Updated: Aug 26
This hiking area includes a waterfall, easy trails and an old bear cage in the woods. The parking lot is located at 61 Cascade Road in Saco, just off of Route 1. Insider tip: this trail is down the street from Aquabboggan Water Park, so you could tack it on to the end of your wild day of mat slides, the Yankee Ripper and The Taco (they've changed the name, but we'll keep calling it The Taco, forever). You could also stop for an ice cream at The Dairy Corner in Scarborough on your way home. I took my son and his friend to do all of the above last Thursday and although we were dog-tired by the end of the day (before every slide down, one must hike up), we did have a great time. The friend's parents later reported that he'd fallen asleep at 6:30 that night and I definitely took a nap that afternoon. Small price to pay.
Managed by Saco Bay Trails, this historic site has been a popular picnicking, hiking, fishing and waterfall viewing spot since the late 1800's. The Trout Pond Loop, a .25 mile loop surfaced with stone dust, is wheelchair accessible. You will see the start of the trail, just to the right of the kiosk. Take a left to follow the loop clockwise, through the woods and along Cascade Brook. For the trail leading down to the base of the waterfall, head counter-clockwise on the loop, following the pink, then green blazes. The green trail winds down a hill, so would not be as easy for wheelchairs.
There was a large tree down when we came here last week, so you may need to do a bit of climbing over things to get up near the base of the waterfall. There you will find a trail leading up the right side of it. Halfway up, there's an area for taking a dip. If you're brave and like to jump boldly into deep, dark, narrow water holes in rock, there's a thrill for you here. I came here several years ago with my summer camp and two of my campers did this with no hesitation whatsoever. This appeals to me about as much as walking into a dark cave without a headlamp, wearing handcuffs. Do whatever moves you.
You will find our Seek'em hidden to the right of the falls, tucked inside the rock...hopefully. This is a high traffic spot, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if he gets swiped before you reach him. I'm hoping the new QR code on the back of the Seek'em, plus the message "For Seek'em Project, Please Leave Where Found" will reduce the number of missing Seek'ems. Time will tell.
Once you've found him, or have given up the search, you can continue up the right side of the falls until reaching the top. Note, there are some areas of cliff here where young children should be supervised.
You can head back to your car from here, or go look for the old bear cage. To find this, climb back down the waterfall until you see a trail off to your left, leading uphill. Take this trail a short distance until you reach the old cage on the right.
Apparently, in the 1950's, this cage "featured a bear for the amusement of the tourists". I read this same phrase on multiple websites, but it remains unclear what kind of bear we're talking about here. Was it a live bear? Taxidermy bear? Plastic bear? Human dressed in a bear costume? No amount of searching helped me solve the mystery or gave any more specifics about said animal. If you get any intel on this, please do share.
This is a short, easy hike for all ages...great for a hot day. The falls are beautiful and it seems like the perfect time to visit. Enjoy!