North Carolina Waterfalls
By Kevin Adams
Published by John F. Blair
With a subtitle of “A Hiking and Photography Guide,” one would expect a back pocket trail guide, but weighing in at 590 pages, this book is anything but.
Waterfall enthusiasts are pretty hard to please when it comes to guides. They want glossy color photos of every waterfall, they want detailed trail information and they want every waterfall. Books always have shortcomings and most of them fail with the last item on the “want” list – they tend to cover major waterfalls or those in a given area or defined by some other factor.
Kevin Adams comes closest to giving waterfallers what they really want – a guide to all the falls. The book describes almost 600 waterfalls (yes, six hundred) grouped into 33 “hubs” with a map showing the waterfalls associated with that hub.
Obviously, this is a prodigious work. Not only do you have a book with the definitive listing of waterfalls, the author provides copious amounts of information on each:
- Accessibility. How you get there: trail, bushwhack, scramble, etc.
- Beauty Rating. 1-10
- River. Stream coming over the falls.
- River Basin. Where the water goes.
- Elevation. Above sea level at top of falls.
- Type and Height. Waterfall description along with how high it is.
- Watershed. Amount of watershed above the falls determines water flow.
- USGS Map.
- Gazetteer Coordinates. Author uses maps in the Atlas & Gazetteer book series.
- Trail Length.
- Trail Difficulty.
- Direction to Trail Head.
- Trail Description. Details on the trail’s path.
- Overview. General description of the area..
- Photography. Tips on getting a good shot.
- Nearby Waterfalls. Other close-by cascades to be visited.
The front of the book contains the usual terms and cautions about waterfall hiking along with an extensive photography section. Given the emphasis on photography in the front of the book and photography tips given for each waterfall, it is surprising there are not more photos in the volume. Of the 600 mentioned waterfalls, there are about 85 black and white photographs within the text and a scant 13 color photos in the centerfold.
Use of the Atlas & Gazetteer coordinates is puzzling. Readers will have to have access to this reference for this to be useful plus it raises the technological question of why GPS coordinates are not used.
Regardless of these two slippages, this encyclopedic work is a must-have for anyone interested in North Carolina waterfalls.