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Ramsay Cascades continued

After leaving the traffic circle, the trail begins its climb towards the falls. At this point, the road turns into a bona-fide trail. This section of the trail is very steep for the next 2.5 miles. The trail enters a tunnel of rhododendron that is beautiful around mid-June, when the blooms appear. 

The further up the trail you climb, the more old-growth trees appear at trailside. The early settlers here practiced selective cutting of the hardwood trees. As the trail climbs, more trees come into view. This is because the pioneers rarely climbed this far to cut trees. On the upper part of the trail, virgin forest remains, because the logging companies also never made it this far. The roots from these trees cross the trail making the climb more challenging. Younger trees grow from some of the fallen giants, their roots use the old trunks as a home. 

Ramsay Cascades trail crosses the Ramsay Prong over several well-maintained bridges. After the longest 2.5 miles you have ever hiked, the Cascades come into view. Unless you hike here after snowfall, you can expect other hikers to be present also. In the summer, this area is extremely crowded. No matter, the hike to the falls is worth it. The falls tumble over rock ledges for over 90 feet to fill the pool below, representing the highest waterfall that can be reached by trail in the Park. There is an old trail on the other side of the pool. This used to lead to a rock ledge high above the falls. Great views were had here, however, too many have been injured, some fatally, from slipping while climbing the falls. The Park Service had to close this trail for safety reasons. We do not recommend that you climb the falls. 

Many bushwhackers have blazed faint trails that lead all the way to the summit of Mt. Guyot, around another 2,000 ft. gain in elevation from this point. We do not recommend that hikers attempt any of these trails either. For those wanting to see the views from the Mt. Guyot area, use the AT to safely reach this destination. The cool mist of the waterfall and the hike through the virgin forest is enough to satisfy most hikers. 



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