Updated 1/24/24 by Lori

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Calling all adventurers and nature lovers! Are you ready for an exhilarating journey into the waterfalls of Virginia? 

Imagine the rush of excitement as you lace up your hiking boots, feel the cool mist on your face, and hear the thundering roar of water crashing down from majestic waterfalls. If you’re anything like me, you crave the thrill of exploring the great outdoors and immersing yourself nature’s beauty. 

Picture this: You and your friends, or even just yourself, venturing into the lush forests of Virginia, with the sun dappling through the trees and the sound of rushing water guiding your path. The sense of accomplishment and awe as you finally reach the cascading beauty of a Virginia waterfall is unparalleled.

 But don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging. In this blog post, I’ll share some of Virginia’s most breathtaking waterfalls and tips and tricks for a successful hiking adventure. So, let’s lace up those boots, pack our bags, and prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey. Let’s begin!

Hiking Difficulty Scale to help hikers understand the challenge level of different trails.
Hiking Difficulty Scale

Northern Virginia: Virginia Waterfalls Close to Washington DC

Map of northern Virginia waterfalls.
Northern Virginia Falls, so close to D.C.!

Great Falls Park

A rocky landscape with waterfalls throughout.
Great Falls Park–a spectacular waterfall on the Potomac RiverCredit: Linda M. Morgan

Address: 9200 Old Dominion Dr, West McLean, Virginia 22102

Parking/Hours: Several parking lots near the park’s entrance can fill up quickly during busy times. Parking fees are $10 per vehicle and $5 per motorcycle, which can be paid at the park entrance or using one of the fee machines in the parking lots. There is also limited street parking available near the park. 7 am to dusk

Hiking Difficulty: Easy. It is less than a 10-minute walk from the Visitor’s Center.

Great Falls Park is a breathtaking natural oasis just a short drive from Washington, D.C. This beautiful park is situated along the Potomac River and boasts diverse natural attractions and recreational opportunities, making it a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the great outdoors and Virginia waterfalls.

Great Falls Park was established in 1966 and is managed by the National Park Service. The park offers visitors various hiking opportunities, from gentle nature walks to challenging backcountry trails. There are over 15 miles of hiking trails in total, all offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape and providing visitors a chance to get up close and personal with the area’s natural beauty. 

Two of the most popular trails are the River Trail, which offers a stunning view of the Great Falls, and the Billy Goat Trail, which winds along the rocky cliffs above the river and offers a challenging but rewarding hiking experience.

The Great Falls is a sight to behold, with the rushing waters of the Potomac River cascading over the rocky terrain of the area. In addition to the falls, the park is also home to a wide variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, foxes, and deer, making it a popular spot for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers.

Beyond the area’s natural beauty, Great Falls Park offers visitors various recreational opportunities, including fishing, rock climbing, and kayaking. The park also offers picnic areas. 

If you’re still in the mood for more adventure, NOVA Wild in Vienna, Virginia, is a non-profit zoo that supports international conservation and allows you to get up close and personal by driving through a safari and seeing wildlife exhibits. This fantastic 30-acre zoo is only a few miles from Great Falls Park.

And only 24 miles down the Potomac from Great Falls Park you can find the first of 11 stunningVirginia lighthouses, Jones Point Lighthouse.

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Scotts Run Falls

A rocky creek with Virginia waterfall
Scotts Run Falls is just a short drive from Washington DC Credit: MDY66

Address: 8100 Georgetown Pike  McLean, VA 22102

Parking/Hours: There are two entrances into Scott’s Run off of Georgetown Pike. Each of them features a limited parking area and trailheads that provide access to the park. The hours of operation for the nature preserve may vary depending on the time of year and weather conditions, but it is generally open from dawn to dusk.

Hiking Difficulty: Easy to Moderate. 1-mile round-trip

Scott Run Falls is a stunning waterfall in Fairfax County, just a short drive from Washington, D.C. This hidden gem is tucked away in a peaceful, forested area and offers visitors a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The falls are named after the nearby Scott Run stream, which flows through the area and empties into the Potomac River. The falls were formed thousands of years ago by the gradual erosion of the surrounding rock and soil, resulting in a series of cascading waterfalls that are truly breathtaking.

Visitors must hike along a moderately difficult trail that winds through the woods and offers scenic landscape views to reach Scott Run Falls. The trail is well-marked and relatively easy to navigate, making it accessible to hikers of all skill levels. 

