Location: There is no actual address for the Falls. However, it is located 6 miles East of I 35 on Route 92. Head toward Kearney, exit route 92 and go 6.1 miles. It will be on your right. It is a dirt road entrance and can be easy to miss.
Cost: Free, it's a park.
Appropriate Age: All
Review: I realize as I write this that I haven't tanked many of the activities we have done this summer, which I now dub as Year of Discovering Missouri (next year we do Kansas). We've been lucky in the activities we have done through a combination of good planning and good hosts. Even when things are not appropriate or kinda crap, they are usually made more enjoyable by the docent or locals that help us out. However, this is not that type of place.
I'm not going to totally bash on this though. I love nature and any nature is a good start. With that said, let's get to ripping.
Tryst Falls is "Kansas City area's only scenic waterfall", not my words. And to it's credit, it is a waterfall and it's not bad. It's not Niagara Falls, but not bad for a day trip.
However, there are some problems with this site. First, when you roll up to the park there is a sign asking you not to swim in the water, touch the water, bath in the water or inhale the water because "test show Fecal Coliform Contamination" In other words, poop water. This is not a good start.
The falls are just a short walk down a small field and a path. They are about 15 fee high and you can walk to the top and look down or walk to the bottom and look at them from the side. But don't touch the water. It's a nice view but one that could be better.
First off the road is built right up next to the falls with a highway bridge going over the stream feeding the falls. This kind of messes up the scenery a bit. The field around the falls is also not very well kept up and I noticed plastic bags, styrofoam and other assorted trash here and there. I didn't notice any trash cans around which would explain the random trash It wouldn't kill them as well to mow a little closer to the water at least for appearance sake.
There is a single picnic table at this park but we didn't want to eat next to poo water.
I don't mean to imply that the falls are not cool to see, they are. But it's not a place that you would want to spend your entire day at or eat lunch at. There are plenty of really cool attractions in Kearney such as Jessie James' grave and farm house (both worth it) and Watkins Mill State Park, where we did have lunch and visit. I won't write a review of them just yet as we did not experience the whole of the park and I don't think I could do it justice. But I will say that the parts we saw were very nice and well kept and the Mill Museum is pretty cool for the older kids.
Back to Tryst Falls. They do have a playground at the park but we didn't much play on it and instead opted to go to the Watkins State Park instead.
My final vote: If you are in Kearny, it's worth a drive by for a quick look but not an activity to go see on it's own. As for trash--someone pick that up. It really does bother me when people treat natural resources like shit. I'm not a hippie, we have one of those already. But as one of our members say "make it so like we weren't even here." This is a good motto and one that I think KCDADS does really well when we do all of our nature hikes.