Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Falling Waters State Park in Chipley, FL

I had thought that camping season was over after the hot March we had, but the weather suddenly cooled wonderfully, so I headed back out to a state park. I had never been to this one before.

It's a nice campground, similar in many ways to Florida Caverns (which is closer to my home so will likely be the place I return to when I am heading in this direction). I had selected site 5 when I reserved, based only on the locations of the occupied sites at that time.

It's a great site, a long pull-through with a nice view of woods out the door.

However, don't reserve this site unless you are only stopping here for a quick overnight and will be leaving early the next morning. In an arrangement I have never seen before in any campground, the dump station is essentially in what would be the campsite adjacent to this one (and no farther away than typical site distance. I was pretty much standing next to it to take that picture). Since the weather was nice and my windows were open, I experienced the effects of this for a very brief time early in my first morning there. I was lucky that the campground was so empty; aside from that one use, nobody stopped at it while I was there. There is a paved site that is directly across from it that would also be problematic if the campground were full. So, if you are going to stay here for any length of time, go for a higher site number. The ones I noted as being particularly nice were 9, 10, 12, 14, and 24, with 14 being the best (IMO). The campground is also odd in that it is not arranged in a circle, but rather you enter and exit from the same spot, with a turn-around at the end (near site 24). Stranger still, on each side of the road the pull-throughs face different directions--so while you might be able to simply pull into one, you will have to turn around to get into the adjacent one, even though it is on the same side of the road.

There is a really nice trail that leads down to a small 2-acre lake with restrooms, picnic tables, and a beach.

Here is the lake as you approach from the trail. The water looks brown, as if it were muddy, but that's just a tannin effect. The water is actually very clear.

Another view of the lake from farther along the trail, looking across at the beach:

From there you can follow the trail down to the waterfall area. Notice how you are walking down to the lake and then down to the waterfall. Depending on your age and condition, you may want to keep this in mind for your return trip back up. The trail from the lake to the waterfall is mostly a wooden walkway with steps. On the way down, you will pass this sign about the oil drilling that was carried out for a brief time on this property.

As you approach the falls area, you can look across at where the falls would be, and down on an observation platform across from them.

I walked down to the observation deck even though it had been far to dry for too long for any water to be falling. Well, actually there was some water dribbling down (but somehow Dribbling Waters is not as good a name for a park...). I took a picture. Just in case you miss the dribble, I have designated one line of it with an arrow...

This waterfall would actually be falling into a sinkhole. Not being a fan of heights, I wasn't crazy about peering over the edge into the hole...

This is a good campground. The bath house sits in the center of the campground and is very clean and spacious. There is a 2-sink dishwashing station just outside the bath house. Two of the sites are tent-only and if I were still in a tent, this campground would be very high on my list of favorites--the tent sites are fantastic; off the road a wee bit and down a few steps, and therefore woodsy and very private. Verizon cell signal was strong. Every fast food restaurant you could want is a short drive away, and Chipley, only a few miles up the road, has a Walmart and better restaurants.

Now I really think camping season is over for me, and if so, this blog will be napping until fall.