviz really inspired me to see them again.

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