Last Updated on September 12, 2022
Last Updated on September 12, 2022
Out of all the gorgeous waterfalls at Hanging Rock State Park in Stokes County, North Carolina, our absolute favorite is, without a doubt, Lower Cascades Falls! This 35-foot waterfall empties into a shallow pool and is quite popular on hot days.
In our opinion, this is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in North Carolina. It can be reached by just a short walk, making it a great start to a day of exploration at Hanging Rock State Park.
We’ve been visiting this waterfall for years and have picked up on a few tips we’d like to share. Here’s how we’ve organized this guide so you can enjoy this beautiful place, too!
- About the Falls
- Lower Cascades Falls Driving Directions (Where to Park)
- When to Visit
- The Lower Cascades Falls Hike
- More Things to Do in Hanging Rock State Park
Read More: 41 North Carolina State Parks Sites and How to Enjoy them All!
About the Falls
Address: 2143 Hall Rd, Westfield, NC 27053
Lower Cascades Falls is formed by Cascade Creek dropping down a 35-foot stone wall. Cascade Creek actually stems off from the lake inside Hanging Rock State Park.
The waterfall flows into a nice-sized pool with plenty of surrounding land to sit and take it all in.
Lower Cascades Falls Driving Directions
Lower Cascades Falls is near the town of Danbury in Stokes County, with the nearest major city being Winston-Salem. It’s also a decent day trip from Greensboro in the Piedmont Triad, Durham and also, Raleigh in the Research Triangle, and even Boone.
Here’s a quick breakdown of driving directions, no matter where you’re leaving from:
- We recommend adding Lower Cascades Falls or its address (2143 Hall Rd, Westfield, NC 27053) to your GPS before driving there, as phone service is spotty in the park and the towns around it.
- If you don’t have service and need to get to Hanging Rock State Park from the trailhead, turn left out of the parking lot onto Hall Road.
- Follow Hall Road until you reach Moores Spring Rd, where you’ll turn right toward the park.
- Taking a left at Moores Spring will take you back toward Danbury and away from the park.
Read More: 20 of the Best North Carolina Road Trips (Scenic Byways and Highways)
When to Visit
The Lower Cascades Trailhead has minimal parking, so we recommend arriving as early as possible. If you arrive before 10 am, you shouldn’t have a problem, but the area gets very busy, especially on weekends and the warmer months.
Park rangers will be enforcing parking, so please park in designated areas only. If you can, try to arrive before 10 am or late in the afternoon. Many times, we’ve started with a visit to Lower Cascades Falls before moving on to hike the Hanging Rock Trail or others around the park.
As far as when to visit for the best photos, the scenery is beautiful from spring through fall. It’s hard to beat the colorful fall foliage, but the greens of spring and summer are exquisite here, too.
Read More: 25 of the Most Amazing Winter Hikes in North Carolina
The Lower Cascades Falls Hike
The Lower Cascades Trail is one of the shortest at Hanging Rock State Park (0.4 miles one-way), another reason it’s among the most popular. The hike begins with a mix of gravel, dirt, and rock before transitioning into a set of stone and wooden steps.
There are about 170 stairs to reach the valley where the waterfall is. Once there, you’ll find plenty of places to sit and enjoy the sights and sounds of gushing water.
The pool itself isn’t dangerous, but we still recommend water shoes or sandals when dipping your feet in the water, allowing some protection from the natural surfaces at the bottom.
Read More: 20+ Kid-Friendly Waterfalls In NC (Easy Hikes And Swimming Holes!)
Leave No Trace and Be Safe
Before visiting Lower Cascades Falls, we want to remind you to keep this waterfall beautiful and leave no trace. Trash does NOT belong anywhere on this trail or any other.
We always urge caution when hiking, but Lower Cascades is one where we will again recommend that you stay on the designated path. That includes avoiding the top of this waterfall. Serious injuries have been reported here.
Ready to See Lower Cascades Falls?
Lower Cascades Falls is always at the top of our list of things to do in Hanging Rock State Park. We make regular trips to this wonderful spot in Stokes County and look forward to our future visits.
If you’ve visited, we’d love to know what you think of this waterfall. Share your experiences in the comments section below or send us an email.
In case you haven’t been yet, let us know how your first trip goes and what you thought of this place! Don’t forget to share your Lower Cascades Falls adventures in our North Carolina Travel Facebook Group!
More Hanging Rock State Park Hikes
In addition to Lower Cascades Falls, there are more waterfalls in Hanging Rock State Park and even more hikes, too! With more than 20 miles to explore, you are sure to find views of amazing peaks and beautiful waterfalls on the trails.
- Cook’s Wall Trail (4.4 Miles Round Trip, White Diamond Blaze): The 4.40-mile Cook’s Wall Trail is less trafficked than the other we have listed, it’s still a spectacular place to catch views of soaring eagles and fall foliage. Plus, you can admire North Carolina’s iconic Pilot Mountain from this peak!
- Hanging Rock Trail (2.6 Miles Round Trip, Orange Circle Blaze): This popular trail is a 2.6-mile roundtrip trek that starts out slow and hilly but ends with a short steep climb to the top for views of the iconic “hanging rock.” If you are brave enough to scale out to the end of the rugged rock, you can snap some spectacular selfies.
- Indian Creek Trail: (7.2 Miles Round Trip, Red Square Blaze): Indian Creek Trail starts at the Visitor Center Access (same as the Hanging Rock Trail). You can also start this one from the Dan River Access, which we prefer because the return trip is more downhill, as opposed to the other entrance. This is a long and strenuous hike, but there are shady areas and a trek along the namesake creek. You can also see two of the park’s five waterfalls: Hidden Falls is 0.4 miles from the parking lot with Window Falls another 0.2 miles away from there, 0.6 miles from your starting point.
- Moore’s Wall Loop Trail (4.7 Mile Loop, Red Circle Blaze): With a 4.70-mile loop that starts at Hanging Rock Lake, this trail is one of the longer and more strenuous in the park. Moore’s Wall is also the highest point in the park at 2,579 feet and features a stone observation tower with 360-degree views. On clear days, some have seen Mount Mitchell and Grandfather Mountain from the tower!
- Riverbluffs Trail (1.3 Mile Loop, Red Hexagon Blaze): This short, fairly easy hike begins at the Dan River Access lot. You’ll walk along the river and on mostly flat land. “Matrimony Point” rocks and locally known “play waves” are a couple of landmarks, including the site of an old home.
- Tory’s Den Trail (4.8 Miles Round Trip, Blue Circle Blaze): Tory’s Den is reachable via Moore’s Wall Trail or Tory’s Den Parking Lot, which gives you a quicker walk to Hanging Rock’s tallest waterfall. Tory’s Falls drops 240 feet and is wonderful to watch when it’s rained recently. The difficult, steep terrain around it makes getting into the water impossible, so for your own safety, please stay on the path.
Read More: Colorful Fall Hikes in North Carolina (+ 20 Beautiful Places to Explore!)
More Things to Do in Hanging Rock
Beyond Lower Cascades Falls, there are plenty of other things to do inside and outside the gates of Hanging Rock State Park. Embark on more hikes, and try mountain biking, climbing, and making a whole weekend of it by camping at the park.