Visiting State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County – 5.1.2015
I spent an overcast spring morning/afternoon exploring the Herberly Run section of State Game Lands 13, Sullivan County yesterday. I had reached out to fellow waterfall photographer Daimon Paul and asked him to show me around the area, so we met up at the Red Rocks Corner Store and proceeded to the Game Lands from there.
The map below show the entrance to the Herberly Run portion of the game lands. We were fortunate in that this is spring gobbler season, which means the gate across Grassy Hollow Road was open, allowing us to drive up the rocky-but-passable dirt road and park a little closer to the waterfalls we intended to visit.
The gate will be open until May 30, and then closed over the summer until fall hunting season. If you visit over the summer you will simply have to hike a further distance up the road - there is a parking area near the gate.
Our first stop was at Big Falls on Herberly Run. A small wooden sign attached to a roadside tree indicates where you need to descend the hillside to reach the falls below. You cannot see them from the road, but we could hear them on this day.
The descent is extremely steep and not for the timid. You must take your time and use extreme caution. There is no cell phone service in this area to call for help, so I strongly recommend hiking with a friend.
Nevertheless, we made it to the bottom after a few minutes, and were greeted with great flow and lighting conditions.
This one made for nice vertical and horizontal compositions, and at 30 feet high puts out a thunderous roar as the water crashes into the plunge pool (see the video at the end of this post for a taste).
Finishing up at Big Falls, we scrambled up out of the ravine and back onto Grassy Hollow Road. We then hiked up the road maybe a mile (temporarily bypassing Twin Falls) until it dead-ends at some boulders. Lewis Falls is located almost directly down the bank from the dead-end point.
This one was probably my favorite of the day - just a classic beauty surrounded by 30 foot tall walls of mossy stone. Again, the scramble down/back up is hazardous so use extreme caution if you attempt this.
From Lewis Falls we hiked back down Grassy Hollow Road about 1/2 a mile to where we could see the upper tier of Twin Falls. This was probably the easiest descent of the day as we were able to follow a faint old log road switch-back down close to the stream.
The upper tier of this one was the most difficult of the day to photograph, on account of it being so exposed. In a few weeks when the leaves start to fill in that may change.
The lower tier is shorter (maybe 10 feet tall) but more photogenic, in my opinion.
Finishing up at Herberly Run, we decided to make the short drive to the other side of the Game Lands and visit Sullivan Falls, which sits very close to the edge of Jamison City Road.
Sullivan Falls is nearly 35 feet tall, and being so close to the road is one of the more frequently visited falls in the area. A well-worn footpath leads you down the banks to the the base of the falls.
We didn't spend a great deal of time here, and after maybe 30 minutes of shooting Sullivan, Daimon and I headed our separate ways to our homes.
As always, this was another great day in the woods.
Check out the video footage below to get a sampling of what the falls looked/sounded like on this day.