June 11, 2016
Note: See the previous post for the information on the upper lakes.
The next morning we explored the lower lakes starting at 7AM. While some sites suggest that this area is better in the morning I’m not so sure. Direct light descends on the falls pretty early. Nice for a pretty walk around the lakes but not so great for photography. That said, I’m not sure how the evening light would be.
At just after 7AM there were a couple of cars in the parking lot and a few tourists on the paths. Crowd conditions stayed manageable until the tour groups started arriving around 9:30.
The most iconic viewpoint is at the start of the lower lakes. From here the path passes some upper viewpoints before descending steeply down to the lakes.
The first two paths down were closed due to construction on the trail, which meant you had to go through the cave to get down. We did not know that and walked all the way to the bus stop before heading down. Not a bad way to go if you are just doing the lower lakes.
On our return out of the park we came back up through the cave. By this time tour groups were heading down through the cave to the lakes and the viewpoints along of the upper path were crowded with photo snapping tourists.
Rick Steves says that these falls are not as spectacular as the upper lakes. It’s true that there aren’t as many big falls, but this is where the biggest fall and the most iconic photos are taken.
I found the walk around the lower lakes to be just as pretty as the upper with plenty of photo opportunities.
The light conditions in the morning, however, made it harder to take good photos as the sun had come out and there was too much direct light.
There are more shaded boardwalks along the lakes on this section, which I find particularly charming.