Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Photos + Video: Petit Jean State Park (with a Toddler): Part 2

When we went to Petit Jean in the fall, the waterfall was just a trickle.  It was enjoyable to see it from the overlook, but I was really hoping to see more.  We also didn't hike down to the bottom of the waterfall since we weren't sure if we would be able to do it with Harlow (who was a few days shy of being two-years-old).

I've been wanting to go back after a heavy rain, but the timing has never worked out.  We got a heavy rain this past weekend.  We woke up Saturday morning, and I pitched the idea to Colin to head to Petit Jean.  I was hoping the waterfall would be impressive this time around.  I wasn't disappointed!

We got to Petit Jean State Park in the early afternoon.  We first drove to Cedar Falls Overlook to see the waterfall from above.  It was roaring!  I knew we just had to hike to the bottom.

We then headed to Mather Lodge for a late lunch and to enjoy the view...and to make sure we had energy for the hike!

The Cedar Falls Trail starts at the lodge and is a 2 mile round trip.  The hike down wasn't too bad with Harlow.  Colin carried her on his shoulders for some of the hike, and she walked for part of it.  It's a steady descent, so it's not overwhelming.  The hike is rated as strenuous, but I think it's because of the hike back up to the top.  When you get close to the top, you have to hike up steps, and that takes more energy with a toddler for sure.  I don't think Harlow would have been able to do it back in the fall, but she was definitely able to do it this time around.

The waterfall was gushing when we finally reached the bottom.  Since we were there on a Saturday in the spring, there were quite a few people.  We couldn't sit and enjoy the waterfall as long as we would have liked since other people were trying to walk past us.  There are lots of boulders to climb and rest on that would make for a good picnic and rest spot before heading back to the lodge.

The pictures make the waterfall look much smaller than what it really is.  It's hard to get a proper scale since we couldn't stand close to it with the amount of water that was in the pool below.

The hike is enjoyable.  It's beautiful scenery, and you walk along Cedar Creek on the way to the waterfall.  The weather was nice when we were there.  I didn't get too hot until the end of the hike as we were almost back to the lodge.  I'm so glad we decided to make the trek.

After we got back to the lodge, we drove to the M.A. Richter Memorial Overlook.  From here you can see Mount Nebo and Mount Magazine in the distance.  It's a small, quiet overlook that I prefer to the large, crowded, chain-link fenced Palisades Overlook.  The Richter Overlook is a short drive down a gravel/dirt road, so that might be part of the reason it's not as crowded.  The Palisades Overlook is right off the highway, so it's quicker to get to, maybe also part of the reason it's more popular.  Down from the Richter Overlook is a CCC Overlook that's peaceful and remote.  I think this is one of my favorite areas of the park.

By this time, it was evening and time to head home.  I have two more trails I want to hike, so we're going to have to go back soon!

Here's a short video from footage I shot on my phone.  We had a good day!

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