August 2, 2015 - Blacksburg, VA
We had been told that there were some great hiking spots in the area and that we had to start with the Cascades. It was about a 30 minute drive from our place up 460 but super easy to find. We went really early hoping to beat the supposed crowds- apparently people love to swim in the pool at the bottom of the falls.
So 7am and we were on the road for a hike! We were the second people there and after paying the small fee to enter the park we headed off on the lower of the two paths. It was definitely rocky but very pretty as we wound down the river. It was about 2 miles to the falls and of course right as we were getting to them I slipped on a rock and bruised my butt pretty bad. HA. But we made it and boy was it quite the sight!! I took bunches of photos and we stopped for a Lara Bar and to drink some Nuun that we'd packed for the hike. Much needed after that slip!
We had been told that if you take a left at the falls and follow the path up you'll connect to another path that takes you to Barney's Wall. It was supposed to be a really steep climb but worth it for the view. Let me say steep doesn't begin to cut it. For about 3/4 of a mile it felt like we were walking up the side of a mountain. I know I took forever because Jon kept having to stop and wait for me. :/ But eventually the trail evened out when we hit the ridge line. Then we found the small turn off for the wall and headed that way. A little down hill climb and then we reached the spot! Sweeping views of the mountains nearby and valleys below were there to greet us. It was definitely worth the climb! Checking this off the Hokie Bucketlist. :)
Of course it took us no time at all to reach the bottom (downhill being much easier on me than uphill!) and we passed so many people on the Cascades section of the trail. And once we returned to the parking lot?! Holy cow- so many people trying to get in and hang out at the falls. We were so glad we'd gone early and had the rest of our Sunday to relax.
A good first of many hikes in VA!