Falling Rock Falls is tucked away in a nature preserve owned by some natural resources companies. It’s pretty obscure, even for locals. It’s near Montevallo, Alabama, which is about 25 minutes south of Birmingham. You park on the side of the road at the gated entrance (don’t block the gate). You approach the falls on a gravel road. The area looks like the timber was harvested a few years ago, so there’s zero shade. The ground is hilly—but it’s also swampy—making the air very humid. You will sweat.
About the hike
The road forks about a half mile in. You will take the road on the left at the fork and then take the next right after the oil derrick. A little way down that road, you will see a trail entrance on your left. It looks like someone started to pave it and got lazy. There’s also a big mud puddle and berm to keep cars out. Walk down that trail and you’ll see the creek on your right. You are at the top of the falls. You can’t see the cascade from the top, so you’ll have to hike down.
There are several paths to the bottom, but none are very easy. Cross the creek (the rocks are very slippery) and veer to the left. That is the easiest path down. It is not kid-friendly. You aren’t exactly bushwhacking, but you will get dirty as you scramble down the rocks. The cliff overhangs the creek bed, creating a big cavern. The cascade drops around 60 feet in a vertical drop onto the rocks below. There’s a swimming hole at the bottom, making this a great place to beat the summer heat.
This is a fun little hike. The walk in is incredibly easy, but the final 100 feet are very strenuous. I’d guess it’s probably a 3 mile round trip. If I did this again, I would go after a heavy rainfall in the autumn or winter when the flow is heavy and the humidity is low.
This place was hard to find, so you’ll want to use your GPS. Your signal should be fine in the area. If you go when it’s hot, wear sunscreen and insect repellant. I swear by Ben’s 100 Bug Spray. Also, don’t wear cotton unless you want to feel like you’re wrapped in wet cellophane. Wear merino wool instead. It will allow your sweat to evaporate and it doesn’t smell like synthetic activewear.