Cascade Falls to Barney’s Wall

  • Highlights: Waterfalls, Little Stony Creek Gorge, Barney’s Wall Cliff Views
  • Distance: 8.8 miles loop
  • Elevation Change: 1,650 feet
  • Trail Surface: Rocky
  • Difficulty Level: Strenuous (rocky surface, elevation gain)
  • Trailhead Parking: Cascades Day Use Parking Area, route 623 in Pembroke VA; $3 parking fee required
  • Website: AllTrails and Hiking Upward
  • Beer Pairings: Moon Hollow Brewing Co.—Lunatic IPA & Hyperion Helles

The Hike:

This hike is an extends the popular Cascade Falls Loop hike. Cascade Falls is a very popular hike. On summer weekends, the large parking area is often full before noon. Most hikers don’t venture past the falls so the views from Barney’s Wall are often a place of solitude.

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.

Hike to the Falls:

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 falls and swimming hole. This can be a very crowded spot on hot summer days. 

Hike to Barney’s Wall:

Take in the views at the falls and take a plunge into the cold water. To continue to Barney’s Wall, 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 and bear right on the Conservancy Trail.

This section of the Conservancy Trail is a fire road which passes through several sections of rhododendron. At 3.2 miles, turn right on an unmarked spur trail. This short trail leads to some creek views near the top of the falls. Return to the fire road, turn right, and in 100 yards, reach a junction. The Conservancy Trail leads left here following signs for Barney’s Wall.

This section of the trail is yellow-blazed and climbs through sections of rhododendron and forest. At 4 miles, reach a marked junction. Turn left here on a yellow-blazed spur trail following signs for Barney’s Wall. The trail passes through a section of Hemlock trees—a rare sight in Virginia. The 700’ sheer cliffs of Barney’s Wall offer great views of the New River Valley. 

Retrace your steps, turning right on the Conservancy Trail, and right on the fire road. Follow the upper trail back to the parking area.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing: 

Moon Hollow Brewing Co. in Blacksburg is located about 30 minutes from the trailhead. The brewery is located in the Old Prices Fork School and is named for the small plot of land behind the brewery. The 5 Barrel brewing system produces some great beer. They have indoor and outdoor seating, food trucks visit most weekends, and live music on Fridays. El Ranchero Mexican Grill is located next door with a variety of take out options.

Kathy enjoyed a cold Lunatic IPA (7.5% ABV & 67 IBUs). Brewed with Citra and Galaxy hops, this IPA is juicy with notes of floral, citrus, and tropical fruit. It’s not as bitter as other IPAs which is either good or bad depending on your perspective. We prefer bitter IPAs. Hyperion Helles (5.0% ABV & 16 IBUs) is a German style lager brewed with a Pilsner malt. This lager is crisp and refreshing, perfect for a post-hike beer on a hot day.

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