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Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls is well-known for its captivating 20-foot horsetail waterfall, which has mesmerized visitors for centuries. Cascade Brook flows year-round over the falls, which are best viewed in the spring and fall.

But the story of Cascade Falls goes beyond its natural wonder. Here's a glimpse into its fascinating history:

In the 1800s the falls were the sight of slate mining operations. In the late 1920s and 1930's the area was a tourist attraction owned by the Cascade Inn. A dam constructed at the top of the falls created a pond that is now the namesake of the "Trout Pond Loop." Besides the pond, the inn had several other attractions for tourists. Remnants of a former bear enclosure, a reminder of past entertainment practices, can still be seen on the Falls View Trail. Also, sometime during the 1920s-30s, Cascade Falls served as a picturesque backdrop for the silent film.

In 1998 the Aube Family, owners of the Cascade Inn and surrounding land, granted permission to Saco Bay Trails for the construction of a recreational hiking trail. Two dedicated Eagle Scouts led the project, contributing valuable labor. This dedication was recognized in 2000 when the White House designated the Cascade Falls Trail as a Community Millennium Trail, a prestigious award displayed at the Aube's restaurant.

In 2005, Chamberlain Homes purchased the Aube's property, and as part of an agreement with Saco City, donated 14 acres around the falls to create a public park. Since then, the park has seen continuous improvements. The Trout Pond Loop was built in 2011, followed in 2014 by the construction of the Ledge Trail by volunteers from the Saco-Biddeford Rotary Club. Finally, in February 2023, a permanent bridge was installed by Saco Parks & Recreation, allowing visitors year-round access to explore the park's full beauty.

Cascade Falls is also the home to a Fairy House Village. Every year, this enchanting park transforms for our Saco Bay Trails Annual Fairy House Building Day. For more information and to plan your visit, head over to our Fairy House Building Day page to learn more and join the fun!

Trail Rules

  • Trails are open from dawn until dusk.

  • Stay on marked trails and respect private property.

  • Follow all posted warnings and signs.

  • Keep your dog leashed and clean up all pet waste.

  • Leave No Trace & pack out all your trash.

  • No alcohol or tobacco.

  • No camping or campfires.

  • No motorized vehicles.


Fairy House Building Rules

  • Only use fallen treasures on the forest floor. This can include twigs, bark, acorns, leaves, pinecones, and stones. The fairies like recycling what nature has already dropped!

  • Please don't pick any moss, ferns, leaves, flowers, or fresh bark from trees. These are homes and food for other forest creatures.

  • Please don't take rocks from the brook.  The fairies ask that you find your building materials on land instead.

  • The fairies ask that you only use natural materials. Avoid using non-natural items and please don't leave any trinkets, plastic, or anything not found in nature.

  • When you're finished building, pack up any leftover materials you brought and take them home with you. The forest should look just as beautiful as when you arrived.

Trail Descriptions

Stay Safe and
Enjoy the View
at Cascade Falls!

For your safety, please stay behind the fences and admire the falls from a distance. Rocks near the falls are wet and slippery.

Climbing or going around the fences is dangerous and there is a high risk of falling!

Crossing the Brook:

In summer or fall, when water levels are low, you may be able to cross the lower brook to reach the other side of the park.

Never attempt to cross the brook when water levels are high!

Let's all work together to keep Cascade Falls a place for fun and beautiful memories!

Trail Map
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Explore the full map!

Click to enlarge or download.

Trout Pond Loop (0.25 miles)

Marked in pink, the Trout Pond Loop is a gentle 0.25-mile loop surfaced with stone dust, perfect for wheelchairs, families, and anyone seeking a leisurely walk.

Starting from the parking lot with the kiosk ahead, turn left to begin the loop (this description follows a clockwise direction). The trail slopes gently through a mixed pine and hardwood forest. After walking about 300 feet, the trail turns left and briefly approaches Cascade Road before curving away from the road. At this point, the Brookside Trail branches off towards the left.

Continuing on the Trout Pond Loop, the trail slopes slightly downhill. Off to your left, you'll see the start of the fairy house village. To find the entrance to the village look for the distinctive waddle arch ( at 0.14 miles) along with signs and rules for building your own fairy house. A short spur trail leads through the arch and connects to the Brookside Trail.

The Trout Pond Loop continues to the right and after another hundred feet, the Falls View Trail departs to the left. After the intersection, the trail ascends a mild slope through a stand of tall red pines and you will hear Cascade Falls off to your left. At approximately 0.22 miles, you'll reach an intersection with the Ledge Trail. The Trout Pond Loop continues right and returns you to the kiosk and parking area.

Estimated walking time: 10 minutes

Brookside Trail (0.16 miles)

Departing from the Trout Pond Loop: Marked by yellow blazes, the Brookside Trail descends towards the edge of Cascade Brook. This trail navigates over some roots and uneven terrain as it follows the edge of Cascade Brook. After about 400 feet (0.07 miles), a short spur trail from the right leads to the entrance of the fairy house village. The Brookside Trail continues straight, then turns right to follow the brook again until it meets the Falls View Trail just before the bridge.

Estimated walking time: 5 minutes.

Ledge Trail (0.11 miles)

The ledge trail blazed in green, proceeds down the south side of the falls to the lower falls viewing. Starting from the kiosk, follow the Trout Pond Loop right until you reach a large clearing where the Trout Pond Loop turns left. The Ledge Trail continues straight ahead, followed by a sharp right turn at the far end of the clearing. From this turn, you'll see the fencing along the south side of the Upper Falls viewing area. This area is surrounded by safety fencing for your protection.  Please enjoy the view from a safe distance and do not climb or bypass the fences.

The Ledge Trail quickly descends from the clearing to the base of the falls, dropping roughly 25ft in elevation over the short 0.1-mile distance. Once you reach the bottom, you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the falls.

Estimated walking time: 5-10 minutes.

Falls View Trail (0.16 miles)

Marked in blue, the Falls View Trail departs from the Trout Pond Loop, about 0.06 miles from its intersection with the Ledge Trail, and heads towards Cascade Brook. After a short distance (approximately 0.03 miles), you'll cross a large bridge over the brook.
Once across, the trail turns right and follows the brook's edge.  At about 0.05 miles, you'll reach the north side of the U
pper Falls Viewing area.  This area is surrounded by safety fencing for your protection.  Please enjoy the view from a safe distance and do not climb or bypass the fences.
The trail then curves away from the falls and you'll see the old slate quarry on your right, beyond the fence.  The trail continues, passing over the remnants of the old dam that once created the trout pond.
At roughly 0.08 miles, the trail turns right and descends a gentle slope.  You'll pass the old Bear Cage at about 0.1 miles before entering a wooded area.
The trail continues its descent, leading to the Lower Falls viewing area at approximately 0.14 miles.  This is a great spot to explore, offering views of the scenic lower section of Cascade Brook.  You'll notice a significant amount of slate here, with the site of an old 19th-century slate quarry visible just to the right of the falls.
An interesting fac
t: This area even masqueraded as the Alaskan Yukon in a silent movie back in the 1930s!

Estimated walking time: 10 minutes.

Trailhead Information

From downtown Saco, take US Route 1 north to Cascade Road (ME Route 98). Take a right onto Cascade Road; go about 0.25 mile and turn left into the parking lot. There is a dirt parking lot that can accommodate several cars.

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