Native American Falls is a fantastic waterfall in some rugged country within the Piney Creek Wildlife Management Area. The parking spot is easy to find, but the falls is rugged to get to -- but you will be rewarded with a fantastic 41 foot tall waterfall that cascades down the bluff and some beautiful scenery along the way.
The trail head is easy to find -- it is located .4 miles south of Pelsor on Highway 7. Pelsor is a small community 28 miles South of Jasper and 28 miles North of Dover on highway 7. At .4, there is a sign for the Piney Creeks WMA. Park by the sign.
Getting to the Falls
From the sign, head directly into the woods and down the hill. There is no maintained trail here, and really, only a rough trace of a trail to follow, so you'll most likely have to make your own way.
The route down will at first follows an area that has been dramatically cut back because of nearby power lines, but eventually ends up in the woods. Keep heading straight down.
When you get to the bottom of the hill, you'll reach a small creek. Turn LEFT at the creek, and follow it down stream.
A couple of helpful hints here (especially if you don't have a GPS). First, when you get to the creek, you may want to set up a cairn (Pile of stacked rocks) to mark the spot so you know where to turn to head back up the hill on your way back. Second, the best 'trail' we found was on the opposite side of the creek a little ways off the creek. But as you can tell from the photo, it's pretty rugged so find the best way down stream you can.
After about .4 miles downstream you will come to the top of the falls. To get to the bottom, go to the left side of the falls (when facing downstream) - you'll cross over a neat overhand area that will give you a decent look at the falls and get to a group of large rocks. There will be a trail of sorts that heads steeply down the hill to your right. When you get to the bottom you can climb back up a few hundred yards back to the falls. You'll be rewarded with a great view and a thunderous sound of water.
There is a lot more to explore in the area including a couple of smaller waterfalls downstream. We saved those for another day.
Once you are done exploring, head back the way you came. The total distance back and forth from the falls is only 1.5 miles, but because of the tough terrain and the steep slopes, it will feel like a lot more than that.
And one other note as a reminder. The back country, especially when exploring areas without maintained trails can have unpredictable footing, so be careful. Especially along slick stream crossings and bluff lines. While we were at Native American Falls we came across another couple that was out hiking and she had slipped on a slick rock and had apparently broken her ankle. It was a long piggy-back ride out!
Distance: 1.5 miles
Footwear: Hiking Books
Seasonality: I'd recommend this in winter or early spring wet season -- when the water is running well but probably before the forest becomes too woolly. We hiked this in late April and it was good, but I'm not sure I would have wanted to do it a few weeks later.
Star Rating: 4 of 5