Cedar Falls – Barely There

This summer’s drought has affected Ohio in many ways.   Our lakes and streams are shadows of their former selves.  Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills is one of those places greatly altered by the lack of water.  This is what Cedar Falls looked like on our visit in early September:

This is how the Hocking Hills Visitors Guide describes Cedar Falls:

Cedar Falls is among the most magnificent waterfalls in Ohio and certainly one of the most popular in the Hocking Hills. No matter what time of year you visit, Cedar Falls Ohio is a sight to behold. In autumn, a trip to Cedar Falls is accentuated by fall foliage, and in winter, the 50-foot waterfall turns into a stream of icicles. When the snows of winter melt in springtime, Cedar Falls begins flowing at full capacity. It is said to be the largest waterfall in the Hocking Hills by volume.

The name Cedar Falls is a misnomer — the result of mistaken identity. Early settlers to the area misidentified the stately hemlock trees as cedar trees; consequently, this park was incorrectly named. Despite the mistake, the nameCedar Falls has been used ever since.

The beauty of Cedar falls began drawing visitors right away. The scenic gorge was, and is, an added bonus. In the early 1800’s, a trading post was built just a short distance downstream from the falls. It served the Indians and early settlers alike. There is a cave in the gorge where the Indians and early settlers obtained saltpeter, which was used in the curing of meat.

The water plunges 50 feet over the falls. Cedar Falls has the greatest volume of water of all the falls in HockingCounty and is easily the most photographed of waterfalls in Ohio. It has been featured in magazines, newspapers, film and calendars and is at its glorious best during the rainy season, since its feeder stream is little more than a roadside gully.

The stream that ripples down the gorge below Cedar Falls is sparkling, unpolluted water. It supports a thriving community of marine creatures. Large snapping turtles that one would expect to find only in rivers and lakes are seen in this stream. There are several species of fish, including smallmouth bass. The depth of the gorge moderates the temperature. To hike the gorge trail on a hot summer day is a cool and refreshing treat.

Sounds like a complete different place than we saw.  A friend of mine was married at the Falls six years ago, just one week later in September than our visit.  She said that they could not hear the fiddle music over the roaring falls and she and the groom had to shout their vows.  Despite the noisy background, it must have been a magical place to exchange vows.  It still would be this year but you could whisper.

The trickling water and sun provided a psychedelic light show on the rocky wall of the falls.   We did not see any turtles and only tiny fish.  Despite the low water level in the creek, the gorge was damp, with ferns and lichen growing on rocks and trees.  The small stream trickling over the overhang provided a calming, peaceful soundtrack for this beautiful place.    Here’s the slide show:

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About SallyK

A little blog about the ordinary and not so ordinary things our family does, places we travel, things we see. Like travel, cooking, family stories, book reviews, music? You will find it all here - comments welcome!
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One Response to Cedar Falls – Barely There

  1. Deb Platt says:

    I’ve been here in the winter when there’s snow on the ground. To my surprise the fern species that you featured in one of your photos growing on the side of a rock was still green in winter (though a little droopy looking).

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