Thursday, June 23, 2016

High Falls Park - Geraldine, Alabama


High Falls Park is located in the middle of rural northern Alabama along Town Creek. Finding this remote location can be tricky. But the hunt is worth it because the the focal point of High Falls Park is a 35 foot high waterfall that can be over 300 feet wide. The small park has hiking trails, a pedestrian bridge over the creek, and picnic areas - including a covered pavilion.  There is even a small playground.  Any nature lover will enjoy a trip to High Falls Park.  And the best part is that it's free!

Location: County Road 144 Grove Oak Alabama.  Grove Oak is about 7 miles northwest of the slightly larger town of Geraldine, Alabama.

Cost: Free

Operating Seasons and Hours: Open every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Official Website: http://www.seehighfalls.com/

Date of Visit: Thursday, April 14, 2016

This was the third stop of the fourth day of my family's road trip to the Lookout Mountain area of Alabama in April of 2016. We stopped for a moment at the Walls of Jericho trail head near the Alabama/Tennessee Border.  Then we drove over 60 miles south to Geraldine to find the waterfall at High Falls Park.




One of my goals on this roadtrip was to find as many waterfalls as possible.  So when I went through my Alabama Visitor Guide I made sure to make notes about all the waterfalls that my family could see near Lookout Mountain.  We'd already visited, Ruby Falls, Little River Canyon Falls, and DeSoto Falls, as well as several smaller falls inside DeSoto State Park.  There were two more falls on my list.  One was Noccalula Falls that we would visit on Friday.  The other was High Falls in High Falls Park.  

We actually ran into a bit of trouble finding the park. My guidebook said that it was in Geraldine, Alabama. I'd looked up how to get to High Falls Park from Geraldine, but I'd misplaced my directions. I didn't worry because I assumed that if we drove to Geraldine we'd be sure to see some sort of sign pointing us toward High Falls Park. So as we drove down the main part of town on Highway 75 I kept looking for a sign.  I never saw one.  

My husband and I are incredibly old school (and cheap), so we don't have the internet on our phones unless we are connected to WiFi. (Hey at least we finally have smart phones.) We don't have a GPS either. That meant we couldn't just look up directions to High Falls Park. I started digging around in the car's center console trying to find the paper with the directions written on it.  Instead I found the visitor guide which at least told us to get onto Alabama Road 227.  We followed that road for 5 miles before we saw a sign for High Falls Park that indicated we should turn left onto County Road 356. We followed the signs to County Road 144 where another sign told us to turn right.  Then we drove on the road until we reached the intersection with Country Road 394.  A large sign at the intersection proclaimed that we'd reached High Falls Park. It was great to see the sign because most of that drive had felt like a wild goose chase.  

There was a small parking lot located a little ways down the road.  My husband parked the car there, and then we all walked down a steep paved road to the lower section of the park.  
That road led down to a picnic area that even had a play ground.  But we weren't interested in any of that.  We were interested in the water fall.  A walk down a little trail led to an overlook. We'd finally found the falls! They were very impressive. Though they weren't as high as you would expect with a name like High Falls. Wide Falls might have been a more appropriate name. They are 35 feet high and can span 300 feet across.  There was a fence blocking our way, but there was a path that led further down the hill.
From there we were able to get very close to the falls.  There were signs advising us to be careful not to jump into the water from the top of the waterfalls..
Near one side of the falls there was a natural stone arch.  Sorry, but this was the best picture we got of it. 
I was surprised to see a large pedestrian bridge spanning Town Creek upstream from the falls.  This bridge was built in 1998.  The rock pillars that support the bridge were actually built in 1923 for the original covered bridge that spanned this creek.  That original bridge helped the people on each side of the creek cross safely.   Prior to it's construction people had been forced to ford the creek.
The bridge was very pretty and so of course we had to walk across it. I want to add that this creek is wider than any "river" I ever saw while I was growing up in Utah.
Town Creek was beautiful.  I liked how calm the water looked as it went over the edge of the falls.
There was a hiking trail on the other side of the bridge, but the kids weren't interested in that.  What they really wanted to do was throw rocks into the water.  One of the twins had a big branch that she pretended was a fishing pole.
The park closed at 6:00 and we'd arrived a little after 5:00.  So we didn't have a long time to explore the park.  Soon we had to retrace our steps over the bridge and back up the road to the parking lot.  The visit had been quick, but it had also been worth it.

Recommendation: Any nature lover will enjoy a visit to High Falls Park.  This place is a little hidden gem in Northern Alabama.

Directions: Like I said, we had a bit of trouble finding this place.  The people in charge of the park really need to think about putting up some signs in Geraldine to help tourists find the park.  So if you are travelling to this park make sure you have good directions. If you are travelling on Highway 75 through Geraldine you'll want to turn onto Alabama highway 227. (It's the only traffic light in town.) Follow 227 for 5 miles and turn left onto County Road 356. (There should be a sign for High Falls Park just before the turn.) Follow country road 356 and then turn right onto County Road 144.  This will take you to the intersection of 144 and Country Road 394 where the entrance to the park is located.



Places Nearby: Lake Guntersville is just a short drive away from High Falls Park. This park contains the usual things that you'd expect from a lake side state park. (Boating, Fishing, Camping, Nature Hikes, etc) However, there is something that makes this state park stand out.  A Zipline Course operated by Screaming Eagles just opened at the state park. Packages start at $59 per person for a 2 hour adventure on 10 different zip lines.

Next Stop: Noccalula Falls Park 

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I would love to hear what you think. Did I get it right, or was I dead wrong? What was your experience like?

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