Cascade Falls & Trestle – Christina Lake

Cascade Falls & Trestle – Christina Lake

Cascade Falls is located in the incredible Cascade Gorge close to Christina Lake in BC’s Boundary Country. You can reach the waterfall from a couple of different trailheads and there are several trails that allow you to get close and look into the fabulous gorge that has been carved by the Kettle River. I loved this one for the rugged views, the rainbow-inducing falls and the perfect swimming spots.

Cascade Falls & Trestle map

We started at a pull in off Highway 3 (The Crowsnest Highway) so took a slightly different route. You can see our route here.

Cascade Falls & Trestle – the basics

Distance: 4.2km (for our route)
Elevation Gain:
Time: 1 hour
What to bring: Grippy shoes as it can be dusty and slippery. Plus 10 essentials
Facilities: There was a loo at the trailhead
Dogs: Dog friendly. Keep dogs leashed if they like to get close to the edge of cliffs.
How hard is it? Not hard at all, but not suitable for young children near the cliffs.

Cascade Falls & Trestle – Getting started

On Highway 3, watch out for a blue sign that says “Christina Lake Tourist info.” You’ll see a pull-in and a turn-off with an unpaved road to the Cascade Trestle Parking lot. The trail joins the Columbia and Western Rail Trail, which is part of the massive Trans Canada Trail.

Cascade Trestle Bridge

The Cascade Trestle bridge was built around 1900 as part of the Canadian Pacific Railway line accross Canada. It’s pretty impressive when you consider it is 23m above the churning Kettle River, with rapids nearby. The railway was used by the Columbia & Western Railway (which joined the Kettle Valley Railway) for almost a century until the final train in 1991.

There are incredible views from the trestle down to the Kettle River. While we visited there were quite a few people swimming in the river and jumping from the edges of the gorge into those rapids.

The railbed has been made into the Columbia & Western rail trail, a flat-ish, 162 km-long route from Castlegar to Midway. From the trestle, follow this trail for about 300m, then turn off the trail and cross a concrete bulkhead to reach the Cascade Gorge.

Cascade Falls

To reach views of the fabulous Cascade Falls (as mentioned above) you need to turn off the main trail. There are multiple places where you can peek down into the gorge. The best two are the second and third mini-trails after the trestle. Once you reach the gorge, you can wander along the top of the cliffs (carefully!)

Cascade Falls was really fun to visit in the summertime. The spray paints rainbows around the waterfall and you can really see by how the river has carved the rocks formations.

This is the second viewpoint, looking back to Cascade Falls. Not bad for such a short walk eh!?

We hiked a bit like yo-yos, heading back to the main trail, then to the gorge multiple times for different views of Cascade falls and the surrounding scenery.

The last part of the trail has some well built wooden steps down to the Christina Lake-Laurier Highway. There is a second bridge at the northeast side of the gorge. You can stop there for a  view looking back the way we just came.

This is the view north from the end of the trail to the Kettle River. There is a ghost town (Cascade City) to the right of here. Nowadays there is just a cemetery and scattered ruins where there used to be a thriving mining community.

Heading back

We hiked back along the Columbia & Western rail trail.

Take a dip in the Kettle River

We were pretty hot by the time we made it back to the Cascade Trestle bridge. Luckily there is a trail down to the river. I didn’t fancy swimming near the rapids, but we found a calm area that was perfect to take a dip and cool down.

We really enjoyed visiting this historical area. The Cascade Trestle Bridge and the waterfall were both gorgeous, and it is always interesting to visit previously industrial areas that are have been re-wilded and are now beautiful vacation areas. It is pretty hard to imagine that this used to be on the edge of a city!

17 thoughts on “Cascade Falls & Trestle – Christina Lake

  1. What an unbelievable hiking destination! The rainbows caused by Cascade Falls make it all seem dreamy, thanks for sharing this spot!

    1. It was the perfect way to finish (although we were a little soggy for the next part of our road trip/drive!)

  2. From pictures it’s hard to believe that previously it was all industrial areas. Cascade Falls and the cliffs around look absolutely stunning!

    1. YES! But it was a really hot day, so it felt looovely!
      It wasn’t ice-cold… just normal chilly-river-level of cold.

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