Cascades National Recreation Trail to Barney's Wall is a 12.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Pembroke, VA that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
The Cascades National Recreation Trail is a highly scenic, easy to moderate 4 or 5 mile out and back round-trip trail features a shaded mountain creek to a 66-foot waterfall within Jefferson National Forest. Cascades National Recreation Trail is a highly scenic, easy to moderate 4 or 5 mile out and back round-trip trail featuring a shaded mountain creek to primarily a cascading waterfall within Jefferson National Forest. Near Pembroke in Southwest VA, the hike up the lower trail travels 2 miles along Little Stony Creek before reaching the 66 lower falls and in another half-mile the Upper Cascades. Travel uphill another 2 miles and reach a view of the New River Valley from 700 cliffs at Barneys Wall (8 mile RT and 1600 elevation gain). The trail begins to the right of the bathroom and Information Center at the far end of the Cascades parking lot. Go across the first bridge and take the lower trail as it is the more scenic route. If you want, you can return on the upper trail to get a different view of the creek. The lower trail travels alongside the creek for a mile before reaching the second bridge and rejoining the upper trail. From the 2nd bridge to the lower falls is another mile. The lower falls is a turn-around point or you can continue to the Upper Cascades and/or Barneys Wall. To continue to the Upper Cascades and Barneys Wall, head up the wooden stairs to the left opposite the falls observation deck. In about 200 yards reach an open area with a sign post showing the Conservancy Trail, a 0.4 mile fire road. At the fork in the road bear left and take another left in about 50 yards at the Conservancy Trail sign post. This trail is Yellow-blazed and crosses a small creek and reaches the Barneys Wall intersection on the left in 1.1 miles. The trail to Barneys Wall is also yellow-blazed and passes through a few stands of Hemlocks, and just before the cliffs take the trail past the campsite to the right. Barneys Wall features a view of the New River Valley looking towards Blacksburg. If you take the right at the fork exactly one half mile above the lower falls there is an unmarked but well established path that leads downhill to the Upper Cascades located about a tenth of a mile down the hill.
This is an excellent hike and was a great experience. The only real negative was the woman working the parking lot as we entered. We arrived for an afternoon hike. She approached us, started telling us all about her life, where she worked, that she has C.O.P.D because of where she worked.......on and on and on and on. Then she proceeded to tell us that dawn was at 7:15 and that we better have ourselves out of there by then. I said "we'll do out best" and she said "no, you will, our your car will be towed". Following that statement she began explaining how what she said wasn't a threat. For the love of god, can you please just not give the speech to people in their mid 40s that you do to college kids? What a downer she is for that place. Prepare for her if you are headed there.
The first two miles are extremely scenic, very well kept and end with the Cascade, which is so beautiful. If you are going on the next two miles to Barney's Wall, know that it's a different hike. The entire parking lot was full today and we were the only ones that went to the Wall, which we loved. Not sure about the categorization of "beginner" for the second 2 miles. There's a stretch for about 3/4 of a mile where it's straight up hill and pretty brutal. Pretty brutal if you're pushing yourselves like we like to do.
We made the 4.25 hike up to the wall in an hour and 45 minutes. When you get there, it's like the heavens open up and a choir starts singing. It's more of an OH MY GOD moment than we even had at McAfee's Knob. It's completely and totally stunning.
Opposed to the Knob hike, this trip back down is almost completely downhill. We finished it in an hour and 25 minutes.
We spent nearly an hour at the Wall. At McAfee's Knob your photo opportunities are easy and endless. I recommend going there if that's what you're going for. In my opinion, you need to put yourself in pretty serious danger to get the best photo op at Barney's. Just a warning.
4 stars with 1 star removed for the woman at the gate.
Amazing adventure! I've hiked to the cascades numerous time but have never been to Barneys Wall! All I can say the WOW! Amazing views and super relaxing journey. The hike up is difficult but completely worth it and totally doable at your own pace! Barneys Wall is an absolute must see!
This 5 star is for Barney's Wall! I rated the Cascades a 4 because of the insane amount of people but I'm so glad we decided to hike the extra 2 miles beyond the waterfall to Barney's Wall! It was really isolated. We only ran into a couple of groups. It was almost a bit creepy for me as I feared bears but nothing like that happened. The wall was a real treat with an incredible view. Worth the extra 4 miles round trip!
Great trail. I would rate as moderate and not easy. However there are benches several places along the trail to rest. The large waterfall is 2 miles up and took over an hour to reach. Lots of people there especially on the weekends.
There is another smaller waterfall about 3/4 mile farther than first one. This one is not marked on signage and few people go there.
Being able to swim at the top was great after a hot hike!
I really enjoyed walking along the water falls. Excellent place to stop and swim. The top has two breath taking overlooks. One of the best.
Totally worth it! You might have 3 dollars CHANGE to get there.
Nice and easy hike! From the time we left Virginia Tech to the time we got back it only took us 3 hours. I recommend taking the lower trail up so you can see the river in all its glory and taking the upper trail down if you're tired and need a break.
This is an awesome hike! I think the "easy" rating is a little misleading if you aren't in perfect shape. There's lots of climbing! It's well worth it though!
Great waterfall view at the end of the trail, very picturesque throughout. REALLY enjoyed this hike!
Beautiful, well worth seeing.
Great! One of my favorite trails