You may argue this is not a waterfall, well it is…it’s just a man-made waterfall. Cascade Lake is a hydroelectric facility that has the look of the 1930s. However, when you get to the dam, don’t look for the power station, it is not there. It’s about a half mile downstream.
At the dam, you’ll see what looks like an usual wooden “pipe” leading from the dam. It is round and made of slats surrounded by metal bands. This is the water conduit for the power plant. You can see the conduit as it runs through the woods down to a silo structure which was used to “catch” the water and drop in down to the powerhouse sitting next to the river before being returned to the water flow.
Back to the dam. It is an impressive 110 feet tall, curved with a spillway on the opposite site. Normally, you’ll have water coming through the spillway and some coming over the top of the dam. In heavier water flow, the water overtops the entire dam, making for a nice crescent-shaped water feature.
Although there are warning signs, you can make the short scramble down to the top of the dam and step around onto a large rock sitting above the conduit so you can get a very nice pictures of the water flow. Click here for a video taken from this location.
To get to the dam, take US 276 north from the NC/SC state line for about 1.5 miles and turn right onto Cascade Lake Road at the Cedar Mountain Fire Department. Just past Staton Road, Cascade Lake becomes gravel at 2.4 miles. At 4.4 miles, you’ll pass Merry Falls and you’ll arrive at the dam at 6.8 miles. There is a small pull-off on the left.