Upper Shamokin Falls – Virginia

Upper Shamokin Falls

Upper Shamokin Falls in Nelson County, Virginia

When the Stony Creek flows hard, these Falls are smokin’, especially the Falls at Lower Shamokin (covered in another post)! But Upper Shamokin should not be missed either!

The Falls are inside the Wintergreen Resort which makes access a little more challenging than it should be, but do not be concerned about that!

Even at low levels this waterfall is very scenic and the 1.8 mile (roundtrip) trail is steep enough to provide a nice workout any time of the year.

But the trail is steep in places and very rocky so please wear proper shoes!

NOTE – It is possible to reach Lower Shamokin Falls via a maintenance road starting just below Upper Shamokin but it is a much better hiking experience when you start from a different parking area below Lower Shamokin. This trail will be covered separately.

Directions

Assuming you do not want to enter Wintergreen and deal with the security folks at the gate, make your way to the Blue Ridge Parkway and pull over at mile 9.6 – Dripping Rock Parking. There is room for 3 maybe 4 cars only so go early!

Step onto the Appalachian Trail North (east of the road) and follow it for 0.4 miles (just keep left at the split soon after the start. Now for the tricky part – at 0.4 miles look for a spring on the right. You actually have to turn right onto a faint trail just before the spring!

Spring - turn just before here
Spring – turn right just before here

DO NOT APPROACH ANY OF THE HOUSES. Stay on the trail next to the tiny creek that source the spring.

Follow this faint trail down the hill until you get to Laurel Springs Road. Turn left and walk a short distance until you see a yellow trail marker to the Falls on the right. Follow the trail downhill until it split to form a loop. You can go either way – we prefer to turn left and loop around clockwise.

HOWEVER – If the Creek is high you will stay dry if you go right and down to the Falls then return the same way. If you go left you have to cross the Creek.

You will soon hear/see the Falls to your right. Stay on the trail which gets rough at times. When you reach a rough dirt road after 0.4 miles, turn right, cross Stony Creek then turn right again next to the Creek and make your way up to the Falls.

From the Falls you zig-zag uphill over very rocky terrain to complete the loop then retrace your steps back to the parking area.

Trail Map

Trail Map-Upper Shamokin Falls (click to enlarge)

 

Trail Profile

Upper Shamokin Falls Trail Profile
Upper Shamokin Falls Trail Profile (click to enlarge)

Slide Show

St. Mary’s Falls Virginia

St. Mary's Falls Virginia

St. Mary’s Falls – Augusta County, Virginia

This very popular waterfall between Lexington and Waynesboro, St. Mary’s Falls, should be on everyone’s to-do list!

It has everything most hikers look for – plenty of parking on a well-maintained unpaved road, a very steady and gradual trail and a beautiful waterfall at the 2.2 mile mark!

St. Mary’s River gorge used to be a very active mining area until the 1950’s. In places some remnants of its past can still be seen.

Directions

It is best to study our Google Map!

From Steeles Tavern, drive east on SR-56 for 1 mile then turn left on SR-608. After 2.2 miles turn right on to stay on SR-608 and drive a short distance to St Mary’s Road. Turn right.  The parking area is 1.4 miles away where the road ends.

The trail (while rocky in some areas) is easy to follow (orange markers) as seen in our slide show below. Be aware you have to cross the creek no less than 5 times meaning your feet will get wet after a rainy period!

Trail Map

Trail Map-St Marys Falls
Trail Map-St Mary’s Falls (click to enlarge)

Trail Profile

St Marys Falls - Trail Profile
St Mary’s Falls – Trail Profile (click to enlarge)

 

Trail Slide Show

Stiles Falls in Virginia

Stiles Falls - Virginia

Stiles Falls in Montgomery County, Virginia

Stiles Falls was named after Randolph Stiles who sadly lost his life near the Falls during a Sunday School picnic. It is a very pretty waterfall at the end of a scenic 1.6 mile hike.

The Falls is located on the property of Alta Mons – a summer camp and retreat center of the United Methodist Church near Shawsville, Virginia.

Directions

It is best to look at our Google Map to ensure you do not get lost!

Make your way to Alleghany Spring Road (SR-637) and look for Camp Alta Mons on the south side of the road. Drive up to the office on the left and park in the small lot on the right. DO NOT enter the gate with your vehicle.

Do check in with the office as a courtesy and sign your name on the visitor sheet next to the gate.

The trail is clearly marked and easy at first but you have to cross a stream 3 times and may get wet! Near the Falls the trail get steeper and rougher as you can see in the slide show below.

Please wear proper hiking shoes to prevent slipping.

Trail Map

Trail Map Stiles Falls - Virginia (click to enlarge)
Trail Map-Stiles Falls (click to enlarge)

Trail Profile

Stiles Falls Trail Profile
Stiles Falls Trail Profile (click to enlarge)

Slide Show

Bent Mountain Falls

Bent Mountain Falls

Bent Mountain Falls in Montgomery County, Virginia

Dropping over 200 feet, Bent Mountain Falls is the 2nd highest waterfall in Virginia!

