Most of my waterfall descriptions have a summary listing at the top of each description. My intention is to digest all of the significant facts about each waterfall into that summary so that you can tell at a glance if you want to read the entire description or not. What facts about a waterfall are significant? That depends on what you want to know. Here is a list of the summary headers that I use and what they mean. Not all falls will have all headers.
This is the summary of the summary. In this one line I will try to give you a feeling for the waterfall. Is it large and impressive, or is it small and friendly? Is it wild and remote, or is it something you can bring your sick grandmother to see? Here is where you will find your answer.
The town and state were the falls is located. I make an effort to be accurate about the location. I avoid using the names of crossroads or nearby tourist attractions. Some of the towns which contain these waterfalls are small, and I try to be respectful of them by acknowledging them properly. For example, there is no "Killington, VT." The Killington Ski Resort is located in the town of Sherburne. However some places, notable central and northern Maine, don't have towns in the usual sense of the word. In those cases I may identify a location using nearby natural landmarks. If a waterfall is located inside the borders of a state park or similar place, I may indicate its location in terms of that. Such parks tend to be more widely known and recognized than small towns, and they are (usually) still respectful to the natural forces I am trying to celebrate with this page.
The name of the stream that flows over the falls.
The height of the falls. Mostly these numbers are my estimates. In some cases, I might have actual facts to back these numbers up. Measuring the height of a waterfall is difficult because it isn't always clear where a waterfall starts and stops.
This is my estimate of how difficult it is to find the waterfall. I strongly suggest that if you are interested in waterfalls, you get a good road atlas that shows all of the back roads in every town. Check out my references page for some ideas. However, even with a good map, some falls are difficult to find. If I say "difficult" in this header, that means use a topographic map and a compass. If I say "easy" I may mean "easy with a good map." Some falls, however, are very trivial to find because they are so well marked. I will try to make that clear in this header if that is true.
This is my estimate of how difficult it is to get to the waterfall. This is different than finding it. Some falls are easy to find, but hard to reach. If you are out of shape, and don't want to walk a long way to see the waterfall, pay attention to this header. I will try to distinguish between falls that are a short walk, but that still require some climbing, from those that are literally wheelchair accessible. If the falls requires hiking, as many do, I will try to indicate how difficult a hike it is. Keep in mind that an "easy" hike is much harder than a "short walk, no climbing" rating. As soon as hiking is involved, my rating system changes to that which is appropriate for hikes.
Do you just like to sit beside a waterfall and read? Do you like to stretch out on the rocks and sunbathe? If you do, then check out the "basking" header. Here is where I try to give you a sense about how easy it is to relax around the waterfall. At some falls, it's hard to find a place to sit down. At others, there is plenty of space to spread out a blanket and have a picnic on the rocks beside the stream.
This is my assessment (often based on just one visit) of how private a falls is. Some waterfalls are very popular spots that get visited by many people. Other waterfalls are obscure or remote and are rarely visited. Do you like to be alone with a waterfall? Do you want to sunbathe nude on the rocks or go skinny dipping? This header can provide you with some idea of which falls are secluded and which ones are not. Keep in mind that waterfalls attract visitors. No matter how private a waterfall might seem there is always a chance that your solitude will be interrupted without warning by a troop of people. Making love beside a roaring waterfall might sound romantic, but I don't think I'd recommend it regardless of how secluded a falls seems unless you are prepared to cope with interruption!
Some waterfalls are on private land. In some cases the landowners may not want their land displayed and discussed on the Internet for all to see. I want to be respectful of that. A vast majority of the waterfalls described on this site are on public land or on land that is explicitly made publically accessible. If I do display a waterfall that is on private land I will make every effort to either not reveal it's exact location or to have the permission of the landowner to publish information about the falls here on the Internet. Please let me know if I am publishing information about falls on private land inappropriately!
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