Valaste waterfall in winter Valaste waterfall in winter

Valaste Waterfall

The Valaste waterfall is is the highest in Estonia and not only – it is the highest all the Baltic States. It’s located on Valaste stream along the Ontika cliff, which is 56 meters high, and has a fall of 30.5 meters. Since 1996, declared as a cultural heritage and national symbol of Estonia.
For the first time the Valaste waterfall was mentioned in 1840, when a German newspaper (Das Seebad Chudleigh) wrote about the beauty of Valaste, recommending that everybody should visit it.
The Valaste River, feeds the waterfall, is also known as "the big ditch" by locals. There’s a legend about a man named Kraavi Jüri (Ditch-George) who dug the ditch generations ago, thus creating the Valaste River and Waterfall. The legend is partially true – the Valaste River was artificially created in the course of draining works but the waterfall itself is purely the creation of mother nature.
The Valaste waterfall is most impressive in early spring; then, the volume of cascading water is greatest beacause the winter snow is melting. In summer and during the dry period you can only see the groundwater oozing out from between different layers. The waterfall is particularly picturesque in winter, when the combination of northerly winds blowing from the sea and the sprinkles of water create a real ice castle on the trees on the precipice.
In 1996, the commission of the Academy of Science declared the 25 meters high Valaste waterfall a natural heritage site and a national symbol. In 2003, the new record height of the waterfall - 30.5 meters - was approved. The falling water erodes the bottom of the valley bed, making it deeper, while the fall-downs of the wall work againts the erosion. The lower section of the klint wall comprises the sandstones and Cambrian blue clays; the middle part - of argillites and Ordovician sandstones; the upper part - of carbonate rocks. Basically, the geological archive exposed in this section of the klint dates back some 100 million years. The deposits forming the klint wall have settled roughly 570-470 million years ago.
The waterfall and klint wall can be best observed from the platform built in 1999. There is a car park, some explanatory signs and a trail using a double spiral staircase to get down the cliff where you can explore how Estonia looked about 80 million years ago.
This waterfalls is ideal resting places for climbers, especially in winter when waterfall freezes and everywhere there are amazing ice flowers and big icicles.
Valaste is the perfect destination not only for geologists but also for nature lovers - who appreciate something where nature and mankind have created something spectacular and unique together.
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