Sunday afternoon I hiked the river trail at Colorado Bend State Park and then on to Gorman Falls. From the parking lot in the main camping area this hike is about 3.8 miles to Gorman Falls, for a total of 7.6 miles round-trip hike. Below is the trails map from the state park on which I have added green highlighting showing the trail that I hiked. I parked my car and started my hike in the lower right part of the map with Gorman Falls being up at the other end. I did not see a big rattlesnake as shown on the map.
I have hiked this trail before and come back because it is a peaceful hike and I am usually alone on the hike for long periods of time along the trails, though when I do meet people they are friendly. Most of the River Trail hike is shaded by tree cover and over mostly even ground, though there are a few places where you have to climb along some rocky ledges, though there is a cable to hold on to. Below is a photo showing the trail winding into the woods.
Eventually the trail winds along the bottom of a cliff where there are a few caves. This part of the trail is not difficult; you just have to watch your step in a few places. Below is a photo of the trail near one of the cliffs (the river is to the left).
It is not uncommon to see armadillos roaming around in the park. I see them nearly every time I come out to Colorado Bend. The armadillos seem to be mostly oblivious to the presence of people. I don’t know if it is because they don’t notice us or if they are not worried about us. I was walking along, heard some rustling in the grass, turned to look, and found that I was a few feet away from this armadillo and it didn’t seem to notice that I was there. He just continued to root around in the grass. Another hiker eventually disturbed it enough such that it stood up and looked around. See the photos below.
In the second photo above, the river is in the background. I saw another armadillo later, but it wasn’t as photogenic as the first one.
Eventually the River Trail gets to the Gorman Falls trail. This trail involves quite a bit of climbing up and down a rocky area to get to the bottom of the falls. On the steeper parts, there is a cable system to hold onto to keep from slipping.
Eventually you get to a well shaded area with an observation platform that is not far from the river bank. There is a lot of vegetation around the falls and it can be a bit difficult to see in places. Getting too close to the falls is prohibited to preserve nature. The below photo shows the left side of the falls in between tree branches. It is very difficult to capture the entire falls in a picture from top to bottom.
On the right side of the falls there is a rocky area you can climb upon to get a view of that side of the falls. I set up my tripod in this area to shoot a few long exposures. The photo below is from these rocks, looking down a bit toward the bottom of the falls.
There is a bit of flare from the sunlight in the upper right corner of the image. Many of the tree branches are blurry from blowing in the breeze.
I found that there was so much dynamic range of light in this scene that I decided that I would do an HDR merge to get detail in the darker areas without blowing out the highlights. The above photo and the one that follows are HDR merges of 6s, 12s, and 25s exposures using a 10-stop ND filter.
Behind the water there are some green moss-covered rocks that I have always found interesting, with the shapes giving sort of a creepy vibe to the rocks. Below is a close-up of those rocks and is also an HDR merge to preserve shadow detail.
The sunlight through the trees and cliffs also created a striped pattern across the falling water that showed up in the long exposure.
I stayed here for a while shooting photos, then packed up my gear and climbed back up the rocks to hike back to my car. It was a fantastic afternoon with the weather being cool and breezy. Colorado Bend State Park is a long way from any town and the environment is mostly free of man-made sounds aside from the occasional airplane. And as an added bonus, I don’t get any cellular service in this park. So, I had the nice peaceful hike that I really needed. This continues to be one of my favorite parks to go to hike and unwind even though it is about an hour drive from my house. There are many other trails here and I highly recommend the park for day hiking.
Thanks for reading. Leave a comment below if you like.