Litchfield Upper and Lower Cascades Loop Walk
|Where||Upper and Lower Cascades Hike, Litchfield National Park|
|Duration||2 hours (plus swimming time)|
|Grade||4 Moderate – Difficult|
Wow! This hike is really amazing – and an easy choice for our favourite hike in Litchfield National Park.
We parked at the Cascades car park, and despite what we had read, there was plenty of space. I think it helped that we were the first to arrive that morning. There are a couple of picnic tables and toilets just near the carpark.
Much of the Lower Cascades section is closed during the wet season. The path down the river from the Upper to Lower Cascades is also closed until the water drops to a safe level. Fortunately, we were there when the entire walk was open (mid-August).
The first section of this walk follows the river upstream. You will pass through the monsoon forest, where there is plenty of bird-life to hear, even if you can’t see too many birds. (Insect repellent recommended!). The trail is well formed, relatively smooth and flat.
At the T-junction we went right to continue to the Upper Cascades. The next section of the walk heads up the escarpment. It’s more challenging climbing up the loose, rocky path, with uneven steps – some requiring hand-holds. Once atop the escarpment there are a couple of lookouts to view over the forest to the north west. We could see smoke from the remnants of yesterday’s bush fires smouldering on the horizon.
After walking along the top of the escarpment for a while, the trail dropped down to the river, and the upper cascades. This is an absolutely beautiful area, with plenty of small rockpools to jump in and cool off. Which of course, we did!
Swimming holes on the Cascades Hike, Litchfield National Park
After our swim we continued along one of the most beautiful sections of trails we’ve ever walked along. There was no path, we were literally walking down the cascades, jumping over little streams and from one rock to another. The colour of the rocks is a beautiful red. Although the sky was hazy from the smoke, everything we were seeing was amazing.
A short few hundred metres down stream and we came to the Curtain Falls. Although small in height, this is a stunning waterfall, with a rock ledge behind.
I’ve always loved swimming behind waterfalls, and to be able to actually sit on the rock ledge behind this one was a completely amazing experience. (tip: climb up to the left of the waterfall)
Perhaps because we had started the walk so early, there was only one other couple at this rockpool when we arrived, and they were just getting out, so we basically had it to ourselves!
Sitting behind the waterfall, Curtain Falls
After another refreshing swim, we continued walking down the river. We crossed a few bridges which were put in place for those just coming up the Lower Cascades Walk. We did see a couple of families coming up this part of the trail as we were walking back to the carpark.
Despite the bridges, we still did quite a bit of rock-hopping below Curtain Falls. This walk is a Moderate – Difficult grade.
Eventually the path veered away from the river and rejoined the main trail at the intersection where we had gone up the escarpment earlier. We got back to the van after just a short walk.
We really enjoyed this walk, it had a bit of everything, a good heart-starting climb, amazing views, gorgeous rockpools to swim in, and of course, a waterfall.