Frozen Waterfalls

The deep freeze across the east has lasted long enough for some of the local waterfalls and even parts of the French Broad River to freeze.   This doesn’t happen every year, we need sustained weeks of sub-freezing temperatures for the ice to form around running water.  It was 27 degrees F (-2C) last weekend when we decided to take a hike and see some of them.  Yes, we are a bit nuts to hike in this cold, but the skies were mainly clear, the wind was very light and the hikes were short.  Bundling up in coats, hats, scarves, gloves, jeans and our hiking boots, we drove out to DuPont State Forest to see the first two.  The parking lot was mainly empty, of course.  Only the truly crazy go hiking now.  But there were a few other intrepid souls who wanted to appreciate the beauty of the white ice sculptured by nature. We headed out on the bridge over a partially frozen stream.

Winter in State Forests of Western NC at From My Carolina Home

The half mile hike wasn’t too bad in the cold, only one really steep section.

Winter in State Forests of Western NC at From My Carolina Home

Coming up the hill, Triple Falls can be seen in the distance.

Triple Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at From My Carolina Home

Getting a bit closer, all of that white that looks like froth is actually solid ice.

Triple Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at From My Carolina Home

Look to the left of the upper falls, see the icicles?

Triple Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at From My Carolina Home

There is still some water flowing, but most of the falls is frozen in time.

Triple Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at From My Carolina Home

Back across the bridge and a short 1/4-mile hike later, we came to Hooker Falls.  This one is not tall but really wide.  The very middle is still flowing, but both sides are frozen solid.

Hooker Falls January 2018 Winter Freeze at From My Carolina Home

DH took this picture across the face of the falls, the ice is pretty thick!

Hooker Falls January 2018 Winter Freeze at From My Carolina Home

Gorgeous, isn’t it?  The entire left side still looks like flowing water even though it is frozen stillness.

Hooker Falls January 2018 Winter Freeze at From My Carolina Home

As usual for me, I notice the details like the crystals and air bubbles under the surface here at the water’s edge.

Hooker Falls January 2018 Winter Freeze at From My Carolina Home

The fractured pattern is interesting.  Along the right lower edge of the picture below is a gentle rippling over a rock, amazingly still moving ever so slightly.

Hooker Falls January 2018 Winter Freeze at From My Carolina Home

Downstream from Hooker Falls, lovely contrast between the dark rocks and the light ice.

Hooker Falls January 2018 Winter Freeze at From My Carolina Home

The next day, we drove out to Pisgah Forest and all along the road were scenes like this, icicles from the watershed forming on the rock faces.

Winter in State Forests of Western NC at From My Carolina Home

The prisms of light inside the icicles were really lovely, but the camera couldn’t see them.


In warmer weather, these sections have dripping water.


We drove to Looking Glass Falls, also a winter wonderland.  It looks like a frothy falls, but in actuality, is frozen ice.  I usually try to get pictures without people in them, but this one gives you a better idea of the majesty and height of this waterfall and the stone canyon.

Looking Glass Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at

A little zoom in, look at the frost in the trees on the left, and over the rock face on the right, all formed from the spray from the falls.

Looking Glass Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at

Several minutes later to walk down the icy stairs, where the temperature dropped another 10 degrees, and the falls still look exactly the same.

Looking Glass Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at

Frost covered the lower rocks next to the solid ice lagoon, with icicles hanging from the ledges.

Looking Glass Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at

The ice was inches thick, beautiful but dangerous.  The ice wouldn’t support the weight of a person.

Looking Glass Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at

Downstream from Looking Glass Falls, there is a trickle still moving in the very center.

Looking Glass Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at

For my northern hemisphere readers, is it frozen where you are?  Southern hemisphere readers, do you have scenes like this near you in winter?

Looking Glass Falls Winter 2018 Freeze at


Take Me Away!

52 thoughts on “Frozen Waterfalls

  1. Elaine Nemeth

    Sew glad you are crazy to take these priceless photos and share them… Wish I had been with you to experience these amazing vistas. oh to capture these falls in a quilt!!!!!! Thanks so much for your blog

  2. Beautiful, surreal – these pics are amazing! You certainly have a more adventurous spirit than me! This weekend our temps will again be in the low 20’s! We are not used to such cold – but the good Lord in his infinite wisdom knows what is best! Thank you for these wonderful sights!

