Water Clarity – 6+
Natural Quality – 8
Difficulty – easy
(GPS; @210 Staton rd, Hendersonville, NC)
Perception – Weekday
Cascade Lake is a little known lake for many flat-water paddlers in the Asheville/Brevard area of Western North Carolina, it is located 14 miles from Hendersonville on the fringe of DuPont Forest. DuPont Forest is a protected setting for a number of activities such as horse-back riding, hiking, and dirt-biking, plus waterfalls more spectacular than that of Hooker’s, the one just above Cascade.
I have paddled this small lake a number of times (@ 2 miles in length), it’s simple and especially nice in the winter for its peaceful setting, water clarity, and of course that convenience of just ‘getting away.’
On this date I put in at Hooker Falls (named after an old Grist Mill Owner rather than a profession), putting-in here requires a flat portage of a little better than 1/4 mile, its a park-use trail with a natural area and the stream flowing alongside. I have heard that for five bucks you can put in at the Cascade Lake Camp Ground but having for me (and my ‘dollie’) the portage here is easier than the complicated drive there (Note; campground closed Nov 2015 after family estate process – check for reopening).
There is a video on You-tube of folks going over the 14′ falls in whitewater kayaks…
About halfway down the lake is the only human habitation on the lake, a campground – the rest of the shoreline is heavily wooded and natural. On many occasions the stealth of paddlin allows one to slip up on wildlife which I like, the “wild-life” surrounding some campsites can be amusing at times also…
A little further down the lake is a restricted area just before the Dam, an early 1940’s effort of hydro-electrical power. There is a dirt road (Cascade Lake Rd.) that skirts the lake -which provides a better view of the falls from the road.
– you may even notice the long forgotten wooden conduit that once carried the water a few miles downstream to the old power plant.
The 3 pictures above are from a previous drive along Cascade lake road, it’s a pretty impressive gorge below the dam.
On the return is a cove with a cement shore line, leading to an even older foundation of some sort – I even spotted the ‘lil Dipper.
Not sure the history of this particular foundation, but it appears to have been another mill (maybe Hooker’s).
There were some foraging deer and in this one marsh area, also a beaver dam with signs of recent activity.
It was a relaxing and peaceful morning paddle, tranquility at an ez pace, that’s the nice thing about Cascade – its a small lake with limited access – few really know about the lake part of it.
But then back at Hooker falls it was a different story, as I rounded the corner I was reminded that it was Friday – and the Falls were alive with people; just folks having fun in the August heat.
So after sitting in the mist of the falls for a bit, I parked the yak and plunged in with them…… it was’fresh!’
Cascade Lake was a simple paddle, not a totally ‘mundane‘ lake – alot of it has to do with Why, you paddle. The entire lake can be seen in three hours or less if time is a factor for you, if not – slow down further and stay the day. Put your ‘feet-up’ and enjoy the setting – anytime of year.