Cascade Falls, Portland

Jamaicans are so matter-of-fact when it comes to naming places. Cascade waterfall, also called One Drop Falls, is located in a tiny rural district by the name of– you guessed it– Cascade. What Cascade lacks in breadth it makes up for in height measuring over 100 feet tall! The waterfall is visible from the main road and that seems to be where most people are content with getting their view of this beauty. Of course, that wouldn’t be adequate for an adventurous soul like myself.


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How to Find One Drop Waterfall

The Newcastle Parade Ground with its regiment badges proudly displayed. One has to drive through here to get to Holywell & Portland.
Entrance to Holywell

Surprisingly simple to find, Cascade is just half hour beyond Holywell. Thus, coming from Papine in Saint Andrew, Cascade is an easy day trip of about 90 minutes or three hours round-trip. I always feared the road beyond Holywell would be treacherous given the reputation which rural roads carry, so I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry that I’ve experienced much worse roads in the corporate area. Anyway, an ordinary small car can easily make the trip once you drive carefully around the bends, sound your horn in places where the road gets narrow and of course, gingerly navigate the potholes which aren’t as frequent as you’d expect.

Views of the waterfall from the road:

Park your car near to this bridge wherever the road looks widest so as to not make it dangerous for other motorists, and look out for the start of this narrow steadily uphill trail. The hike from this point was under 10 minutes for four young adults of average fitness level. Nonetheless, I recommend a guide as he (or she) will know the best ways to avoid injury since some of the stones are slippery. After all, you’ll be crossing water. (More on this coming later).


An alternative approach to Cascade Falls is via a one hour hike from Holywell. However, I was told that the way back is much longer since it’s not advised you return the same route due to how steeply downhill it is. Thus, budget at least 3 hours hike-time in total, or arrange for a vehicle to pick you up afterwards.

This beauty is 100% uncommercialized, meaning that you and whoever you bring will likely have it to yourselves for as long as you choose to spend there. The only costs to think about are travel expenses and paying/tipping your guide. There are no amenities such as restrooms, changing rooms etc. but if you’ve been reading my blog long enough, you know better to wear your swim-clothes underneath for most of the places to which I bring you.


One Drop Waterfall

cascade waterfall
The whole thing can’t even fit into one 9×16 picture!

Cascade Falls isn’t thunderous like its height would suggest; in fact it delicately tumbles over the rock-face to sprinkle little angelic droplets everywhere. The water is cold but delightfully so, and you feel so small standing next to it. That’s the thing I love most about nature– how small you feel standing in the midst of it that you forget all your cares in the world. You focus on the Creator and how fortunate you are to have good enough health to visit His finest creations, like Cascade Waterfall!

elle at cascade
I’m only dry because I’m not right next to it! πŸ™‚
cover photo-cascade
Look at these dancing droplets!
cascade falls
Ranger Marlon Hamilton, our tour guide
beautiful river valley
Looking around

Hats off to Ranger Hamilton who gave us Blue Mountain-grown pineapple, sweetcups and peaches to eat along the drive. I didn’t even know Jamaica could grow peaches! It was my first time seeing a peach in real life, so I took a picture to savour the moment (lol!). Also, we found and picked cheeseberries on the hike itself. If these fruits go by another name where you’re from, drop that in the comments to educate this urban gal!


Wrap Up

Similar to my Blue Mountain Peak trip in 2017, I was impressed by the Jamaica Conservation & Development Trust (JCDT) in planning this trip. The JCDT offers the lowest prices for literally any single thing you could want to do in the Blue and John Crow Mountains, be it obtaining a guide for just about anywhere, camping, transport to and from the Peak or accommodation in Holywell and their new Portland Gap cabins. They’re the people to check with to ensure all roads and trails are passable before venturing on a hike for safety, and on top of that they’re really helpful, friendly and super responsive to phone calls and social media! Hats off to Toni from the Recreation & Tourism Office and of course Ranger Hamilton!

Last thing. The Blue Mountains are ours to enjoy but also ours to protect. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time and keep nothing but memories as you explore more of this delightful mountain park, Jamaica’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fun Fact: This tiny community of Cascade has SIX churches!

Also not-so-fun fact: Cascade is listed as a dying community. 😦 Read why here.

JCDT Contact Details

If you liked this post, you’d LOVE:

couple-reach falls

‘Til next time, βœŒπŸ½.

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Published by

Rochelle | Adventuresfromelle

Adventures from Elle is a travel blog for locals & visitors who want to experience the best of Jamaica, one adventure at a time. The blog is curated by Rochelle Knight, a junior resident (M.D.) in internal medicine and published author. She began the blog in 2016 as a medical student & wants to see the world, starting with her home country. Purchase her book 'SIGHTSEE JAMAICA' on Amazon and join her in Jamaica!

20 thoughts on “Cascade Falls, Portland

  1. 10 mins? My previously-aching body is somewhat mad that I died many deaths hiking from Holywell (by choice, though I knew there was a much shorter route from the community lol). I didn’t expect it to be that short though, glad you made it! Sweet cups I believe is known as passion fruit elsewhere (thank you for this knowledge Fruit Ninja).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I get you. Think of it as meeting your exercise quota for a few days with each hike #JamaicaMoves. πŸ™‚ It was surprisingly short for real, which is good because I ended up doing the hike with some really lazy people (hope they read the comments). πŸ˜‚

      You know, it’s pretty bad that I wasn’t sure if this is the same as passion or nah. It doesn’t smell as strong or pungent as I remember passion does but it really looks almost identical. if it’s not the same fruit, then they’re at least close cousins. πŸ™ˆ I need a brush-up in local fruits, or rather, the ones we don’t see commonly in Kingston. πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome! I hope you get around to it soon and share your experience too. You should check out Fish Dunn falls as well on the same trip, which is about 30 minutes drive (or less) beyond Cascade. That one has a pool for swimming and if you’re the daredevil type, you could jump too. πŸ˜€ Planning to write that post sometime soon.

      Thanks for reading & commenting Gavin!


    1. Awesome! You could perhaps spend some of your next Jamaican vacation at a hotel or lodge in the Blue Mountains and check out this waterfall plus other cool places in its environs. Definitely a different side to Jamaica and in my opinion, even better than the coasts. I hope you get around to it. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for stopping by & taking the time to comment as well! πŸ™‚


    1. Refreshing is the right adjective. πŸ™‚ I didn’t know Europe was experiencing a heatwave as well. We’re experiencing one in Jamaica currently and it’s horrible. We’ve already had one forest fire plus there’s been a drought too since the start of 2019. June is usually our rainy month and scarcely a drop so far so we’re in for a rough one. Hopefully temps get more bearable soon. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

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