Adventure Us: Cascade Falls

Adventure #29: Cascade Falls

One of the most treasured local destinations is also one of the most well-known and beautiful waterfalls in the state: the Cascades.

The Cascades lies about an hour’s drive from Roanoke, west of Blacksburg, tucked back in the mountains of Giles County. It is one of the most visited places in Virginia, cherished by college students, tourists, and locals alike. The four mile Cascade Falls hike lies within the Washington and Jefferson National Forest, along the banks of the Little Stony Creek, culminating in the spectacular waterfall that is worth a long drive to see.

This hike needs to be experienced in both summer and winter to be fully appreciated. In summer, the lush greenery of the forest, the roar of the falls, and the cool spray of the mist delight visitors. In winter, the snow-covered woods, the ice crusted creek, and the frozen falls hold a beauty just as striking.

The journey to the falls is a worthy adventure for a family. The moderate elevation gain is more than made up for by the scenic beauty of the Lower Trail, as it twists along the course of the rushing creek, crosses over it on footbridges, and slips under overhanging rock faces. At the far end, as the creek gets noisier and rowdier, the trail picks its way along the rocks until, as you emerge from behind a huge boulder, the stunning falls comes into view.

The waters rush in a massive torrent over the 69-foot cliff into a large basin below. The observation platform provides room for plenty of people to sit or stand and watch the waterfall leap into the pool, listen to the roar, and feel the refreshing spray.

On the return journey, the upper trail follows a straighter and more direct (but still beautiful) path above the creek back to the trailhead – also helpful for those with young family members whose feet are getting tired! On the way home, top off your trip with hot drinks or a meal at any of downtown Blacksburg’s many options – or a local option in Pembroke.

The Cascades is a well-loved destination, so visiting on a weekday will help ensure you have more of it to yourself – better for personal enjoyment and social distancing. Also, there is a $3 parking fee for the Cascades Day Use Area.

The Cascades is an adventure that kids of all ages and their parents will find memorable. This winter, get the whole family out of the house to take in some great exercise and beautiful scenery!

Name: Cascade Falls Trailhead, 2068 Cascade Dr, Pembroke, VA 24136

Time from Roanoke: 1 hour

Activity Options: Hiking, scenery, wildlife, cascading water

Nearby Food: Bluegrass BBQ and Riviera Mexican Grill in Pembroke; many options in downtown Blacksburg

Nearby Attractions: Mountain Lake Lodge 

More Adventure Us

Cristy Carr

Cristy and her family keep busy writing, tutoring, homeschooling, homesteading, and adventuring in the beautiful Appalachian mountains.
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