Burgess Falls State Park
Saturday morning we woke up, ate breakfast, packed up camp and started our drive to Burgess Falls State Park. Burgess Falls State Park ended up being a very fast stop for us because as luck would have it, the bottom and most spectacular waterfall- the reason everyone goes there, was closed (first and last images are of the main falls and are not mine, link is attached to the pictures). We arrived at the park around 9:00am and began our hike down the scenic River Trail. You start at the Upper Cascades and as you hike through the gorge the water continues to fall down into bigger and bigger cascades until it turns into waterfalls. The hike is beautiful and the entire time you hike next to the river, the big bummer was when we got to the end, the trail to the lower falls was closed due to a flood that washed out the trail, the steps leading down to the falls and the observation platform. The park has been unable to rebuild the steps and viewing platform due to funding and resources. I had read about the closure prior to getting there and a local from the area had explained to me another way to get to the lower falls without using the trail. We tried this route but the waterfall, like a lot in the area, is located deep in a river gorge and the sheer steepness of the nonexistent trail we were following was way to precarious for either of us so we turned around and gave up trying to get to the lower falls.
I originally had Virgin Falls State Natural Area in my itinerary but because it was too long of a hike and a little farther away than everything else I had nixed it out. After we realized Burgess Falls wasn't going to take up as much time as we thought it would, we decided to add Virgin Falls back into our plans and immediately left Burgess Falls.
We (me mostly) were disappointed that the lower falls were closed. I was really looking forward to seeing this waterfall! But as I've said before, we'll do this road trip again and see all of the waterfalls that we missed the first time around.
I don't want to harp on Burgess Falls but I don't think it's worth your time to go as long as the lower falls are closed. Don't get me wrong, the park is beautiful and the rest of the cascades and waterfalls are breathtaking, however, considering you can't even see main falls there are so many other state parks in the area that you can visit to see more beautiful waterfalls and hike around. Plus on the weekends the park is extremely crowded after 10:00am.
To learn more about Burgess State Park and to keep up with the trail closings go here.