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Estimated walking time: 15 minutes for the Trout Pond Loop; up to an hour for all trails
Directions to trailhead: from downtown Saco, take Route 1 north to Cascade Road (Route 98). Take a right onto Cascade Road; go about 1/4 mile and turn left into the parking lot.
This historic area has been popular since the late 1800's for picnicking, fishing, hiking and viewing the falls. When the area containing the falls was sold by the Aube family, who owned and operated the Cascade Restaurant and Cabins, to Elliot Chamberlain in 2005, Mr. Chamberlain generously donated 14 acres of land surrounding the falls to the City of Saco along with funds for improvements to the site.
The first new trail on the site is the Trout Pond Loop, which is a gently sloping trail (about .25 mile) surfaced with stone dust that allows easy access for wheelchairs, elderly and children. As you leave the parking lot, you'll see the start of the trail just to the right of the kiosk. You will quickly come to a point where you'll need to turn left or right. This description assumes the left turn. The trail slopes gently through a mixed pine and hardwood forest and turns to the right along the Cascade Brook. In the warmer months, you can find a variety of forest wildflowers, mosses and ferns along the sides. Eventually, the trail turns away from the brook and follows a rise to an open area.
From here you can follow the trail back to the trailhead or turn to the left where there is a steep trail to the base of the falls. This is marked with a TO THE FALLS sign. The trail to the base is unimproved and quite steep so take care. When you reach the bottom, you'll be rewarded with a spectacular view of the falls. If you visit in the summer or fall, you can easily cross the brook to the other side. You'll notice the large amount of slate here which at one time was mined. This area masqueraded as the Alaskan Yukon to film an old silent movie back in the 1930's.
Once on the other side, you'll find a trail that leads up to the top of the falls. Along the way you'll see a nice bank on the left filled with Lady Slippers (in June) and an old cage which during the 1950's featured a bear for the amusement of tourists. Continuing up, you can turn to the left and follow the trail across an old dam that was built many years ago to create the Trout Pond. If you continue on this trail through the pines you will find yourself standing at the top of the falls.
Saco Bay Trails and the City of Saco are currently working on plans to build a bridge across the brook at a point before the falls which would provide easier access to the top of the falls viewing area as well as installing additional signage that relates the history of the falls to visitors and improving the trail to the base of the falls.
Because of the location and popularity of this site, trash and vandalism are constant problems. Please make sure to "leave no trace". If you do see vandalism or excessive trash, please visit our website at www. sacobaytrails.org and click on Trail Condition Report to notify us.
We thank Mr. Elliot Chamberlain for his donation of land and funds, the State of Maine for providing a Recreation Trails grant to build the Trout Pond Loop, Saco Biddeford Savings for their continued sponsorship of this trail and the many dedicated volunteers who have made this area a natural gem
In the image below, you can see the plan that has been approved by the city.