Located inside the Bottom Creek Gorge Preserve, the Falls are best viewed from an overlook along the Johnston Trail (red markers). When water levels are lower, one could bushwack along Bottom Creek to the foot of the Falls but its true height is obscured.

Directions

It is best to just follow our Google Map for the exact location. 

Make your way to Bottom Creek Lane (SR-637) and look for the bridge where the road crosses Bottom Creek. Turn west on the unpaved road for a short distance until you reach a gate. Do not block the gate when parking!

Please be aware – no dogs allowed.

Trail Map

Map - Bent Mountain Falls-3D
Map – Bent Mountain Falls-3D (click to enlarge)

The Trail

It is a strenuous hike (4.75 miles round-trip but a bit shorter if you stay on the Johnston Trail only) so come prepared. You walk a short distance until you reach the information board where you will be introduced to the three trail options – red, yellow or blue. We prefer the outer loop (Red – Yellow – Blue) in order to see the actual Bottom Creek and to see some of the other sights as explained on the information board.

Bottom Creek
Bottom Creek (click to enlarge)

It is 1.6 miles from the parking lot to the Creek and 2.4 miles to the Falls Viewpoint when using the Yellow Trail.

Trail Profile

Bent Mountain Falls Trail Profile
Bent Mountain Falls Trail Profile (click to enlarge)

   Trail Slide Show

 

Folly Mills Falls

Folly Mills Falls - Virginia

Folly Mills Falls – Augusta County – Virginia.

Folly Mills Falls are one of Staunton’s best-kept secrets!

This pretty waterfall is just 0.1 miles from the parking area along a very scenic short trail yet few people know it’s there!

It is especially beautiful after heavy rains but the trail can get muddy and slippery.

Directions

From Route 11 just south of Staunton, turn west onto Cochran’s Mill Road. The parking area is on the left just before crossing Folly Mills Creek.

It is best to just follow our Google Map for the exact location.  Cochran’s Mill Road is paved and the parking area is large enough for 3 or 4 vehicles.

When the trail is wet, it is best to wear non-slip shoes (not flip-flops) because it can be muddy and the rocks near the falls are very slippery.

Trail Map

Folly Mills Falls 3D Map
Folly Mills Falls 3D Map (click to enlarge)

Slide Show of the Trail

Fenwick Mines Waterfall

Fenwick Mines Waterfall

Fenwick Mines Waterfall in Craig County, Virginia

Fenwick Mines is a beautiful waterfall and swimming hole just 0.3 miles from the parking area along Fenwick Mines Road (CR-685).

It is located in an old mining area and today there are hiking trails and picnic facilities.

The short and flat trail to Fenwick Mines Waterfall is well-maintained and wheel-chair accessible (up to the overlook). There is an easy but narrow trail down to the base of the Falls (highly recommended). Please watch the short trail video below.

Directions

It is best to just follow our Google Map for the exact location.  The road is paved and the parking area is large enough for several vehicles.

Just follow Market Street/Craigs Creek Road north out of New Castle for about 5 miles then turn onto State Route 611. Soon afterwards turn right onto Fenwick Mines Rd and the parking area will be on the right after just over a mile.

Walk over the foot bridge then turn right and the Falls will be 0.3 miles away!

 Trail Map

Fenwick Mines Waterfall
Fenwick Mines Waterfall Trail Map (click to enlarge)

 

Slideshow of the Trail

Rowlands Creek Falls – Virginia

Rowlands Creek Falls

Rowlands Creek Falls in Smyth County, Virginia.

If you are looking for a semi-challenging hike to a remote waterfall then Rowlands Creek Falls – a 3.2 mile (round-trip) outing – is for you! It is in the middle of nowhere – closest large town is Chilhowie but some distance away!

While the trail itself is not difficult, do go prepared when hiking to Rowlands Creek Falls. Once you reach the top of the Falls, you have to scramble down the slippery banks to reach the base and this is where you may get hurt. Just in case something goes wrong, please pack everything you need in order to survive a night or two while waiting for rescue.

Once you reach the top of the Falls, you have to scramble down the slippery banks to reach the base and this is where you may get hurt.

Directions

The easiest way is to find the USFS Hurricane Campground on a map. That will take you close. Then you follow an unpaved road west (Hurricane Rd) for about 4.5 miles. At some point this becomes Skulls Gap Rd but it does not matter much. The trailhead will be on your right.

Should you start from the Chilhowie area, follow Whitetop Rd (CR-600) south and turn left onto unpaved Skulls Gap Rd. From here the trailhead will be on your left about 4.5 miles east. Again, at some point the road becomes Hurricane Rd but do not be overly concerned about road names.

It is best to just follow our Google Map for the exact location.  The parking area is very small but you can park next to road somewhere.

