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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thacher Park Waterfalls

Thacher Park is a magnet for families and tourists with its phenomenal views and miles of hiking trails, as well as multiple playing fields and picnic areas.  One thing that the park has plenty of is waterfalls, with the most numerous being found on the trails along Upper Mine Lot Falls.  The large Paint Mine Parking area provides trail access, where the creek rushes past and a glimpse upstream of the first falls can be had.
 The first falls are easily accessible and very pretty, especially during spring run off.
 Mine Lot's cold water tumbling down the rocky creek bed.
 Continuing south up the white trail, several other falls can be seen and heard to the left of the trail.  This is the next set of cascades that are seen.
 Another set of picturesque falls a bit further along the trail.
 Frigid water.
 The creek follows the aqua blazed Long Path for a distance.

Mine Lot Creek plunging down through the woods.
 Wandering several yards off the trail provides an interesting glimpse into the steep ravine of the creek.
 The temperature was only in the upper 30's when I arrived at the park and snow showers accompanied me for part of the walk.
 Once crossing the creek, followed a red marked trail through evergreens with mostly level walking.
 I was greeted by bright sunshine as I emerged out of the dark evergreens and into a hardwood forest.
 Completed the red marked loop, which was about 1.5 miles RT.  After arriving back at the car, I decided I wanted to explore a bit more so walked across the Thacher Park Road to the escarpment area.  A small footbridge crosses Mine Lot Creek again just before the main falls go thundering down the steep escarpment.
 The views from the top of the escarpment are incredible under any conditions.

Mine Lot Falls crashes over 100 feet down the escarpment over the Indian Ladder Trail, which is only open seasonally.
 Signs of winter aren't too hard to find, as an icy snow pack remains at the base of the falls.
 After getting back to the car, I headed down the road a bit to the Hop Field Parking area, which provides more trail access.  A short walk towards the woods brings you to yet another beautiful waterfall.
 A stone bridge crosses the unnamed creek here, where you may want to stop and soak in the view.
 The creek meandering through the bare spring woods along the orange marked trail.
 Followed the orange trail up through the woods, which makes a loop of a little less than a mile. 
There are numerous miles of trails which wind through the woods and one can easily spend a full day exploring.  I walked about two and a half miles on a cold late April day.

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