I've been scoping out Cascade Falls for some time now so I was beyond excited. Located in Pembroke Virginia, The Jefferson National Forest is host to Cascade Falls. The Cascades Day Use Area is for day use only (hello it's in the title), does have a $3 fee and gets really busy as the day goes on. We got to the parking area before 10 in the morning and there were only 10-15 other cars. By the time we left the lot was full and people were parking in the grass and along the road.
The trail to the actual waterfall is 2 miles in and then 2 miles back. You can either do it as a circuit or in and out the same way. There was some climbing involved on stone stairs and over logs but nothing that a 6 year old couldn't handle. We would rate it as easy/moderate.
Both Mark and I agreed that this was one of our favorite hikes. On other trails that involve streams and waterfalls there is usually either a barrier or distance that keeps you away from the stream. I understand that is for safety. But sometimes you just want to take a break from hiking and sit by the stream and enjoy the gift of Mother Nature. This trail really lets you feel like you could do that. There were a lot of places you could simply go sit by the stream and hang out for a little while. You felt like you could get up close and personal while still being safe. There was not an area that we didn't find beautiful and awe inspiring.
Some info that you may find helpful...bring exact change for the parking, dogs are allowed on the trail, the bathrooms are only at the parking area and there are picnic tables/grills at the bottom of the trail near the parking. You can't camp here at the Day Use Area but there are plenty of other areas close by that do accommodate camping.