Once parked, look for the Rowlands Creek TR sign and enter past the gate.  Another sign states the Falls are 1-1/2 miles. Follow the trail east for a short distance until you see a 3rd sign for Rowlands Creek TR. You now turn left past another gate and follow the fire road all the way down the hill until you get to the Creek.

Once you cross the Creek look for the trail to turn right. You follow the Creek (crossing it a few times) all the way down until you hear the thundering waterfall on your left! Continue down until you see the base of the Falls on your left and then bushwack your way a short distance down to it. 

Trail Map

Trail Map - Rowlands Creek Falls
Trail Map – Rowlands Creek Falls (click to enlarge)

Note, we call the access road ‘Skulls Gap Road’ but it could also be Hurricane Rd.

Trail Profile

Rowlands Creek Trail Profile (click to enlarge)
Rowlands Creek Trail Profile (click to enlarge)

Trail Slideshow


 

Tank Hollow Falls

Tank Hollow Falls is a very scenic 60 feet waterfall in the town of Cleveland in Russell County, Virginia.

What makes these Falls special is the fact that one can park very close to the base, making it one of most accessible waterfalls in Virginia.

Tank Hollow Falls Trail
Tank Hollow Falls Trail

Directions

From Cleveland St, turn SW to 4th Street then left to Tank Hollow Road. Drive downhill to the parking area in front of the Falls. There is a short gravel trail to the Falls.

Tank Hollow Falls Trail
Tank Hollow Falls Trail Parking

Large Google Map

Trail Map

Map -Tank Hollow Falls (click to enlarge)

Overstreet Creek Falls

Overstreet Creek Falls - Virginia

Overstreet Creek Falls is a pretty roadside waterfall just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Bedford County, Virginia.

It is virtually unknown which is a good thing because there is parking for one maybe two vehicles only and the waterfall is at a turn in the road. Please drive slowly when approaching the turn because folks may be walking there.

Directions

To find Overstreet Creek Falls, drive north or south along the Parkway just north of Peaks of Otter. At mile 80.2, turn south onto Overstreet Creek Road (CR-765) – a dirt road. There is a gate but I’ve not seen it closed. If closed you have to park there and walk down the road to the Falls (1.78 miles). Or you can turn around and drive up CR-765 from the Bedford area – a long detour!

Study our Google Map for the exact location.

I always recommend a high-clearance 4WD vehicle when driving the unpaved mountain roads near the Blue Ridge. It is possible to drive down this winding road in a standard vehicle but avoid rainy days and take it slow.

Overstreet Creek Falls - Virginia
Overstreet Creek Falls – Virginia (click to enlarge)

Trail Map

Map-Overstreet Falls-3D
Map-Overstreet Falls-3D (click to enlarge)

 

 

Falls of Mill Creek Nature Park

Mill Creek Natura Park - Main Falls

Mill Creek Nature Park near Narrows in Giles County, Virginia  is home to three large waterfalls and many cascades depending on water levels.

The Main Falls – also known as Middle or 2nd falls – is the star attraction. It is a beautiful area and well worth visiting.

Please be aware that the trail is rocky, rough and steep in places! Watch the slideshow below to decide if the trail is in your comfort zone.

Wear proper shoes and keep a close eye on younger children who may slip and fall. The trail is hard to follow in some sections over the rocks; look closely!  Mill Creek can be raging after heavy rains and the trail can be slippery so be careful.

Study our Google Map map for the exact location. From Main Street in Narrows turn South East on Northview.  The parking lot is at the end of Northview Street (CR652). You can also approach it from Poplar Street (CR710).

As shown on our trail map below, the trail basically follows Mill Creek upstream for 1.6 miles to the Upper or 3rd waterfall. The trail does continue and there are other trails as shown on the map near the parking area but keep close to the Creek and you will eventually reach the waterfalls!

The Lower Falls (at 1.1 miles) turn into Twin Falls after heavy rains! Unfortunately you have to bushwack a short and steep distance down to the Creek to actually see these Falls!

Mill Creek Nature Park Waterfall
Mill Creek Nature Park Twin Falls (click to enlarge)

The Main (Middle) Falls (at 1.2 miles) have a small sign to points to a side trail down to the Creek. This is a narrow, steep and slippery (muddy) section but you will soon be rewarded with the beautiful Main Falls!

Mill Creek Nature Park - Main Falls
Mill Creek Nature Park – Main Falls (click to enlarge)

Retrace your steps back to the main trail then turn right and hike up a steep narrow hill to the next waterfall sign. The Upper Falls (at 1.6 miles) are really a raging cascade between large boulders and are difficult to photograph but still worth the effort!

Mill Creek Nature Park Waterfall
Mill Creek Nature Park Upper Waterfall (click to enlarge)

Trail Map

Map - Falls of Mill Creek Nature Park-3D
Map – Falls of Mill Creek Nature Park-3D (click to enlarge)

Trail Profile

Mill Creek Nature Park Profile
Mill Creek Nature Park Profile (click to enlarge)

Slideshow of the Trail