RICHLAND — The Richland Waterfalls Welcome Center opened on Monday in Witts Springs.
Even though there are 35 waterfalls in the Richland Valley, at this point of the summer season those waterfalls are going dry.
Dry waterfalls does not mean there is no fun in the valley. There are several short hikes that lead to loads of water fun.
Two of those swimming holes are drive-up facilities, while the third hole requires a quarter of a mile hike.
The most popular swimming hole in the Richland Valley is at the Falling Water Waterfall.
This body of water is deep enough that visitors can jump from the top of the bluff into the refreshing pool of water below.
The 10-foot drop gives visitors enough free time to find their place in the pool below as they fall.
At the top of the waterfall, there is a flat surface that allows Richland Creek to wander before forming the waterfall. This is a great place to worship the sun or to find a shade and relax while listening to the sound of the waterfall.
Falling Water has two swimming holes. There is the one by the waterfall and then there is one just below the main pool. This swimming hole is not as deep. It allows small children a place to play while parents don’t have the fear of deep water.
After leaving the Falling Water Waterfall, there is the Six Fingers Waterfall area.
Six Fingers is about 3.5 miles of road from Falling Water. During this creek stretch, the water trail gets noticeable thinner.
Six Fingers is bustling when in spring and the summer dryness allows a place to play for children. The water is not a foot deep, but there is still movement in the creek that keeps it clean. The surface is flat at the top of Six Fingers and parents can gather rays while allowing water playtime.
The third swimming hole in the Richland Creek is at the Richland Creek Campground. Richland Creek Campground is on Richland Creek Road. If visitors are following Newton County Road 5080, it is the same road as Richland Creek.
Visitors should pull into the campground area. Once inside the campground, there will be a primitive road on the right hand side of the road. This will lead to the swimming hole area. This road can be rough.
If visitors decide not to take the primitive road, they will continue to the left onto the campground loop. There will be parking spaces at the beginning of the loop. After parking, visitors can take the 34 steps that leads to the parking lot of the primitive area.
In the primitive area, visitors can head to the west side of the area and hit a trail that will lead them to two waterfalls. (These waterfall are about a 3 mile hike one way.) During the summer time, Richland Creek could be dry with just a few pools of water that are not flowing.
Below the dry west part of the creek bed, there is a large spring.
This spring fills up the creek bed once again. This water leads to a great swimming hole with large boulders around it and this is just a small hike from the primitive parking area.
The water is cold even during hot 90 degree days.
A gradual decline from the bank to the deepest points of the swimming hole allows visitors to judge their own security when swimming. The deepest part of the swimming area can reach six foot in depth.
After getting tired from playing in the water, there are shaded areas that have big smooth rocks for resting. There are also rocks that don’t see shade during the day.
If restroom facilities are needed, the campground has those.
The easiest way to reach these areas is to take Highway 16 west out of Witts Springs. Go 1.8 miles and turn on Richland Creek Road. That road intersects with Falling Water Road. At this intersection, turn left to go to Falling Water or turn right to go to Six Fingers and Richland Campground.