The Cascades, California

The Cascades in May 2011

Yosemite National Park has so many amazing waterfalls, that not all of them are strongly advertised. You might be able to find a few of them on a map, and The Cascades might be on one of them, but I can’t find it on a map now! With Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Falls, and many others, it’s easy to forget the other amazing waterfalls!

I think you’ve officially entered the park by the time you see The Cascades, but I don’t believe you’ve entered the main loop. And that may be why it can be easy to miss. You may not see The Cascades depending on the direction you’ve come. I had tried to enter via CA-120 (headed south), but discovered that there was still snow falling in May. So I turned around, and connected onto CA-140, which heads into the park, and is open more. From 140, it’s almost impossible to miss The Cascades, unless you’re overwhelmed by some other breathtaking view. Still, it’s pretty hard to miss.

The total waterfall is 500′ tall (approximately), though I’m not sure about the height of the portion that is most visible. I have seen other pictures of the whole falls, but to me, it actually seems less impressive in the whole. Focusing just on the last drop, it seems to be very similar to the lower portion of Yosemite Falls. In May 2011, the flow over the falls was intense, which made stopping worthwhile.  Another waterfall, Wildcat Falls, is very close by.

Directions:

  1. Head east along CA-140, entering into Yosemite National Park. You will have passed the pay station already.
  2. A little less than 2 miles from the CA-140/CA-120 junction, you’ll find the parking pull-off for the falls. I didn’t have any difficulty finding a spot. (Use the junction as a guide. If you’ve passed the junction and you’re headed further into the park, you can turn around to find the falls. You could just try and see the falls on the way out, unless you’re taking a different route.)

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 500′ (that can be viewed)
Length of Hike: roadside

Where in the World is The Cascades?

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Wildcat Falls, California

Wildcat Falls in May 2011

One of the first waterfalls you are able to stop and visit in Yosemite National Park (at least easily) as you enter on CA-140 is Wildcat Falls. You cannot actually see the portion of the falls in the picture here, but instead the upper portion. It is possible to photograph the upper portion, but not together with the lower portion. The upper portion is further away, so I haven’t included it here. The lower portion has a little bit more character. As usual, I assume this waterfall might just disappear later in the summer.

Directions:

  1. Enter the park on CA-140 heading east. Pay the entrance fee.
  2. After driving a short ways into the park, you should see Wildcat Falls on your left. It drops from a cliff. There is a pullout on your left, and a very short trail leads to the lower portion of the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 49′ (that can be viewed easily)
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Wildcat Falls?

Lower Wildcat Branch Falls, South Carolina

Lower Wildcat Branch Falls was the first waterfall that I saw on my trip to see waterfalls in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. While it is a smaller waterfall, and leads to the taller Upper Wildcat Falls, it is still pretty nonetheless. One of it’s major benefits is that it’s a roadside waterfall, and is amazingly easy to view.

I was trying to find the best viewpoint to take a photograph of the falls, and I definitely had a lot of fun jumping around in the creek. The creek is not very deep, and you can easily walk across parts of the creek to get better views.

Directions:

  1. There are multiple ways to reach the two falls. The easiest way is to find where US-276 and SC-11 split in northern South Carolina. The parking area for the falls will be about 1/2 a mile east of that split.
  2. You should be able to see Lower Wildcat Branch Falls from the road. The parking area for the falls is right there.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: Roadside

wildcat lower

Lower Wildcat Branch Falls in March 2009

Where in the World is Lower Wildcat Branch Falls?

Upper Wildcat Branch Falls, South Carolina

I mentioned in the last post that some waterfall pictures end up looking better than you remember in person. On the other hand, some pictures just can’t convey the view. And with Upper Wildcat Branch Falls, the view is very odd. The picture just doesn’t really show it.

I don’t even know how to describe Upper Wildcat Branch Falls. It’s taller than you would think. It’s not hard to get to at all, but once you get there, you’ll be surprised there’s even a waterfall there. I guess just and check it out for yourself.

A note: Please observe any signs that indicate the end of the trail. The trail to Upper Wildcat Branch Falls ends further away from the falls. You can still see the falls from afar.

Directions:

  1. There are multiple ways to reach the two falls. The easiest way is to find where US-276 and SC-11 split in northern South Carolina. The parking area for the falls will be about 1/2 a mile east of that split.
  2. You should be able to see Lower Wildcat Branch Falls from the road. The parking area for the falls is right there.
  3. On the left of Lower Wildcat Branch Falls, you’ll notice a trail that leads to Upper Wildcat Branch Falls.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 100′
Length of Hike: 0.8 miles round-trip

upper wildcat.JPG

Upper Wildcat Branch Falls in March 2009

Where in the World is Upper Wildcat Branch Falls?