Yesterday some of the ladies and I ventured to the town of Molina to check out a hiking area we’d heard good things about. Molina is about an hour away, situated weirdly in the mountains as if it were dropped from the sky. It overlooks a long, winding valley surrounded by cliffs and vast green. But the gem of this town is its Parco delle Cascate – park of waterfalls.
The parking area is surprisingly far from the park entrance. Just follow the signs and keep going downhill (trying not to think about climbing back up) and you’ll find it. It’s probably about 15 minutes down and longer on the way back up. The entrance fee is €5, but they knock off 50 cents with a student or military ID. And I know what you’re thinking – why would I want to pay money to bust my butt on a hike? But let me tell you now, it’s WORTH IT.
There are three paths – green (easy), red (medium), and black (difficult). They estimate that the difficult path only takes about 2 hours, but if you’re a big wuss like me it’ll probably take a little longer. We took the red path and man, they’re not kidding with the park name. I lost track of how many waterfalls we saw. We also ended up detouring to see a couple of the sights on the black path. Even if you don’t want to do the black path, I very strongly urge you to visit the panoramic lookout (just avoid the switchback area). It was breathtaking, and it’s a perfect spot to stop and have lunch. We brought PB&Js and apples.
But what might have been the best part of the whole place were the swings! There are two spots – the first we came to was a short zip-line that went over a river, complete with a waterfall backdrop. The second was an actual swing that brought you right up to a tall waterfall. When you swing out, you almost feel close enough to reach out and touch the water before you rush backward. They were both a lot of fun!
We took our sweet time (and I was struggling with a headache the whole time, so I was operating at dial-up speeds) including stopping for lunch, and the whole experience took us about 4 hours.
TIPS: Get there early! The park doesn’t even open till 9, so you might as well be there when they open up. We went on a Monday, and for the first couple hours we barely saw anyone else. We practically had the park to ourselves!
Bring food! You’re gonna get hungry.
Wear good, waterproof shoes! A lot of the trail was slippery because it had rained a couple days before, and of course there are waterfalls everywhere. Hold onto the rails when you’re climbing up and down.