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Fallingwater Cascades

 

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Located at milepost 83.1 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Fallingwater Cascades Trail is part of the Peaks of Otter Recreational Area.  This National Recreational Trail is a very popular 1.6 mile loop hike featuring a waterfall.  The trail has a steep section, however there is only a total elevation gain of just under 400 feet, making this a moderate hike.  You have two options where to start this loop hike.  Start either at the Fallingwater Cascades Parking Area at milepost 83.1 or the Flat Top Parking Area at milepost 83.5.

The trail enters Jefferson National Forest soon after leaving the Fallingwater Cascades parking area.  From the parking area turn right down the well worn trail lined with rhododendron.  These usually bloom in late May, early June, making for beautiful scenery.  Soon the trail gets very steep and there are some steps.  Fallingwater Creek appears as it tumbles down the top of cascades on your left. 

At 0.3 miles cross Fallingwater Creek on a footbridge.  Your above the cascades and the trail will begin to descend, steeply at times.  There are some steps plus a few benches through this section.  Pass the base of the cascades and cross the creek on another bridge at 0.6 miles.  The cascades aren't spectacular, but are certainly worth the hike.  You can retrace your steps from here and head back to the parking area for a 1.2 mile hike.  This would be 0.4 miles less than the loop.  Do the loop.

The trail continues past a bench and ascend gradually as you enter a higher hardwood forest.  At 1.0 miles a side trail on your right leads to the Flat Top Parking Area.  Past this junction the trail continues its gradual rise to the Fallingwater Cascades Parking Area, reaching the parking area at 1.6 miles. 

One final note is to be careful of rattlesnakes that are sometimes in the area of this trail.  This hike is featured in the hiking guide book Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Stairs along the Fallingwater Cascades Trail

Fallingwater Cascades

Trail and bridge over Fallingwater Creek

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