The Cascades on the Blue Ridge Parkway

We spent another nice afternoon on the Blue Ridge Parkway hiking to “The Cascades”, as Cascade Falls on Falls Creek is often called. Located in E. B. Jeffress Park on the Parkway, the trail to the falls starts from the parking lot at the Cascades Overlook at Milepost 271.9 . It’s a 1/2 mile walk to the falls, mostly downhill, and you can return the same way or continue another 1/2 mile around the loop.

8-26-16 A

As always, I enjoy the walk through the woods as much as the destination. I call this toadstool the Pizza Mushroom as the cap reminds me of a pizza pie just out of the oven.

8-26-16 B

After going down a series of steps, you cross a bridge over Falls Creek, then descend 2 more sets of steeper steps to two great overlooks of the Cascades. The falls begin with a small free-fall before cascading and sliding down the undulations of the rock face. The water ends up in the W. Kerr Scott Reservoir and the Yadkin River. Like many other falls in the north Carolina Mountains, the falls are high, but limited in water.  This is the Cascade at the first overlook.

8-26-16 C

This plant I spotted at stream side is Lesser (common) Burdock. Although I thought it was pretty, I discovered during my quest to identify it, that it is actually considered an invasive species.

(an invasive species)

The Cascade from the lower overlook. The rocks here had lovely colorations.

8-26-16 E

Another attractive plant along the stream was this Lyall’s Angelica , an anise scented plant of the herb family.  We chose to return to the parking lot by retracing our steps as the second half of the loop trail looked much less developed. It was a pleasant walk with one or two benches along the way although it was pretty much all downhill. Which meant the the return trip was all uphill! There had at one time been small identifying plaques along the path for various plants and trees. But we found them pretty much unreadable from weathering with age. Things like this aren’t being kept up because of budget cuts for the park service. This would be a good place for volunteers to step up and help out.

Lyall's angelica plant

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