A reader bought my book and suggested I compile a list of the 10 most gorgeous waterfalls in Virginia! I should be qualified because over the last few years I hiked to 95+ publicly accessible waterfalls in the Commonwealth of Virginia; I’ve seen most of them if not all!
If you are unfamiliar with VIrginia waterfalls, here is a relaxing video showing about a dozen waterfalls for your inspiration to get out and explore!
At first, it sounded like an easy task. I sat down, looked at my photos and videos and wrote down my favorites. Unfortunately, I ended up with not 10, but 26 gorgeous waterfalls and unsure about a few more! I was in trouble! It became a much tougher project because there are so many stunning waterfalls to choose from.
Now, several weeks later after some serious internal turmoil, doubts and many changes, I am finally ready to reveal my Top 10 list! But first, let me start with a few disclaimers.
Waterfall Selection Criteria
Any compilation of “best” waterfalls should be read with some scepticism. I’ve see very popular but totally ridiculous lists. Were those written by writers in armchairs depending on Google Searches for their information?
You may disagree with my list, but rest assured I physically hiked to every qualified waterfall shown in my book and on this website! My selection is based on personal experience and not on Photoshopped images of waterfalls from the internet! Let me explain my selection process.
- Publicly accessible – Virginia has a handful of beautiful waterfalls located on private properties. A few owners allow access when contacted but I decided to exclude those from my research for safety and privacy reasons.
- Drop Falls versus Cascades – The geography of the Commonwealth (basically the lack of high mountains) is more suited for cascading waterfalls. Think of these as a series of giant steps with water crashing over it. Many are impossible to photograph in whole due to the rough terrain, thick vegetation, and sheer height of the cascade. For this reason, I prefer waterfalls with larger drop zones -think of these as water tumbling over a cliff.
- Seasons matter – I compared the waterfalls based on their impact when in full flow. For example, in early Fall most waterfalls in Virginia run almost dry with a very weak flow. I suggest you explore my selection in late Winter/early Spring or after sustained periods of heavy rain.
- Access trails – A few of the waterfalls on my list require serious bushwhacking. Others can be seen from your car as you drive by! I did not consider ease of access as a selection criterion!
Words of Caution
Virginia is a large State with long distances between waterfalls, often requiring driving over curvy backroads in mountainous terrain. It is challenging to photograph every waterfall in full flow especially after or during heavy rain. Do not rush and please drive safe!
When venturing off-trail to visit some of the waterfalls on my list, please prepare yourself using my “Bushwhacking Guide“. It’s rough out there!
Use My Book to Guide You
My book covers all the waterfalls on my list and many more – it is basically the complete guide to waterfalls in Virginia! You will find photos, maps, directions, and profile information of each trail.
The 10 Most Gorgeous Waterfalls in Virginia
Here is my list IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER! It is nearly impossible to rank them!
Just click on each to read more about the location, directions, trail, profile, etc.
NOTE – Some of the articles below describe a series of waterfalls along a creek. I use the number system that’s common in Shenandoah National Park – #1 is closest to the main road, then #2 then #3, and so on.
My particular choices along each creek are:
- Falls of Big Creek #3
- Falls of Naked Creek #2
- Falls of Doyles River #1