Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Along the Way: Cucumber Falls

Cucumber Falls, Ohiopyle State Park
Taken from the overlook
This past spring I had the opportunity to visit Ohiopyle State Park to photograph a number of the waterfalls located there. After spending the day exploring the park and its natural beauty with my cousins Sue and Kevin, I left questioning why it had taken me so long to finally visit.

Of the half dozen or so notable waterfalls located in Ohiopyle State Park, Cucumber Falls is the second easiest to gain access to. Only Ohiopyle Falls on the Youghiogheny River is easier to access, being located next to the visitor’s center.

Cucumber Falls is located along Kentuck Road, just south of the town of Ohiopyle. Following Route 381 south from the town of Ohiopyle Kentuck Road is the first road on the right. A short drive up the hill and I discovered the parking lot for Cucumber Falls right along the road. A very short walk to a overlook gives the first view of the waterfall, which is located about a hundred yards from the spot that the stream empties into the Youghiogheny River.

Cucumber Falls
Located on Cucumber Run, the falls are a plunge type of waterfall that falls roughly thirty feet from the crest to the pool below. A plunge waterfall is one in which the water, once it goes over the crest, does not touch the rock face behind it. Plunge falls are often referred to by many as “veils” or “bridal veils” due to the fact the falling water appears to form a veil, or curtain. The space between the water and the rocks behind Cucumber Falls is great enough that you can walk behind the curtain of water. I did not personally take up that challenge the day of my visit due to the fact I did not have dry clothes with me and was unwilling to chance slipping and falling into the water – maybe next time I visit.

I’ve visited a number of waterfalls over the years, and I can honestly say that Cucumber Falls is among my top ten favorite waterfalls. It is in a very picturesque hollow and no matter where you’re taking a picture from, it is a challenge to find a “bad spot” to photograph the falls from.

Cucumber Falls
Yes, you can walk behind the falls
No, I did not walk behind them this trip
A couple thing to keep in mind when visiting Cucumber Falls:

1.  Cucumber Falls is a very short and easy walk from the parking area. This will take you to the overlook. There are steps then down to the base of the falls.

2. You really can’t take a bad picture of the falls. I’m not an expert at photographing waterfalls, but of those I have, this is one of a handful that no matter where I set up the camera I was able to take a nice picture of the falls.

3. You want to visit after a rain or in a wet season. The day I visited it had rained the day before and that morning giving the waterfall a nicer appearance. I’ve looked at other pictures people have taken during various times of the year and – while nice – the waterfall doesn’t seem as spectacular in my opinion.

4. If you choose to wander behind the falls, please be careful – wet rocks tend to be slippery.

Cucumber Falls
My personal favorite of the pictures I took of the falls

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