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Weekend Trip #10: Three Waterfalls, Rock Climbing, and Four Hiking Trails Within 30 Miles of One Another

Ms. Carroll is an avid outdoors person and environmental activist. She was a Wilderness First Responder for 10+ years.

High Falls (35'), Grove Oak, Alabama

High Falls (35'), Grove Oak, Alabama

Waterfalls in Alabama

High Falls is located in northeast Alabama in the town of Grove Oak near Geraldine, Alabama. It is more than just a favored spot for locals who have little else to do in this sleepy town. It is iconic in terms of waterfalls. After a good rain, the rushing water below and above the 35' falls can be fretfully dangerous, but otherwise, this is an AMAZING spot for picnicking, diving, and/or general water play. There are serious risks associated with elevation for children, so keep them close. There is a rope to guide adults and young adults back up the rock slope once you dive off the rock cliff. Bring a beach chair and you can enjoy lap water atop the falls.

You will find little else to do in Grove Oak so pack accordingly. If properly equipped with food, drink, towels, and a change of clothing, it's a day trip you'll never forget! When the weather is good, you will see anywhere from a few locals to a very crowded and small waterpark area. There is a .8 mile loop trail which allows dogs on a leash.

Atop High Falls

Atop High Falls

Rock Outcropping on High Bluff Trail, Bucks Pocket State Park

Rock Outcropping on High Bluff Trail, Bucks Pocket State Park

4 Hiking Trails

Bucks Pocket State Park is located 2 miles north of High Falls in Section, Alabama and there are several short and very scenic trails with nice rock outcroppings along Town Creek which ultimately connects with Guntersville Lake. There is some rappelling that can be done as well. There are about 15 miles of trails all total and a nice point overlook where two trailheads lead out and back. Dogs are allowed on their leash. Bucks Pocket is a beautiful find regardless of the season.

  • Point Rock Trail is 4 miles out and back.
  • Indian House trail is 1 mile out and back.
  • High Bluff Trail is 1 mile out and back.
  • South Sauty Creek Trail is 5 miles out and back and includes two waterfalls.

WARNING: The State Park office is often closed if not permanently closed due to funding, so be sure to print an adequate trail map before you set out. Some portions of the Park and/or trails may be closed including the campground. (See Link Below)

Short Creek Falls

Short Creek Falls

Waterfall #2 - Short Creek Falls

Just over 10-12 miles from High Falls, you will find another great waterfall. Short Creek Falls is on private property and a little tricky to find, but worth the effort when the water is pumping. While the falls are only 20' deep, they are a staggering 150' wide. It's a favored spot for kayakers and there are nice places to watch them paddle over the edge and downstream if you're not brave enough to manage a boat yourself.

The falls can be seen from the bridge on County Road 414. I've read the landowner doesn't want folks on his property, but I've never seen anyone deterred by this. Plan to park along the roadside near the bridge and hike down to the falls. Whitewater lovers, see the link below.

Kayaker Going Over Short Creek Falls

Kayaker Going Over Short Creek Falls

Waterfall #3 - Griffin Falls (and Rock Climbing)

About 25 miles from Grove Oak, you will find Griffin Falls. Griffin Falls is on private property, but the owner is friendly towards hikers, waterfall lovers, and rock climbers. The hike is less than a mile and it's moderate. It's worth the hike just to see the 40' fall. If you're a climber, you won't find much top roping here, but some sport and trad climbing rated all the way to 5.14. Once you arrive, there is a pull-off on the right. Just follow the trail past the graffiti-littered rocks to the cliff where you can't miss the waterfall. The climbing wall is to the right under the waterfall.

Please note that this waterfall is largely contingent on rainwater and can slow to just a trickle in hot or dry months. If you're up to hiking above the falls, there is usually a nice pool of water above the falls as well.

Griffin Falls, Dawson, Alabama

Griffin Falls, Dawson, Alabama

Where Am I?

The nearest center of civilization is Guntersville, Alabama which is called Alabama's Lake City! You'll find a nice State Park there if you can squeeze it in on Weekend Trip #10. There are cabins for rent, and it's a nice alternative to camping since Bucks Pocket State Park is closed.

If you search Trip Advisor or other resources for things to do in the area, they will include High Falls and Bucks Pocket State Park. Griffin Falls and Short Creek Falls will be obscure if mentioned at all since they are both on private property.

High Falls Location:

  • 969 Co Rd 144, Grove Oak, Alabama 35975

Bucks Pocket State Park Location:

  • 393 Co Rd 174, Grove Oak, Alabama 35975

Short Creek Falls Location:

  • Albertville, Alabama (see driving directions below); GPS Coordinates 34.3223126,-86.221655

Griffin Falls Location:

  • Collinsville, Alabama (See link below for directions)


Liz Westwood from UK on April 09, 2020:

These look like great walks. Something to look forward to after lockdown.

Liza from USA on April 08, 2020:

I have never been to Alabama. I love the photos you've taken. It's so breathtaking. Omg, I think this is what I need right now to go out and explore nature. Thank you for sharing your beautiful trip.