Day Tripper – Wildcat Falls

Wildcat Falls

By Gilbert B. Elwyn

Wildcat FallsWe’ll admit to being enamored of waterfalls. A pleasant way to see the sights and get a bit of exercise is to do a “Waterfall Crawl.” This entails mapping out an itinerary which can be visited within one day. The exercise comes not from the driving, but from the fact that most waterfalls are off of the beaten path and require hikes, sometimes strenuous, to get to the breathtaking view.
An easier and nearby alternative is Wildcat Falls located on the stretch where Highway 11 and US 276 are combined. The casual motorist is usually unimpressed by Wild Cat Falls. They often don’t realize that it is a waterfall.
Wildcat Falls is actually three waterfalls. The lower falls can be seen from the highway and flow into a pool where, during warm weather, people gather to cavort in the water. At times during the year, the water is slowed to a trickle and the pool is almost dried up.
If you park at the pull-off area and look above the lower falls, you should be able to see the middle falls. A stair-stepping trail to the left of the pool leads up to the middle falls. Be advised, even this fairly easy climb requires some exertion and balance. When the ground is slippery it can be treacherous.
Following this trail, you’ll pass through some wilderness and a burned out site to get to the upper falls. These falls can only be viewed from below. Do NOT attempt to climb the boulders to get to the top of the upper falls. It is posted as illegal and it is dangerous. A cross was placed beside the pool in memory of someone who lost his life on this falls.
The total height of all three sections of Wildcat Falls has been estimated from 130 feet to as much as 175 feet, with the upper falls being the tallest as about 100 feet.
If the exercise, and the view and, possibly, the wade in the pool aren’t enough pleasure for you, a roadside vender is usually on-site at the pull-off to hawk boiled peanuts.
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