This EarthCache will highlight a spectacular location in the Allegheny National Forest, Bent Run Falls.
Here we will look at another waterfall in the Allegheny National Forest that does not hold to the conventional formation of a waterfall. This area has the two main things needed for a waterfall - naturally water, and a gradient or change in elevation. Unlike most waterfalls that exist at a location where a stream drops over a resistant layer of rock, the waterfalls of Bent Run exist because the streambed is clogged with many large boulders.
All of the massive boulders you will encounter along Bent Run are Pennsylvanian age Pottsville group conglomerate and sandstone. For more information on how these boulders got to where you now see them check out Hector Falls or Midway Crevasse at Ricketts Glen. Bent Run is just short of two miles long and descends 700 feet from the top of the plateau to the Allegheny Reservoir through a complicated series or boulders, outcrops, cascades, and waterfalls. The entire drainage area for Bent Run is contained between Forest Road 160 (at the top of the hill) and the reservoir just across Highway 59 from the parking area.
Listed coordinates are for the small parking area and trailhead. From the parking area you can follow the trail uphill along Bent Run all the way until the trail ends where a seasonal feeder-stream joins from the left. The trail is moderately strenuous and passes over and around many exposed tree roots and slippery rocks. This trip should be fine for children if well supervised. I have also seen a small amount of stinging nettle but that was only after hiking beyond the end of the trail and up the feeder-stream. Flow is highly variable and the falls is best viewed/photographed after a good rain or spring melt. There is no point that you have to hike to. You are free to just go far enough to get the required photo/answer but I would highly recommend going on to the end of the trail or even beyond. This has long been one of my favorite locations in Northwest Pennsylvania.
Types of Waterfalls:
Waterfalls that remain in contact with the underlying rock:
Cascade: generally water that flows down in small steps or stages.
Chute: A violent section of water that is forced through a narrow passage due to cliff walls or large rocks.
Fan: falls through a relatively narrow crest and spreads out and becomes wider as it descends.
Horsetail: descends down remaining in contact with the surface most of the time.
Scree/Talus: flowing over a chaotic mix of rock debris on a slope usually found at the base of a cliff or steep incline.
Slide: glides over a single slab of rock maintaining smooth continuous contact.
Waterfalls that separate from the underlying rock:
Block/Sheet: drops over a ledge forming what appears to be a "sheet" of water - usually not broken into segments and it is wider than it is tall.
Cataract: waterfall that is large, very powerful and rushes down with force.
Classical: similar to Block, but roughly equal in height and width
Curtain: similar to Block, but typically taller than wide.
Plunge: descends vertically without contacting the underlying surface.
Punchbowl: falls through a constricted area and descends down into a pool of water.
Veil: falls over rocks creating a thin layer of water that just barely covers it's surface.
Other Descriptive Types:
Parallel: falls are side-by-side and fall similar to each other.
Ribbon: descends in a narrow strip significantly taller than it is wide.
Segmented: Pieces of land segment the river (same watercourse) causing the water to fall in sections.
Slot/Keyhole: pushes through a narrow area before falling.
Tiered: Separate waterfalls falling consecutively and in close proximity so generally they can be seen together. Any type of falls can be tiered.
Twin: side-by-side but do not have to be similar in type. (Triple and more can exist as well)
To claim this as a find:
1. Post a photo of yourself and your GPS with your favorite part of Bent Run Falls in the background. (Optional but appreciated)
2. Classify the falls using the above descriptive types.
E-mail the answer to me for number 2 with your log within a few days. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in log deletion.
Good luck and good caching.
- Rev Mike
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