Cascade Falls Loop

  • Highlights: Waterfalls, Little Stony Creek Gorge
  • Distance: 4.0 mile loop
  • Elevation Change: 700 feet
  • Trail Surface: Rocky
  • Difficulty Level: Easy/moderate (rocky surface, elevation gain)
  • Trailhead Parking: Cascades Day Use Parking Area, route 623 in Pembroke VA; $3 parking fee required
  • Website: AllTrails and US Forest Service
  • Beer Pairings: Eastern Divide Brewing Co.—Czech Pilsner & Cliffhanger Session IPA

The Hike:

This is a very popular hike. On summer weekends, the large parking area is often full before noon. This isn’t a hike for those looking for solitude. However, if you are looking for great waterfall views, a swimming hole, and a great creek-side hike, this one is for you. 

Restrooms and a trail kiosk are located in the parking area. The trail to the falls is a loop with an upper and lower trail. The upper trail is more highly traveled with only a few creek views. The lower trail passes beside Little Stony Creek the entire way. The loop for both trails begins at the parking area.

At the kiosk, follow the gravel path into the forest. The creek is on the right and in .2 miles reach a junction where the upper and lower trails separate. We like to bear right on the footbridge over the creek to the lower trail. The creek views are too good to miss.

Follow the unmarked trail as it traverses through the forest. Rhododendron line the trail and peak season for blooms in usually mid to late June. In mid-July we saw the last of the blooms. The trail passes beside the creek with a gradual accent of 700’ over two miles.

The trail is not marked, but the path is obvious and signs point the way at junctions. At 1.1 miles a footbridge crosses the creek. Bear right after the bridge and the creek will now be on your right. At 2 miles reach the 60′ Cascade Falls and swimming hole. This can be a very crowded spot on hot summer days. 

Take in the views at the falls and take a plunge into the cold water. To continue the loop, climb the wood stairs on the left of the falls to the viewing platform and then stay left as the trail climbs out of the gorge. At 2.2 miles reach a trail junction; stay left on the upper trail to return to the parking area.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing: 

Eastern Divide Brewing Co. is located about 30 minutes from the trailhead. Eastern Divide offers a variety of craft beers brewed onsite in their 10-barrel system and many ingredients are sourced locally. In addition to great beers, they also serve wine and cocktails and have indoor and outdoor seating. The onsite kitchen has salads, burgers, and sandwiches.

Cliffhanger (5.0 ABV & 43 IBUs) is a session IPA brewed with Citra, Cascade, and CTZ hops. The burst of pine and citrus scream out “west coast IPA” and the 5% ABV whisper “have two”. Pete really liked Eastern Divide (5.2ABV & 32 IBUs) , a Czech Pilsner brewed with CZ Saaz hops and a Pilsner malt. The result: a malty, herbal, and floral pilsner and at just 5.2% ABV, it’s practically a session beer.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.