McDonald Falls, British Columbia

McDonald Falls in August 2010

About 2 hours outside of downtown Vancouver, you can find Cascade Falls Regional Park. For mid-August, this park was relatively popular, though it does take some time to get to. The drive is really beautiful, though. If you’re looking for another waterfall that is relatively easy to visit, and yet has far fewer visitors, search for McDonald Falls. It’s only 2 miles or so from Cascade Falls.

After following the directions below, you’ll end up very close to the falls. You will have to hike downhill, and if I recall, there wasn’t an extremely clear, defined path. It was still not that difficult. I think there may have been two separate drops, and one of the drops was partially blocked by trees next to the creek. The other drop was far more visible. The photo next door may look different than what you experience, at least somewhat…I had a 55-200 mm lens that made it far more difficult to photograph the whole falls, and I had no wish to hike back up the hill, get the other lens, and repeat the process over again! It does require some effort!

Directions:

  1. If you’re coming from Transcanadian Highway 1, you’ll want to exit toward Mission onto BC-7.
  2. Drive east of Mission on BC-7 for about 6.5 km to Sylvester Rd.
  3. Turn left on Sylvester Rd. Head 13 km down Sylvester Rd.
  4. After a distance, you’ll see a sign for Cascade Falls. Keep heading down that road a short distance, where Lost Creek Forest Service Road starts. It’s a dirt road, so it’s pretty difficult to miss. McDonald Falls is about 1.3 miles down that road past the bridge over Munro Creek.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: 80′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Where in the World is McDonald Falls?

Cascade Falls, California

Cascade Falls in December 2009

I showed up pretty late at Cascade Falls. The sun wasn’t setting just yet, but inside of the park where the falls are found, it was getting dark. That made it very difficult to photograph this smaller waterfall.

Getting there is a pretty easy ordeal, so that is the one benefit to seeing this falls. I think it could be very pretty when the lighting is right. There were a number of other people photographing the falls, so it actually seems pretty popular.

Directions:

  1. From US-101, exit at CA-1 for Mill Valley/Stinson Beach.
  2. Turn right onto Almonte Boulevard.
  3. Go about 3 miles to Throckmorton Avenue. (I set the GPS to find the intersection between Almonte Blvd and Throckmorton.)
  4. Turn left and drive just over 1 mile to a parking area on the right for Cascade Falls.  Follow the short path to the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 18′
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Cascade Falls?

Cascade Falls, Minnesota

Cascade Falls in May 2010

The first waterfall that you encounter on the Cascade River is logically called Cascade Falls. Further beyond that are The Cascades. This first falls is a rather short distance from the trailhead, and it is definitely worth it to go and visit both “sets” of falls.

Unlike the Cascades, which is a complex set of…cascades, Cascade Falls is an actual plunge waterfall. I visited the falls in mid-May 2010, and the falls were at their prime then, most likely due to recent snow melt. (It had actually snowed just three days before, though that disappeared pretty quickly, and the temperatures returned to a state of relative comfort.) I imagine these falls are probably less impressive in the depths of the summer, but the hike is still enjoyable. The best view of the falls is found on the left side of the river (as you start).

Directions:

  1. The parking area for The Cascades and Cascade River State Park are found off of MN-61 a few miles south of Grand Marais. The parking area is on the left side of the road if you are driving north.
  2. After finding the parking area for the falls, you can head upstream on either side of the river, but I started on the south side. That seems to provide better views of the falls.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 25′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Cascade Falls?

“Hidden” Falls, British Columbia

Hidden.JPG

Hidden Falls in August 2010

While driving to McDonald Falls in British Columbia (which is nearby the more advertised Cascade Falls), I ended up finding a small waterfall that was hidden off of the side of the road.  It’s probably not very obvious unless you’re intentionally looking…and I’m always looking for those smaller waterfalls.

I can’t exactly remember whether the waterfall was off of Sylvester Road or off of Lost Creek Forest Service Road, which branches off of Sylvester Road.  I think it was off the latter, as I remember being able to pull off to the side of the road rather easily.  If you’re headed toward Lost Creek FSR, the waterfall is on  your right.

Directions:

  1. If you’re coming from Transcanadian Highway 1, you’ll want to exit toward Mission onto BC-7.
  2. Drive east of Mission on BC-7 for about 6.5 km to Sylvester Rd.
  3. Turn left on Sylvester Rd. Head 13 km down Sylvester Rd.
  4. After a distance, you’ll see a sign for Cascade Falls.  Keep heading down that road a short distance, where Lost Creek Forest Service Road starts.  It’s a dirt road, so it’s pretty difficult to miss.  McDonald Falls is about 1.3 miles down that road past the bridge over Munro Creek, so if you reach that bridge, you’ve gone too far.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy, if you can find it)
Height: 25′
Length of Hike: not applicable (roadside)

Where in the World is “Hidden” Falls?

