I have long loved waterfalls. Flowing water generally relaxes me, but when tons of water plummet over rock outcroppings in an endless torrent, I fall under its spell. Even the tiniest of cascades catch my eye, and I get caught up in that eternal flow.
As I’ve explored more of the Cuyahoga Valley and followed more of the local hikers and photographers on Instagram, I’ve learned about more of the waterfalls in the area. I had known about Brandywine and could find Blue Hen on a park map, but only recently have I heard about Bridal Veil Falls in the Bedford Reservation or some of the smaller, off-trail little gems I hope to explore someday.
So after completing my Towpath hike this morning, I set out in search of waterfalls, specifically the Great Falls of Tinkers Creek, found in Viaduct Park (on the edge of the Bedford Reservation).
I made a serendipitous stop first. On my trail map, it looked like there might be an overlook or something scenic on the northwest side of Tinkers Creek, so I drove down that road, curious. As I crossed a short bridge into the Hemlock Creek picnic area, I crossed the namesake creek and spotted a small waterfall to my left.
I parked, jumped out, and walked to the creek bank. After taking a few photos from that elevated angle, I hopped down to creek level and started exploring from there. What fun! The creek was shallow there, barely covering the thick soles of my hiking shoes, so it gave me an easy introduction to creek-walking in search of waterfall photos (something I will have to do with some of the off-trail falls I’ve heard about).
Once I had explored enough, I hopped back in the car, exhilarated and ready to find Viaduct Park. My directions led me straight to it, even though the entrance is tucked away, and I had the parking area and the winding trail all to myself.
The Great Falls of Tinkers Creek flows over Berea sandstone slab with Cleveland shale underneath, making an impressive display as the creek cascades over that 15-foot drop. After yesterday’s rain, the creek level ran on the high side, so the falls filled the 80-foot-wide gorge (and kicked up a good amount of mist when I tried to get close!). I even spotted a secondary 40-foot-high waterfall on the gorge wall, a wispy cousin to the Great Falls.
The park also features the remains of an old mill (including a complete millrace you can crawl through, if you don’t mind squat-walking half-bent over) and the park’s namesake viaduct arching gracefully over the creek. It’s a fun place to explore, and you can go off-path in places to wander up and down the creek bed.
And what a wonderful way to spend a Waterfall Wednesday!