Falls Run Waterfall in Shenandoah County, Virginia
If you thought there are no waterfall surprises left in Virginia, think again because Falls Run Waterfall will take your breath away!
If you visit in the Spring or when the nearby creeks run high, you can stand underneath this 60-feet high waterfall and let the cool water refresh your soul like nature intended!
But, the 1.7 mile hike is steep and the trail is very rocky especially the first 0.2 miles after leaving the lower parking lot. The higher parking lot (accessible certain months when the gates are open) puts you closer to the better part of the trail but the steepness remains!
There are huge boulders at the base of the waterfall and some are very slippery. Be careful!
If you want to park closer and save 0.7 miles (making the hike 1 mile one way instead of 1.7) , it is best to call the Lee Ranger District and ask if the gates on FR252 are open BEFORE arrival. If open then you can drive up and park at the top lot (room for 10 or so vehicles) as shown on the trail map below.
We do not like surprises so we alway park at the end of VA701 (room for 2 or 3 vehicles in the lower parking area) meaning we can hike at any time! There are no gates and it is tarmac most of the way.
Regardless of your parking choice, you will head uphill on a yellow marked trail. lower parking – walk towards the house and the yellow Forest Service trail crosses Falls Run Creek to the right. No need to enter the private property! Stay on the trail until you cross FR252 then continue for 0.6 miles to the left turn (white trail) down to the waterfall
upper parking – walk towards the gate and look for the yellow trail on the right just beyond the gate. Continue for 0.6 miles and turn left (white trail) down to the waterfall
The trail down to the waterfall is also steep and a bit rough. Take it easy!
Watch the slide show below to see the trail conditions.
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.
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.
Located just 15 miles from the Nation’s Capital, Great Falls Park is an 800-acre haven for nature enthusiasts. The highlight is the Potomac River where it speeds up through the narrow Mather Gorge, creating a series of waterfalls and rapids that challenge even the best kayakers in the world.
This is a National Park so the normal entrance rules apply.
From the Village of Great Falls, drive east on Georgetown Pike (VA-193) for 2 miles. Turn left onto Old Dominion Drive and the entrance is about a mile down the road.
Do plan to arrive early! By 11am on most days the parking areas fill and lines are forming at the entrance gate.
From the parking area an easy flat trail takes you to the Visitor Center and three overlooks (1 mile return).
Overlook 1 puts you the closest to the rapids while overlook 3 gives you a sweeping view of the whole Gorge!
Big Cedar Creek Falls in the Pinnacle Nature Area Preserve in Russell County, Virginia
Known by most as Big Falls, Big Cedar Creek Falls is not a typical high waterfall. Instead, it covers the width of Big Cedar Creek creating a beautiful backdrop for wide-angle landscape photos!
In addition the Pinnacle Area Preserve offers several hiking trails. We enjoy combing the trails to visit Big Falls, Spring Falls (a secondary cascade) and a viewpoint to see the Pinnacle – a 400 feet tall dolomite spire!
From Lebanon, turn onto VA 82 towards Cleveland. Turn right onto VA 640 then after 4.3 miles turn left onto VA 721. Follow the unpaved road 0.9 miles down to the parking lot on the left. Cross the Creek using the swing bridge and continue for 1.2 miles to the Falls and beyond!
The trail is rather flat and easy with a slight elevation change at the bridge and just before Big Falls. At 0.9 miles you turn left uphill towards Big Falls. If you continue straight you can stop at Spring Falls just beyond the picnic shelter. It is a small cascade but pretty nonetheless.
Crab Orchard Branch Falls is part of the wonderful Guest River Gorge Trail – 5.8 miles of paved trail for biking and walking/hiking!
Crab Orchard Branch is a creek that meets the Guest River at 1.8 miles and the Falls are just a short scramble upstream.
While the trail is wonderfully maintained please know you will hike downhill and returning will be a bit tougher so don’t overdo things!
From US 58 Alternate, head south on State Route 72 near Coeburn. Travel for 2.3 miles on this curvy, two-lane road. You will pass the Flatwoods Picnic Area on your right, and very soon afterward, you will reach a sign for the Guest River Gorge on your left. Turn left onto this paved road, which is Forest Road 2477, and drive for 1.4 miles until you reach the parking lot. The trailhead is marked with a kiosk at the edge of the parking area.
Every so often we find a waterfall that no-one talks about, yet we are amazed by its beauty and tranquility. Laurel Run Falls is one of those.
We went looking for waterfalls one Sunday and with the Virginia Atlas and Gazetteer in hand we studied the creeks in the Goshen area west of Lexington. There appeared to be the potential for at least two waterfalls in the area so we hopped in the Jeep and drove out on SR-39.
What a day we had! We hiked to two waterfalls and spent all day in the woods with not a single other soul in sight, except for a few kayakers in the Maury River!
IMPORTANT – We believe this is a WMA (Wildlife Management Area) and you need to buy an access permit. To be safe, we buy annual permits for $23 or so – see this DGIF site.
From Lexington, drive west on SR-39 towards Goshen. The parking area (on your left) is exactly 13.5 miles from the Super 8 where you turn from Rte 11 onto SR-39.
There is room for 2 or 3 cars or you can actually drive into the WMA when the gate is open and park in a pull-out somewhere. But do not block the narrow road and an SUV with high-clearance is recommended.
There is no trail to Lauren Run Falls! You walk along the slight uphill road and bushwack down to the creek about 0.15 miles from the parking area.
Once next to the creek, make your way upstream for a short distance (another 0.15 miles) to the bottom of the cascade.
We found the going a bit easier on the opposite side of the creek. Note- while not overly dangerous, you can get hurt on the rocks or in the creek debris. Stay safe!
Panther Falls is a very popular local swimming hole on the Pedlar River near Buena Vista. The waterfall is only 10-feet high but the surrounding rocks provide two perfect jumping-off platforms.
Despite the popularity and not unlike many other waterfalls, its location is somewhat of a challenge for visitors new to the area. We were surprised that accurate directions were a bit difficult to obtain!
You can approach Panther Falls from several directions but let’s drive south along the Blue Ridge Parkway. At mile 45.6 turn east on US-60 then turn right on Panther Falls Road after 0.3 miles.
Follow the unpaved Panther Falls Road for 3.1 miles to a parking area.