Silver Falls and Golden Cascade

Big Basin Redwoods State Park / Santa Cruz County, California, USA

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 4.5
Golden Cascade

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Silver Falls and Golden Cascade are the series of waterfalls closer to the Sunset Trail section of the grand loop hike involving Berry Creek Falls.

We didn't actually do the entire loop hike (opting to do the out-and-back hike instead to shorten the amount of hiking), but we figured that since we came all the way to Berry Creek Falls, we mind as well extend the hike by another mile or so and check out the series of waterfalls that include both Silver Falls and the Golden Cascade. In fact, there was enough to say about these waterfalls without cluttering the other page so we've devoted this page for them.

Both Silver Falls and Golden Cascade maybe so named because of the color of the underlying rocks over which the water flowed. We didn't quite see neither the silver nor golden colored rocks behind the waterfalls, but then again, we visited under cloudy conditions. Perhaps if sunlight struck these falls, perhaps we would've been able to better understand why the waterfalls were so named.

Anyways, as we were coming from Berry Creek Falls' viewing platform, the trail climbed up onto a ledge as it went past the top of Berry Creek Falls. Then, the trail continued for another mile through seemingly damp and mossy terrain amidst a more tall coastal redwood trees.

Silver Falls as seen through foliage on the trail Eventually, the next waterfall we encountered was the so-called Silver Falls. I thought what made Silver Falls attractive were the fallen logs criss-crossing its base in addition to its vertical drop and colorful underlying rock. The best view was right in front of it, but that required us to leave the trail and cross a shallow stream along with some additional scrambling past some fallen logs. There was a sign discouraging scrambling near the revegetation area so the scrambling that we did to get a better view was from further downstream.

Beyond Silver Falls, the trail ascended steps carved into the rock while on narrow ledge hugging a steep rock face. As we continued to ascend, we found ourselves right next to the top part of Silver Falls. And it was in this section of the trail that we could envision at high flow that the waterfall might actually flow over the wet-and-slippery trail. Moreover, had we come here from the Sunset Trail, this section would've forced a pretty steep and tricky descent.

Once at the top of the rock steps, we were greeted with another small but attractive pair of cascades. I believe this was the lowest section of the Golden Cascade. Continuing the climb up the trail, we stood before a long cascading tier that I'm calling the middle section of the Golden Cascade. This part was probably the tallest section of the Golden Cascade, and like Silver Falls, we imaged that the underlying rock would give off that golden color under the right light.

Beyond this middle section, the trail continued onwards to the upper section. There were two attractive tiers where the larger upper tier even had a bit of a travertine overhang giving this falls some character. It was this falls that seemed to draw the most people as we shared it with several other small groups of hikers who decided to picnic here.

This was the turnaround point of the hike for us, but the trail did continue up more switchbacks before hooking up with the Sunset Trail (to complete the loop) or to the Sunset Campground.

One last thing I want to say about these falls is that I tend to get Silver Falls and Golden Cascade mixed up. The easy way for me to get the nomenclature straight is to associate Silver Falls as the one with the vertical drop and the Golden Cascade as the multi-sectioned watersliding cascades immediately upstream. Also, Golden Cascade feeds Silver Falls (the bottommost field).




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Frontal view of Silver FallsFrontal view of Silver Falls
Part of Golden CascadePart of Golden Cascade
A main feature of the long hike to these falls as well as Berry Creek Falls further downstream was the presence of very tall coastal redwood treesA main feature of the long hike to these falls as well as Berry Creek Falls further downstream was the presence of very tall coastal redwood trees
Going beyond Berry Creek FallsGoing beyond Berry Creek Falls

The trail between Berry Creek Falls and Silver FallsThe trail between Berry Creek Falls and Silver Falls

The trail and Silver FallsThe trail and Silver Falls

Looking down at Silver FallsLooking down at Silver Falls

Approaching the top of Silver Falls via rock stepsApproaching the top of Silver Falls via rock steps

Approaching the top of Silver Falls via rock stepsApproaching the top of Silver Falls via rock steps

The lowest section of Golden CascadeThe lowest section of Golden Cascade

The middle section of Golden Cascade and trailThe middle section of Golden Cascade and trail

Closer look at the middle section of Golden Cascade and trailCloser look at the middle section of Golden Cascade and trail

The Golden Cascade's most interesting tierThe Golden Cascade's most interesting tier

Angled look at the upper section of Golden CascadeAngled look at the upper section of Golden Cascade

We took an inadvertent detour on the way back to the trailheadWe took an inadvertent detour on the way back to the trailhead


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Bottom up sweep from directly in front of the falls


Bottom up sweep along the falls trying to convey the unusual trail that goes right besides the top of the falls


Bottom up sweep of the middle section of the Golden Cascades


Bottom up sweep from right next to the uppermost of the Golden Cascades we saw


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

Since these waterfalls share the same trailhead as that of Berry Creek Falls, see the Berry Creek Falls page for detailed driving directions. Moreover, since Silver Falls and Golden Cascade are actually an extension of the Berry Creek Falls hike, please see that page for the trail descriptions leading up to what's described on this page.

For additional context, San Jose was 56 miles (over an hour drive) south of San Francisco or 341 miles (about 5.5 hours drive) north of Los Angeles.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES





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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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RELATED PAGES



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