  3. I love to get out in Nature in the bitter cold to see the wonders she has created. Didn’t go out this year and I can’t trust my back and leg not to go out on me and no one was willing to venture out there with me for back up. I’ve seen some beautiful ice photos this winter though and yours are right up there with the best of them ♥ Thanks for sharing!

  4. Shirley

    Here in Michigan we venture out to Lake Michigan to view the frozen waves. Huge caves of frozen water are formed. Last week we had sub zero temps and tomorrow the forecast is in the fifties and then back to the teens Saturday! I have booked a cruise:)

  5. Diann@ Little Penguin Quilts

    Wow, Carole! Amazing photos and sights – thanks for sharing! We actually saw some frozen waterfalls on a drive up into the Colorado mountains last week, but our rivers/creeks are so much narrower here that they aren’t quite as scenic as what you’re showing us.

  6. Sherrill Pecere

    Those pix are gorgeous even though I DETEST the cold!! We have another cold snap coming in tomorrow so I’ll probably be hibernating for the most part over the next several days. I would LOVE to see Yellowstone in the winter but not sure I could take the cold!

  7. Sue H

    Good morning, Carole. We were frozen here in southern IL. Quite cold temps and wind chill below zero. The pond was frozen behind me with the exception of where the aerator keeps the top moving. We had Canadian geese parked on the ice and mallards paddling in the water. Haven’t seen the Great Heron lately but every so often there’s a bald eagle on the lookout. Love walking my dog this time of year. No one wants to venture out so we get the trails all to ourselves! Lol! 50s today & tomorrow with teens this weekend. Brrrrr! Glad I’ll be on retreat with friends!

  8. Pat Evans

    Amazing photos. We are on a temperature roller coaster right now. Last Friday, high of 5° and lows below zero. Tomorrow, 55° high, then back in the deep freeze by Saturday with rain, then sleet, then snow. But right now the sun is shining brightly and it looks much warmer than it is.

  9. it is always nice to get out and see things like this first hand. We used to get out and take short hikes in the cold weather but hubby has gotten wimpy over the years and no longer likes to get out in the cold weather, and I won’t go by myself – never know if you might fall or whatever – always love seeing others photos of it though!

  10. Mary Jo

    Don’t you love our beautiful North Carolina variety! Some years we are warm enough that I don’t wear a coat, other years we have the frozen waterfalls! Even areas of Lake Norman have been frozen…mostly shallow coves, but frozen none the less.

  11. cindy m

    Carole, absolutely stunning photos! Haven’t been there in 10 years, have never had the pleasure of being there in Winter. May just have to plan a road trip to visit my sister soon! Absolutely Gorgeous!!

  12. Beautiful photos- thankyou for sharing them. Here in the southern hemisphere we are melting at the moment…where we live in the top of New Zealand we only get a couple of frosts in winter … I would love to experience a cooler winter for its sheer beauty.

  13. Your photos are fantastic. Now I don’t feel the need to hike to see waterfalls. The tiny branches near our house were frozen over, although water was still flowing under the ice. I went to Hooker Falls on a hot summer day. What a contrast with your photo!

  14. How beautiful is that!! Nothing like that happens, that I have seen, in Australia or NZ, I did get excited once when the bird bath froze over!! 😆😆 thanks for sharing, the waterfalls look amazing.

  15. kathyinozarks

    Oh Wow double wow what a sight to see-I am so glad you took photos to share with us-I enjoyed it all I would take that hike too with this reward of beauty Kathy

  16. Thank you for sharing your pics….. just stunning! I could stare at those frozen waterfalls for hours! It is summer here and going to be 38C today (100.4F) so your waterfalls seem very surreal. It never freezes here beyond a frost or two.

  17. Betty Jansen

    As I am a chemist by trade I enjoyed the water crystals. I can just “see” the molecules attracting one another and forming patterns. Thank you

  18. manasotavacation

    Carole, thank you so much for sharing! Gorgeous photos! Thank you for braving that dreadful cold to share these vistas with us little house plants!!!!

