This popular trail follows Cascade Creek upstream through cathedral-like timber from the Cascade Creek Cabin to Falls Lake first, then on to the west end of Swan Lake.Length (one way): 4 miles
Rating: First 0.5 mile is Easiest; remainder is More Difficult and Most Difficult
USGS Map: Sumdum A-3 and Petersburg D-3
Access: The Cascade Creek Trail is accessible from three trailheads; by boat or floatplane to the Cascade Creek Cabin trailhead; by boat or floatplane to tidewater trailhead near the mouth of Cascade Creek; and by floatplane to the trailhead at the west end of Swan Lake or skiff from the Swan Lake Cabin. All three trailheads are marked. Cascade Creek and the cabin are about 16 air miles northeast of Petersburg in Thomas Bay.
Description: The trail leaves the Cascade Creek Cabin through spruce and hemlock forest, then follows the shoreline to the tidewater trailhead about 0.25 mile from the cabin. From the beach, the trail follows Cascade Creek for 0.25 mile to the lower falls. This part of the trail is boardwalk and provides excellent views of the lower falls. The trail continues up Cascade Creek from the lower falls, but becomes steeper and more difficult. A bridge spans the creek about 0.25 mile from the lower falls and the trail continues upward along the opposite side of the creek. The trail becomes still more challenging after the bridge as it ascends rapidly and is minimally developed.
About 2.5 miles from the cabin trailhead you will reach a junction in the trail. The spur trail to the right goes to the lower (west) end of Falls Lake. You can row the boat provided to the upper (east) end of the lake where another spur trail leads to the Falls Lake Shelter and back to the Cascade Creek Trail.
From the 2.5-mile junction, the main trail continues around Falls Lake to a high muskeg with spectacular views of Petersburg and Frederick Sound. This section of the trail is minimally developed and very challenging. About 0.5 mile from the first junction is the second Falls Lake junction. The spur to the right leads 0.25 mile to the Falls Lake Shelter, then another 0.25 mile to Falls Lake. The main trail continues to the left of the junction. It crosses a small lake providing views of cliffs and waterfalls, then follows Cascade Creek for 1 mile to the trailhead at Swan Lake.
Attractions: The trail offers beautiful views of the creek as it falls through the canyon. Both Falls Lake and Swan Lake offer excellent rainbow trout fishing. The three-sided Adirondack shelter at Falls Lake is for overnight use for no fee. Contact the Petersburg Ranger District for Cascade Creek and Swan Lake Cabin information and cabin permit applications.
History: In 1933, Harry Colp, Fred Magill, and Fred Porter, long-time residents of Petersburg, traveled up Cascade Creek on a prospecting venture. They followed a trail that led all the way to Falls Lake. Colp later wrote ‘The Strangest Story Ever Told’ about his adventures prospecting in the Thomas Bay area. Throughout the 1940’s and 50’s, the Forest Service intermittently maintained the little used trail. Crews built a skiff at Falls Lake to cross to the falls where the trail continued to Swan Lake. Between 199O and 1993, the Petersburg Ranger District Trail Crew reconstructed the entire trail from the Cascade Creek Cabin to Swan Lake.