I made two trips to Castle in the Clouds and fell in love with this area. The castle is actually a large house on a hill built in the late 1800’s that you can visit via a trolley tour for $20. There is a carriage house that is now a restaurant (mostly closed) and a small museum, but you can go to the scenic view out back and take in Lake Winnie and see many of the islands. Oh, this is a gorgeous view! I’d like to go back and try some night photography.
There is a small gift shop and a ticket office, then down the road is the parking lot. The trails start at the bottom of the hill where there is parking for hikers and picnickers. Two more buildings contain functioning restrooms and an ice cream/sandwich shop.
I think I counted over a dozen trails that were listed at the sign post. So far, I’ve only been on one, the Brook Trail, three times, and can’t wait to try the others.
It rained the morning I hiked the Brook Trail for the first time, and it was a little slippery. I had my hiking stick for balance, but slipped at the 6th (yes there are 7 total!) and called it a day. This was the most beautiful trail I’ve been on this year! I think the trail is considered moderate, but it wasn’t that bad. You definitely need good shoes, though. Again, there are 7 waterfalls/cascades, and each is unique and easy to see.
The hike on this trail was much easier the second time, as it was a nice morning and dry. I made it to the 7th water fall, Fall of Songs, and spent at least a half hour there. I met two photographers, took 3 sets of group pictures, and finally had the place to myself to take some snaps. This water fall has its own access from the road so a longer hike isn’t necessary. I’ll try that next time.
I also met two astronomers who happened to be at the field near the first parking lot, and they showed offed their telescopes that focused on the sun. WOW! That view was amazing! You could see sun spots and small flares coming out. One of the scopes showed the gases moving around. They were telling me about how they come here at night to do photography. This is on my list of night shots for sure!