Rock Creek & Reeves Point
March 28, 2010
On my first day off in six weeks, I returned to the Rock Creek area in the Big Piney drainage to explore some possible waterfall locations I had pinpointed on a topo map 2 years earlier. In December 2007, I drove through the area and immediately fell in love with its wild beauty. The next November, Rock Creek was the first place I visited on my vacation. The following Spring I had other waterfall areas higher up on my must-see list, but this year Rock Creek was #1.
I assumed the ford across Hurricane Creek would be flooded, so I came in to the area from Parker Ridge Road. I dared to drive Big Piney Creek Road north past the low-water bridge and was able to drive all the way to Rock Creek, where I parked the Tahoe at an old deer camp.
I took off my boots and waded across Rock Creek, put my boots back on, and headed northeast toward the first possible waterfall. I came to a well-travelled four-wheeler road that I realized lead back to the road. The road was headed toward my destination so I stayed on it and it took me to within a hundred feet of a tall waterfall pouring off a bluff. Four thin umbrella magnolia tree trunks grew from one spot in front of the shallow pool below the waterfall. None of the trees in the area had leafed out yet, so I used my imagination to get an idea of how those big umbrella leaves would look next to the tall falls. GPS coordinates (decimal degrees) for Rock Creek Shelter Falls is at 35.74689, -93.26819.
My next target was located upstream on the same drainage. It looked like the bluff line went on for a long way to the east, so I decided to follow it west looking for a break. I hadn't gone far when I came upon a small bluff shelter marked with orange marking tape by the forest service. A sign posted there reminded visitors not to remove any artifacts. I went to the back of the shelter and noted how the curved roof of the shelter ceiling was echoed by the curved outline of Parker Ridge in the distance.
I continued west and found a break in the bluff where I was able to climb up top. I followed the bluff line east until I could see the little drainage feeding the first waterfall I'd found. The terrain formed another bluff running northeast, parallel to the stream. I could see the top of the waterfall, but I couldn't get down to it. I followed this new bluff line northeast. At a spot where the bluff made a 90-degree turn to run southeast, it intersected the stream to make a really neat little waterfall. As the water ran down the bluff face from a single point at the top, it spread out. Then the water ran back together before running into a pool a the bottom, so that the overall shape of the waterfall was that of a long skinny diamond. The bluff on the other side continued southeast until it joined with the main bluff line running east-west. The entire area above the first waterfall and below this second waterfall was inaccessible to any one without climbing equipment. Approximate coordinates for Cut Off Falls is 35.748601, -93.267586.
I followed the stream about 300 yards uphill (crossing another well-traveled four-wheeler road) and came to another tall bluff line with another neat waterfall. This waterfall ran through a narrow channel cut into the upper portion of the bluff, then fell through the air to land in a tiny blue-green pool surrounded by big boulders. Tassels of moss hung from the bluff behind the waterfall. There was a fissure in the bluff to the side of the falls. Fissure Falls is at 35.75122, -93.26536.