Left to right: Stream along the Cascades trail, Cascades Waterfall, Gail Rheinheimer on the Cascades Trail.
This old favorite makes a great winter hike, when there's ice along Little Stoney Creek, and especially at the falls, where the spray and splash freezes in white-and-light patterns.
This was a warm day – temps into the low 50s, and the parking lot was close to full when we pulled in at about 1 p.m. And on the way up to the falls, we passed lots of people, not a few of whom had relatively young puppies along, prompting the new-puppy-momma Day Hiker to lament that we'd left four-month-old Cookie behind. Beyond the falls (where it begins to become clear that this is too long a walk for a pup), we were mostly alone, and we had the precipice of Barney's Wall to ourselves for most of lunch, until a pair of young men carrying ropes stopped by. They hadn't been on the main wall, they said, because they didn't have enough rope; but they had scaled a smaller wall back along the mountainside. If there's any hike other than this one that has more of a distinct difference in going up and going down, I sure don't know what it is. It is pretty purely all-down all the way, and the rocky spots and steps and stream-side wet spots of the lower two miles are all avoided as the route back takes the high road – a smooth, pleasant, forest-road-wide pathway where people walk shoulder to shoulder, hand-in-hand, looking down at the stream far below.