I spent some time in October of 2021 exploring the Ozarks, looking for waterfalls and Autumn colors. I discovered that peak color doesn’t occur until November, and the falls only have water right after a rain. Fortunately, it did start raining on my second day there, so there was some water over most of the falls I found, and the color in the leaves really saturated nicely, making for some nice images.
The Ozarks are a beautiful area covering southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas, completely blanketed with trees as far as the eye can see, with a variety of hiking trails to waterfalls and overlooks sprinkled throughout the entire region. Many of the hiking trails are a bit obscure and hard to find, so I recommend doing fairly extensive research if you ever go, so you can find the falls and overlooks you are looking for, and be properly prepared, as some trails are pretty rough, and some of the roads are as well. Something I found interesting was that all the creeks and pools on them are green–locals said it was because the water flows over rock beds, and picks up minerals from the rock. It was different to view streams with no silt, or even sand at the bottom–the water runs over bare stone all the way down the mountain.
I spent a lot of time at Falling Water Falls, in the rain. I really like the area–you park right by the waterfall, so no hiking to get there, the water is accessible from any angle, leaves had covered much of the ground with a blanket of orange, and the rain made the rocks and exposed tree roots very dark. A couple hours passed quickly as I explored various angles, checking the view using each tree and rock as possible foreground.
“Falls Splendor”–Falling Water Falls
Whitaker Point is a a couple mile hike after a 30 minute, 5 mile drive on gravel. The hike is not difficult, and the view is breathtaking. It is said that Hawk’s Bill Crag is the most photographed rock formation in the Ozarks. It would be a great place to go in November and view fall color.
Hawk’s Bill Crag–Whitaker Point
Haw Creek Falls is the only other falls I found that I could drive right to. There is a campground there, and a parking lot right by the falls. The creek was running pretty well, as it was raining off and on while I was there. I found more color in the leaves here then most places I visited, and I was able to get an image I really like. In the balanced light, the wet tree trunks really showed up in stark contrast to the saturated, soft color of the leaves in the rain–it’s a simple image, but I find it very effective.
“Autumn Pastels” –Haw Creek Falls
King’s Bluff Overlook is a fairly simple one mile hike out and back, and is another great place to view the endless blanket of trees. The trees in this area were starting to turn, so I got some color in this image. The bluff runs for about a quarter mile, with great views from various crags and outcroppings. I found this puddle and thought it gave the rugged ledge some added interest.
King’s Bluff Overlook
Tanyard Creek Falls is one of my favorite spots in the Ozarks. It’s just north of Fayetteville, has a parking lot and restrooms off paved road, and is a short hike on a well manicured trail. The creek cascades over several bluffs and rocks for about a half mile below the falls, giving many places with interesting views to explore. In this image, I am fascinated by the many angles and cascades the water makes where it lands on the flat rock, the great color and texture of the leaves in the foreground, and the cool roots on the other side of the falls.
“Tanyard Creek Falls”
The Ozarks are really beautiful, and I can’t believe I had never thought to go down there before–it’s a short drive to get to such a unique place. I have never seen so many trees, nor driven so many winding roads. Some day, I hope to get down there when the leaves are in full color. as I can’t even imagine how amazing that must be. If one can get there after a good soaking rain, the falls would all be swelled to capacity and it be an incredible sight to behold.
Yellow Rock Overlook
Tanyard Creek Falls Detail
Tanyard Creek Falls
Falling Water Falls
Six Finger Falls
King’s River Falls
King’s Bluff Overlook
Haw Creek Falls
Indian Cliff Falls–Dogwood Canyon