The Red Reef Trail in St. George, Utah follows Quail Creek to a pair of waterfalls that are at times completely dry.
The trail head starts at the Red Cliffs Campground. The best spot to park, is near campsite #2, if you can get it. Parking is extremely limited, so go midweek or very early in the morning or late in the day or you will struggle with parking.
It’s 2.2 miles out-and-back and it’s an easy trail for kids. The trail passes old cottonwood trees, an alcove with Pictographs, and reflection pools in the creek.
The waterfalls were totally dry in December and January but rain and snow came in February and the water is still flowing headed into April.
If you hike the trail stop, at the alcove on the way to the waterfalls. I will cover the alcove, pictographs, reflection pools, mountains, and other areas of Red Cliffs in following posts.
I took these shots of Bond Falls about a year ago on my final farewell Autumn photography tour of the Midwest.
Bond Falls is a scenic waterfall created as the middle branch of the Ontonagon river tumbles over a thick belt of fractured rock, dividing it into numerous small cascades. Roadside parking and picnic tables are available near the top of the falls. An accessible boardwalk with six viewing locations.
It takes four things to get a good Autumn image of Bond Falls: Good color, good flows, good technique, clouds. Images of Bond Falls do not look good in the sun.
Starved Rock State Park is in Utica, Illinois. The park is about 2 hours away from Chicago.
My favorite times to visit, in order, are Autumn, Winter, and Spring. Summer is too crowded and the waterfall flows are typically minimum.
This image is not from this year so I cannot say for sure what it might look like right now. The water flows this year have been excellent but the alternating hot and cold spells might not be sufficient to build a great frozen waterfall.
I was fortunate to have this woman and her two dogs show up when I was there. I asked to stand still and she did. I like the pink booties on one of her dogs.
In March of 2017 my wife Liz and I went Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) hunting in Iceland. It’s a popular destination for chasing the Northern Lights hunting, but the results are often mixed. I posted several Northern lights images (links below), but we only had one great nighttime excursion.
The rest of the trip was by no means a bust. Please take a chance.
The hike is 1.5 kilometers (0.93 miles), each way, from the visitor center, uphill. On the way to Svartifoss, you come across other waterfalls in the gorge. Svartifoss cannot be seen from the road and the hike up to it takes some 90 minutes back and forth with photo stops.
We got lucky. It was cloudy and rainy when we started the hike. The clouds broke for about 15 minutes as we reached the top.
Anyone with a tripod and reasonable technique could get this shot. The two keys are a tripod and reasonable technique. You need a tripod because you cannot hand hold for anywhere close to a second. Yet, if you do not force the shutter open that long, you cannot get smooth, silky water.
For the above shot, I was well off the trail, where I was not supposed to be.
My wife Liz, of saner mind, was not with me. The feature image was taken from the trail or at least reasonably close.
Those looking for a nice weekend or day trip from Chicago, Northern Illinois, or Wisconsin should check out the natural features near Baraboo, Wisconsin.
This post is my second on Pewit’s Nest State Natural Area.
The dominant feature at Pewits Nest is a 30- to 40-foot deep gorge formed during the retreat of the last glacier. Associated with it are Skillet Creek, shaded cliffs, and a northern dry-mesic pine forest. When Glacial Lake Baraboo drained, Skillet Creek cut a narrow canyon through the Cambrian sandstone, forming a series of potholes and low waterfalls. The layers of Cambrian sandstone show that a finer-grained sediment was laid down by the Cambrian seas “inside” the syncline, a process different from that at Parfrey’s Glen where coarser Cambrian conglomerates and sandstones are found in layers. Skillet Creek has a gradient of 38 feet/mile and an average flow of 0.8 cfs. Within and above the gorge grows a narrow fringe of forest dominated by red cedar, white pine, hemlock, and yellow birch.
The hike to the gorge is about 0.9 miles. I would rate it as very easy. There is elevation change to get to the top, but anyone in reasonably good health who can walk will not struggle with this one. The main danger is getting too close to the cliff edge and falling off.
Pewit’s Nest Directions
The DNR link above provides directions and a map of newly closed areas. I cannot tell precisely from the map if I was in a closed area or not when I took the vertical images from above. I do not believe I was in a closed area for the third, horizontal image that shows a tiny portion of the lower falls.
Judging from the map, all the trails appear to be open but there is no longer any access to the gorge itself.
I had never been in the gorge but wanted to do so in the winter if things froze solid enough. That option appears to be gone, at least legally.
Feature Image Details
For the feature image, I used a Canon 24-105MM F4 L Lens at ISO 100, 32mm, 4 seconds at F22 with a circular polarizer to saturate the colors.
Pewit’s Next Tips
This park photographs best on a cloudy day.
Perfect conditions would be bright overcast, with little wind, with wet rocks just after a rain.
Light drizzle works very well is there is little wind.
The rain saturates the leaves as well as the colors on the rocks.
Use a polarizer to remove glare.
People misuse polarizers. I generally do not use them on sunny days, especially if I have a lot of sky in the image. Why? The polarizer will darken the sky in a very non-uniform manner that is hard to correct even in Photoshop.
I often use polarizers on cloudy days and did so on these images. Here are two more images from this spot in the upper area.
I went back the next day, but a heavy overnight rain increased the flow and washed almost all the leaves away.