Cascade Falls, British Columbia

Cascade Falls (28)

Cascade Falls in August 2010

Cascade Falls is a rather easily accessible waterfall not very far from British Columbia (at least relatively). There are many waterfalls within 100 miles of Vancouver if you head north on BC-99, but there are also waterfalls found if you head east on Transcanadian Highway 1.

The hike to Cascade Falls is very easy, as there is a trail leading to the falls. Once you get there, you might be slightly disappointed. There is a fence blocking further viewing of the falls. This is because the area below the falls seems rather dangerous, especially when people don’t think. I don’t actually mind the fence. I just wish there was a “better” view of the falls. From the viewpoint where the trail ends, there are trees that are blocking getting a good picture. Your best bet would be to walk back along the fencing blocking you and try to find a point where you can get a better view. I had to slip the camera lens through the opening in the fence to get a better view.

Update: Though I haven’t visited, as of 2015, there is now a suspension bridge over the creek that seems to lead to much better views. Check it out!

Directions:

  1. If you’re coming from Transcanadian Highway 1, you’ll want to exit toward Mission onto BC-7.
  2. Drive east of Mission on BC-7 for about 6.5 km to Sylvester Rd.
  3. Turn left on Sylvester Rd. Head 13 km down Sylvester Rd.
  4. You’ll find the road leading to Cascade Falls on your right. Pay attention. There will be a sign, but I can’t remember if it was that obvious.
  5. Head to the end of the road to the parking lot, and then start the short hike to the falls.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 100′
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Cascade Falls?

The Cascades, Minnesota

The Cascades in May 2010

The North Shore of Minnesota has a nice variety of waterfall settings. Some of these waterfalls require longer hikes, whereas others are very accessible. Obviously, those that are more accessible are the most frequently visited. Gooseberry Falls, a very nice set of falls, is probably one of the most popular. The falls on the Split Rock River are probably the least traversed. The falls on the Cascade River fit somewhere in the middle.

The Cascades refers to a group of falls that can be viewed from a specific vantage point along the Cascade River. These falls are upstream from Cascade Falls. At least three falls can be seen from the bridge over the river. The first falls is just thirty or forty feet from the bridge, and is very pretty. The second and third falls are pretty evenly spaced, and are a few hundred feet upstream. It may be rather difficult to get a great view of the second and third falls up close, but I really didn’t explore that very much. I wanted to see The Cascades, but didn’t plan on spending a considerable amount of time there. There were other falls I planned on visiting. There are other falls beginning a mile or so upstream, at least that is what is shown on the map.

Directions:

  1. The parking area for The Cascades and Cascade River State Park are found off of MN-61 a few miles south of Grand Marais. The parking area is on the left side of the road if you are driving north.
  2. After finding the parking area for the falls, you can head upstream on either side of the river, but I started on the south side. That seems to provide better views of the falls.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 15′
Length of Hike: 0.4 miles round-trip

Where in the World is The Cascades?

Cascade Falls, Colorado

Cascade Falls in August 2009

I’ve been visiting various waterfalls in Colorado, and I’ve had mixed feelings about them. Some are beautiful, while others have been disappointing. Cascade Falls was one of the more beautiful ones, so I’ve decided to give it precedence.

Cascade Falls is found on the outskirts of the amazing Rocky Mountain National Park. Cascade Falls can be accessed from the North Inlet Trail right in Grand Lake (the western entrance of the park). The trail to the falls is extremely pleasant, and has only very brief inclines. The total elevation gain is listed as 300′, but it didn’t seem to bad, at least compared to some other falls I’ve visited.

Even so, bring something to drink and wear sunscreen. The trickiest part of the climb is the elevation (at 8000’+). Being from Michigan (at 700′ above sea level), it isn’t too bad, but I can still feel the effects. I think it just has a tendency to wear me out more than usual. The trail to the falls roundtrip is 6.8 miles, which I can handle.

Directions:

  1. You’ll be heading north on US-34 toward Grand Lake.
  2. As you approach Grand Lake, you can head straight and enter the park, or veer to the right and head toward Grand Lake. Head RIGHT.
  3. After a short distance, you’ll come to another choice. My first instinct is to keep going, but instead, take the offshoot to the left, staying on W. Portal Rd.
  4. A little distance after splitting off onto W. Portal Road, pay attention for a sign indicating the trailhead for the East Inlet Trail. It’s very easy to miss the sign, especially if you’re coming from the opposite direction. I’m not even sure there is a sign in the opposite direction.
  5. Turn left onto the road leading to the trailhead.
  6. Turn right into the parking area for the East Inlet Trail. From there, connect onto the trail and start your journey.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 6.8 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Cascade Falls?