  19. Cheryl

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos. There is beauty all around us no matter what the season. Yes it’s been cold here in Ontario -25c but we have enjoyed some lovely blue skies. Enjoy your winter hikes, the quiet is so peaceful this time of year.

  20. I got to see Niagara Falls last week when I was crossing the Rainbow Bridge from Canada going home. It is pretty frozen now and they light it up at night. Your falls remind me of the scene from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe when it finally begins spring and the falls thaws instantly.

  21. Rosemaryflower

    You took some incredible photos, Carole.
    These are just beautiful.
    HA! amazing this miserable cold and wind does give us some lovely sights. Frozen nature is pretty

  22. Leslie

    Lol. Love your pictures as we don’t have much for waterfalls here in Northern Alberta but frozen we are. We have been frozen since November and will not thaw until March/April! Tonight as I write this it is -28C with wind chills making it feel like -40c. Life goes on. We are out and about like usual. While hiking is moved to skiing and cross country skiing and maybe even snow showing if we were to get some more snow! It doesn’t snow when it gets cold! Crisp and cold and it really isn’t too bad it is the wind which while it may not be strong the breeze makes it feel much colder. I am happy and love winter as long as my (plugged in) car stills starts! Love a remote starter too! Good weather to quilt in. Enjoy your cool temps they will be gone for you too soon.

  23. Looks like a fairyland! Canyon Lake has enough ice that three people were out ice fishing on Tuesday! It was pretty strange to see the geese swimming on one end, and fisherman on the other! We had a couple of 50 degree days, but are now going back to the polar zone for a week, so I guess the ice will hold awhile longer. The creek is still running full tilt, too much volume to freeze, I think. Stay warm!

  24. Incredibily beautiful Carole, it’s astounding that moving water could just freeze in motion! I have never been as cold in my life as I have been this winter…we don’t have the clothes for freezing weather, and my house with non insulated leaded glass windows was drafty and cold, Brrrr…. We warmed up to the 60s this week thank goodness! I loved seeing your frozen beautiful area,

  25. Vicki in MN

    My hubby and I love waterfalls, always seeking new ones for when we do travel. We usually see them flowing so this was really fun to see your pictures frozen!!

  26. Mary Crawford

    Beautiful photos Carole and nice you shared. We are experiencing another cold freeze this weekend, unfortunately. Below -0 temps and of course, we have the wind. A little snow has blown in but imagine the drifting will create slick roads once again. Good weekend hunkering down and sewing!

  27. Your photos are wonderful. These are magnificent sights. Love seeing what the falls and river have done. Well worth the drive and the hike to see each one. Thank for sharing your pics.
    As a comparison, we had 108 degrees last weekend.

  28. Kristi

    This is so beautiful!!! You have such a gorgeous river, I’m glad you can visit it frequently. We live close to the Yuba River and love going for River walks especially in the off-season!

  29. Irena mangone

    So beautiful it was a pleasure to see all that snow as we are roasting here in Queensland Australia. It 36 degrees. Celscius today. And its expected 39 tomorrow. So the snow was cooling to look at.

  30. Sheryl

    Thank you for sharing such great interesting photographs. Mid and northern Spain is having a lot of snow this week and very low temps. One motorway was completely snowed under with thousands of cars trapped for hours on end during the week.

  31. dezertsuz

    Gorgeous captures. Thanks for enduring that cold to take these pictures. =) One of the prettiest sights I’ve seen in NC was a day when I was driving back from Charlotte and went through where the tunnels are – frozen falls all down the side of the mountain, and no place to pull over to take a picture.

  32. Carole, these photos are gorgeous! I can’t believe how thick the ice is and how the water appears to be flowing. It must have been such a treat to see it all in person. We are in Vermont this weekend and right now it’s -3 degrees but it’s even in the teens back in New Jersey. We have had some really cold days in the northeast this year! Glad you got to enjoy such beauty and thanks for sharing at this month’s Take Me Away Party! I always look forward to your link ups! Enjoy your weekend!

  33. Pingback: Hiking in Winter | From My Carolina Home

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