On Saturday morning Bill and I slept in a little bit compared to when we usually get up to run.  We skipped our run and drove to Giles County, which is not too far from Virginia Tech, and set out for a hike.  Neither of us had been to Cascades Falls since our college days.  We thought a nice little four-mile round trip hike would be a great way to loosen up our legs the day before the Hokie Half Marathon.

Cascade Falls (or the Cascades as we always called it) is a beautiful waterfall where Little Stony Creek falls 69 feet over a cliff face and boulders into a pool below.  It’s a favorite place for outdoorsy Virginia Tech students to hike.  During our hike we promised our legs that we would take them back and let them run the trail someday.

We started our hike and I immediately found a new best friend.  McIntosh was enjoying a shorter hike and stopped to say hi …

CascadesFallsDebMcIntoshBill had his camera and lenses with him in his backpack, and even with his additional load, I was always scrambling to catch up with him.  If you get tired of my ramblings, be sure to scroll to the end of this post to see his beautiful picture of the Cascades, before you leave.  Trust me, it’s worth it!

CascadesFallsBillHiking

The trail surface changed a lot over the course of the hike.  It was mostly a dirt trail, but here large stones were set in concrete which I found very unusual for a remote trail.

CascadesFallsLowerTrailStonePath

We hiked along Little Stony Creek as we made our way to the Cascades.  The water flow varied from slow moving pools…

CascadesFallsBoldersPool

To faster moving water tumbling over small rocks…

CascadesFallsSmallBolders

To larger volumes of water moving rapidly across larger boulders…

CascadesFallsStonePathSteam

As we hiked along, this first red maple leaf of the season caught my eye.  As much as I love fall, I’m not sure if I’m ready for it!

CascadesFallsRedMapleLeaf

It was a beautiful sunny cool fall day, perfect for hiking; even if the sun did play games with our pictures!

CascadesFallsSunStream

We had a final climb up some stone steps…

CascadesFallsSteps

And then the Cascades came into view in the distance!

BillApproachingCascadesFalls

Once we got there, we made sure to ask someone to take the obligatory touristy picture of us!

CascadesBillDeb

And while Bill set up to take his pictures, I hiked farther up to a platform beside the falls…

CascadesFallsFromUpperPlatform

And hung out with this beauty…

CascadesFallsButterfly

And this beauty (I’m sure Mrs. Fly thinks he’s quite handsome)…

CascadesFallsFly

 

While I was taking pictures of flies and butterflies, Bill took this beautiful picture…

CascadesPort_9933x

Photo courtesy of Bill

By the time we were ready to hike back to our car, lots of students were starting to arrive.  I don’t mean to judge, but shouldn’t they have been going to a sports bar to watch the VT football game instead?  😉

CascadesFallsStudentsPlaying

We learned that tradition has it that you hike up on the lower trail and out on the upper trail.  Thanks goodness dumb luck was on our side and that’s exactly what we did.  The upper trail terrain was much easier to  walk on than the lower trail.

CascadesFallsUpperTrail

The up and back hike is about four miles and the chart below shows the elevation change during the hike.  Please ignore the miles after about four miles because I forgot to turn my iPhone app off, and it stayed on as we drove away!  🙂

CascadesFallsElevationMap

Now that you’ve seen the trail through the lens of my camera, enjoy the calming sounds of nature and running water in this video of Cascade Falls…

  • Questions:
  • What’s your favorite way to spend Saturday morning?  Sleeping in, running, hiking, going to the gym, shopping?
  • Where’s your favorite place to hike?
  • Hokie friends, who has hiked to the Cascades before?
Happy Running! ~ Deb