Bass Lake Waterfalls

Perhaps you didn’t know that Bass Lake has waterfalls, but indeed it does!  This tiny falls is just beyond the overflow beneath the bridge by the loop trail to The Maze, a popular route for hikers and runners.  The overflow usually is fairly tame and often uninteresting, but the recent spring rains have generated a flow that makes for some nice white water.  There is a short path by the first bridge on the trail leading to the Maze which will give this low angle that enhances the view of the falls.

From the other side of that same bridge there is a view looking down the cascade to the bottom of the earthwork dam which gives a dizzying view of this larger falls when the water levels are high.  I used a tripod for these photos so I could get sharp focus on the features of the stream banks but still have a slow shutter speed to give a silky appearance to the plunging water.  These photos were taken with ISO 100, a neutral density filter to cut out some light transmission, a polarizing filter to remove reflections from the water and wet rocks, and an aperture of f/22.  These factors combined to require a shutter speed of about 1/10 sec, which is slow enough to suggest movement of the water as it tumbles over the rocks.

I climbed down the face of the earthen dam to photograph this cascade from below, and the view from there gave a much different perspective.  To me it seemed more tame from below, perhaps because I am famously afraid of heights and always tend to shy away from ledges and precipices.  Nevertheless, this is a handsome waterfall which is only there in the wet season when the runoff from Bass Lake is high and streams are full.  You may not wish to climb down the face of the dam to view it from below, but I do recommend that you go to the bridge (the one farthest from the parking lot) and view the cascade from above.  If this view intrigues you please feel free to go down the grassy slope to the bottom of the cascade to see it from that angle as well, and then feel good about your exercise level when you climb back up the earthen dam to return to the trail!

It’s pretty steep, especially if you head toward the center of the dam.  I recommend keeping to the right and climbing back along the edge of the grassy slope, near and to the left of the vegetation that grows by the cascading waterfall.  This route will take you back to the bridge on the trail to the Maze, and when you return to the top you may be rewarded by this view of the tiny falls above the bridge as you cling to the handrail to catch your breath from the climb!


About Tom

Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Appalachian State University.
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