Warning! Always use caution around waterfalls because some hikes to them can be dangerous! Going off trail might lead to a steep gorge or even make you fall off a high cliff. The water spray on rocks near the base of the falls can be very slick if they are covered with algae. One can only imagine how dangerous it would be to fall into a powerful rapids while hiking along a river! Some people have died trying to climb up a cascade or while taking a very steep hike to the bottom of a falls. Jumping from the top of a waterfall into the pool below can be very foolish if you donít know how shallow the water is or what objects are underneath. Be careful near canyon walls because loose rocks may fall.

Some National or State parks have wild animals like bears, wolves, coyotes, bison, mountain lions, elk, deer, moose, snakes, etc. However, in my 7 years of hiking to waterfalls, Iíve only seen bears at Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon, while I didnít see any at Yellowstone or the Smoky Mountains. When I first saw a bear at Yosemite, I was driving through the park thinking thatís a pretty big dog until I finally realized what it was. I then got out of my car to take a picture while I kept a safe distance from it behind numerous other people. Always follow park advice and maintain a safe non threatening distance from all wildlife at your National parks.

Some waterfalls are located on private property and you may need to avoid them or seek the ownerís permission to view the falls. Be aware of waterfalls that are located in parks that allow hunting.

Sure I take some risks when I hike to waterfalls, but I use common sense and donít go anywhere that looks dangerous. Besides, there's other dangerous sports like mountain climbing, skiing, hunting, boxing, football, etc. I just think the adrenaline rush you get by witnessing the beauty of raw nature is worth the risk! However, you are responsible for your own safety at all times, so please be careful.

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