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Falling Waters Trail at Cascades Preserve

Trail of the Month

Falling Waters Trail is a family friendly and unique trail that should be next on your list. People don’t usually expect to find a trail like this just outside Oak Ridge and Kernersville, but this region is packed full of little known beauties.  With low elevation gain, 2 miles of trail, and plenty of scenic spots to stop and relax, this hike is the perfect trail to hit refresh.

Parking is available across the street from the start of the trail. Cross carefully as there is not yet a pedestrian crosswalk here on Goodwill Church Road. The trail begins with a gently sloping descent through a young forest.

After about half a mile you’ll pass over the first bridge across a small creek. Just a bit further the loop begins. Here the forest gets older. You’ll meet a few massive Beech and Oak trees and patches of bright green ferns. 

Turning right first will take you to the main cascade the quickest, a left turn will save it for the end. Either direction takes you up over a small hill. On this ridge the trail gets softer beneath your feet as you walk onto the needles of the Pine section of the forest. 

On the way back down you’ll reach the meandering creek. From either direction a trail splits off crossing the stream- this is Keyauwee Loop, named for the Native American peoples who originally inhabited this land. This trail takes you up higher on the ridge. For a closer view of the creek stay on Falling Waters Trail. Both trails are worth the hike so we recommend doing the loops in a figure 8 fashion- that way you don’t miss anything and get to see the cascades twice. This option only adds 0.26 miles more. See the map.

Falling Waters Trail is also part of the Mountains to Sea Trail as it works it’s way from the Hanging Rock State Park area through Oak Ridge to the watershed lakes of North Greensboro. Along the loop  you’ll come across a spur that leads to Haw River Road specifically built for the Mountains to Sea thru-hikers. To avoid taking this trail, stay on the paths blazed with a white diamond. 

Falling Waters Trail opened in May of 2016. The trail was built by a Scout Troop and by volunteers associated with the Oak Ridge Mountains to Sea Trail Committee, a group working hard to move the MST off of roads and onto trails and sidewalks in the boundaries of Oak Ridge NC. Give them a thanks as you walk the trail.