GPS Coordinates: (Latitude, Longitude, Elevation)
Parking Location #1: 35.550674,-93.175677
Parking Location #2: 35.535018,-93.185718
Falls #1: 35.549817,-93.176752
Falls #2: 35.549608,-93.176175
Falls #4: 35.546136,-93.179214
Falls #5: 35.545749,-93.179762
Falls #6: 35.545296,-93.180082
Falls #7: 35.545091,-93.181607
Falls #8: 35.544592,-93.181082
Waldo Mountain Falls: 35.544553,-93.181671
Falls #10: 35.544413,-93.181617
Falls #11: 35.543449,-93.183146
Falls #12: 35.541641,-93.183777
Pet Friendly: It's public land in the national forest, so dogs are allowed. That being said, it is a total bushwhack, sometimes on steep slippery slopes and places where a little climbing was involved. Boomer would have done fine on this hike, but many dogs would not. Know your pet's capability and use your own judgment.
Hiking Statistics: We hiked from the top of Dry Branch to the bottom, so the statistics I have are just for that one-way hike downhill. The one-way distance from parking location #1 to parking location #2 is 2.16 miles. The highest-to-lowest elevation difference is 712 feet, but remember it is going downhill. We still had to hike up the occasional bluff and back down again when the route along the creek was impassable. We also did a little exploring around the bluffs above Waldo Mountain Falls. I would rate this a moderately difficult bushwhack.
Waldo Mountain area waypoints
GPS track for Waldo Mountain along Dry Branch
Links to blog posts for other nearby areas:Longpool Falls
Grimmet Springs Hollow
Upper Graves Creek
|Waldo Mountain Falls|
|Downstream of Falls #10|
- From the Dover town square (intersection of Hwy 7 and Hwy 27), go north on Hwy 7 for 5.5 miles and turn left onto Hwy 164.
- Go 4.7 miles on Hwy 164 and bear right onto Pilot Rock Mountain Road (FS-1800). This is just after the twin bridges over Big Piney Creek
- Go 1.6 miles on Pilot Rock Mountain Road. This is Parking Location #2, where we left my FJ. There is a pull-off trace road on the right where you can park off the road.
- Go an additional 1.7 miles on Pilot Rock Mountain Road and turn right onto Dry Creek Road.
- Go 0.5 miles on Dry Creek Road and park off the road. This is Parking Location #1.
We found a place on the left side of the road to park, crossed the road and headed straight down into the hollow on the main upper fork. See the map at the bottom of this post for our route down Dry Branch. While Dry Creek Road is not at the top of the mountain or the top of this hollow, it was above all the actual water in the drainages. I'm not sure name which is correct, Dry Creek as the road is named, or Dry Branch, as the creek is named on my maps. At any rate, it wasn't actually dry, which is the most important thing for waterfall chasing. We soon came to our first waterfall find high in the hollow, a fairly nice one for as high in the drainage as it was. Just downstream of Falls #1, another fork joined in from the left (east). Looking upstream, sure enough, Falls #2 was flowing over the same bluffline. Downstream of that juncture a short distance, we found Falls #3, a short but beautiful waterfall.
This was starting to look like a veritable polyfoss, with a plethora of waterfalls. As often happens when we start thinking like that, we stopped finding waterfalls on the main creek. But then, we found Falls #4 a little more than a quarter-mile downstream and quite a few more that were 100 yards or less apart on the creek. Falls #4 was one of my favorites for this hike, a series of tumbling smaller waterfalls flowing into a nice pool. Unfortunately, Dan lost a lens cap here and it disappeared into the pool, which was much deeper than it appeared. While I was congratulating myself on having a lanyard on my lens cap, somewhere in the short distance between Falls #4 and Falls #5, my lens cap decided it would come loose and get lost. I now carry a spare lens cap in my pack, because continually cleaning the lens in a wet, cold, foggy, muddy, and slippery area like this can get a little old.
Access downstream to Falls #7
Falls #5, as I mentioned, was less than a 100 yards downstream of Falls #4. This one is a beautiful waterfall flowing into a very steep and relatively deep canyon. Downstream, Falls #6 was equally beautiful in its own way, although much shorter. The fog, which had lifted entirely on our road trip here, had closed in again and made this waterfall look kind of spooky. Going downstream from Falls #6, the next waterfall downstream on the creek was what would eventually be the tenth of our waterfall finds today. However, the terrain forced us into another direction first. To get out of the creek level where we were and continue downstream, we had to go through a cave (more like a tunnel) to another drainage of Dry Branch, so we ended up at Falls #7 in a different side drainage of the main creek. The cave had signs of bear, both hair and scat, and you could see where it/they had bedded down. If there were any bears around today, I'm sure they got spooked and ran off long before we got to this point. This area has the nicest scenery and prettiest waterfalls, in my opinion, of this entire hollow. It's just hard to get from one to another except for a round-about way. Fortunately, they are all grouped fairly closely together between the two prongs.
Falls #7 is a nice one, falling off a tall bluff in this side drainage. downstream of it was another small waterfall, followed closely by Falls #9, which we later decided to call Waldo Mountain Falls. Shortly downstream of Waldo Mountain Falls, this drainage flows into the main creek of Dry Branch and you can follow it back upstream a short distance on the left to an accessible area just below Falls #10. This waterfall is one of the prettiest waterfalls I have seen in the Ozarks, but it is very difficult to get a shot of it that shows that beauty. I'm not a big drone user and don't like packing stuff like that on a bushwhack, but it sure would have come in handy for photographing Falls #10. Heading downstream from this wonderful area, we first went up to explore the bluffs and rock formations above Waldo Mountain Falls, then headed downstream.
We found a couple more waterfalls on Dry Branch on the way back to where we had left the FJ Cruiser parked. Below Falls #10, the creek flattens out some and we even picked up an old trace road along Dry Branch that always makes for easy hiking. It is less than a mile from Parking Location #2 to Waldo Mountain Falls and is much easier hiking than the very steep and rugged terrain upstream of that juncture. If you only have one vehicle, or you just want to see the biggest and nicest of the waterfalls here, I would suggest parking at the lower parking location and just hiking up Dry Branch and back down. This is one of those areas that I can't believe was practically in my backyard and I had never gotten around to exploring it. It is well worth it.
|Downstream of Waldo Mountain Falls (background right)|
|Waldo Mountain Falls|
|GPS track for Dry Branch on Waldo Mountain|