The parking lot for Cascade Falls was surrounded by a warm green mugginess after the morning's rain. It was easy enough to find, just off a well-maintained forest service road, mere minutes from Norwich Road. I stepped out and quickly put on a jean jacket and baseball cap in anticipation for the black flies that love this area and weather. A well defined and blazed footpath led away from my car into the deep green woods.
I didn't do much research on this hike beforehand and was surprised to find a fork in the path after a few minutes of walking. A sign for 'Bluff Trail' pointed to the left. Unable to turn around from a promising name like that I headed left. The climb was short and steep and I soon found myself on top of a rocky outcropping with views to the south and west.
The views of the Trap Hills to the west were pretty amazing. I've heard good things about this rocky area of the Ottawa National Forest but was not prepared for the amount of exposed rocky cliffs to the west of this bluff. Southward facing, these bluffs may not offer sweeping views of Lake Superior, but they appeared to be sudden and clear enough for good views of the forest to the south and east. I had not planned on visiting them, but this view of the Trap Hills alone may be enough to warrant a future visit.
I ventured along the bluff for a while, hoping for a eastern view of Norwich Bluff that never fully appeared. Continuing on the trail closed off the loop I had ventured on and I found myself on the same woodland path from the parking lot. The trees and terrain appeared older and more welcoming than the nearby O Kun de Kun Falls, giving me an enjoyable stroll to the growing roar of Cascade Falls.
The trail opened up onto a large rocky outcropping on the northern bank of Cascade Creek. The river first crashes over this main outcropping before stumbling over numerous smaller outcroppings and boulders to make a continous, rapids-like waterfall. The trail continued downstream along the bank, offering some views back at the falls, but was much brushier than the earlier trail. I assume that it's a fisherman's footpath and runs to the Ontonagon River, which is very close to Cascade Falls.
After getting several photos of the area I quickly headed back, harassed by a thick swarm of black flies. I was glad that I finally reached this waterfall, which was unreachable several years ago due to some construction on the service road. With a several-kilometer loop, surprising bluff, and scenic waterfall, Cascade Falls is a great hike with easy trails and amazing views for anyone in the area.