LENGTH: 1.2 MILES (Waterfall)
ELEVATION GAIN: 108 FT
For the trail guide scroll down pass this stuff. For chisme about this hike keep reading…
When we drove up to the entrance of the park, there was a young lady greeting drivers at the kiosk. She handed each car a map and showed everyone where and how to pay the entrance fee ($10) in the machine. When it was our turn she handed us our maps and informed us that the trails were extremely icy. She said they were recommending crampons to everyone to complete the trails.
I have been in this predicament before. Winter 2018, 2019, and 2020 have all had hikes in the mountains where ice was present. And every time I’d manage to avoid falling and go home feeling like I’d beat the system. Except last week my friend took a nasty spill. That should have changed my mind. But I still went home telling myself that I don’t really go hiking in the winter and don’t need winter gear. No crampons for me!
I had an entire 6 mile hike prepared for this day outdoors. However, my stubbornness would finally catch up with me. The air was cold. The ground was frozen over. No winter gear in sight.
You may be asking yourself why don’t I already own any crampons? Well it’s very simple: I am as frugal as they come. I wasn’t ready to drop $50 on silly looking rubberized thingy-ma-bobs that wrapped spikes around the exterior of your boots.
Long story short, we made it to the waterfall. But directly after leaving the park we drove to the nearest REI. I swiped my credit card and bought my first pair of crampons. I really hope I use those things often because they were not cheap!
To hike to the waterfall you should park in the lower parking lot. There will be plenty of signs showing you the way. Park by the restrooms. They were open when we were there. Lucky for me because I chugged yet another Redbull on the way!
To the left of the restrooms there is this board with information. We walked down the trail to the left of this sign.
And that’s where we saw the ice we were warned about. It was misleading because we thought we could get away with walking in the center where it’s melting.
Little did we know that was the only section where it was melted. The rest of the trail was completely iced over. We slipped a few times before we even made it to the bridge. After crossing the bridge you’ll walk alongside the creek that flows into Awosting falls. The sign definitely said crampons recommended.
There’s a small area at the top of the falls where you can see the trail below. We carefully found spots that didn’t have ice. Use caution when exploring this area!
I cannot stress enough how icy this trail was. It took us forever to get down. And the idea that I would slide off the sides of the trail was a constant thought.
But when we finally made it, the risk was worth it. The waterfall was so pretty. And there was no one else there when we were there. I took so many pictures and stayed there until my butt was frozen. On our way up we came across others struggling to get down too. Some people turned around before even making it to the falls.
Here’s some icicle porn for those of your interested…
Afterwards we retraced our steps back to the car. We drove to the upper parking lot (follow the well marked signs) and walked towards the lake. It takes all of two minutes to reach the water.
The lake was pretty frozen. My comfort level was to walk out as far as I did and no further. There were others much further out. So much anxiety watching them spin around out there! Proceed at your own risk!
Since the trails were so icy we didn’t explore more parts of the park. I will certainly come back in the warmer months with a vengeance. I’m determined to hike that 6 miler! Maybe you’ll join me this summer and conquer it with me 🙂
Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.John Wooden