The cascading waterfalls and tranquil pools create a serene, peaceful atmosphere perfect for a relaxing afternoon hike. The surrounding woods are also incredibly picturesque and offer visitors a chance to get in touch with nature.

In addition to the area’s natural beauty, Scott Run Falls is a popular spot for photography and wildlife viewing. Visitors may spot birds, small mammals, and other wildlife as they hike along the trail.

Some of the most popular trails in the park include:

  1. Scotts Run Trail: The main trail runs through the park and follows along Scotts Run Creek. It offers a scenic hike through the forest, with views of the waterfall and the surrounding hills.
  2. Towlston Road Trail: This short, paved path connects the Towlston Road parking lot to the Scotts Run Trail. It provides an easy walk for visitors looking for a shorter hike or with limited mobility.
  3. The Ridge Trail: This trail is a more challenging hike that follows the ridge line of the park and offers stunning views of the surrounding area.
  4. Stream Valley Trail: This trail follows the creek and provides access to the park’s more remote areas. It is a good option for those who want a longer hike and to explore the park’s wild and undeveloped areas.

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Shenandoah National Park: The Jewel of Virginia Waterfalls

Shenandoah Virginia area waterfalls.
Shenandoah Virginia, 8 great waterfalls!

Dark Hollow Falls

white cascading water between mossy rocks into a natural pool. Dark Hollow Falls is one of the beautiful waterfalls in Virginia.
Dark Hollow Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Shenandoah National Park.

Address: Rose River Trail, Shenandoah National Park, VA 22853

Parking/Hours: Parking for Dark Hollow Falls is available at the Bearfence Mountain Hut parking area, which is located near the trailhead for the Dark Hollow Falls Trail. Dawn to dusk.

Hiking Difficulty: Moderate. Round trip of 1.4 miles. Pets are NOT allowed on this trail. The trail is steep and rocky. 

Dark Hollow Falls is a beautiful–and popular–waterfall in the park. It can be a crowded destination for hiking and outdoor recreation in the summer and on weekends. And no wonder–it’s one of the most scenic waterfalls in the park. 

A tributary of the Rose River forms the falls and drops 70 feet over a series of cascading drops. Visitors can hike to the falls along the Dark Hollow Falls Trail, a 1.4-mile round-trip hike starting from the Bearfence Mountain Hut parking area. 

The trail passes through a dense forest and provides stunning views of the falls and the surrounding landscape (you can see Rose River Falls along the same loop). 

Visitors should be aware that the trail to Dark Hollow Falls can be steep and rocky in places and that the trail can be slippery when wet. The falls will be at their best after a good rainfall or early in the season. 

Doyles Falls

Waterfall cascading down through the foliage
Doyles River Falls has a 3-mile moderately difficult hike to reach them.

Address: Mile 81 Shenandoah National Park, VA 22835

Parking: The parking area can be found just south of milepost 81 on Skyline Drive. Doyles Gap or Browns Gap Parking areas are convenient.

Hiking Difficulty: Moderate. Approx. 3 miles roundtrip from the Doyles River Parking Area. 

Doyles River Falls is a series of cascading waterfalls located along the Doyles River Trail, a popular hiking trail that winds through the park and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The trail is about 3 miles round-trip and rated moderate in difficulty. You will have to cross a small stream. 

The Doyles River Falls are quite impressive, with multiple drops that add up to a total height of around 80 feet. The falls are surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills, making for a truly breathtaking setting. 

The trail to the falls offers several lookout points where visitors can stop and take in the beauty of the falls and the surrounding scenery. And if it’s warm, you can take a dip in the pool below. 

In addition to the falls, the Doyles River Trail also offers opportunities for wildlife viewing, bird-watching, fishing, and picnicking.

Hazel (Cave) Falls

A large cascade of water falling down across mossy rocks into a pool of water
Hazel-Cave Falls has a few caves to explore along with the waterfall.

Address: Milepost 33.5, Shenandoah National Park, VA

Parking: The Meadow Spring Parking area has nine pull-in spots and three parallel spaces. You can also carefully parallel park along Skyline Drive.

Hiking Difficulty: Moderate. 5.3 miles in and back. The last .20 mile is challenging. 

There’s a good chance you’ll have Hazel Falls and the caves to yourself since they’re not as popular as others in the park. The trail is moderate and not particularly scenic for the first 2.5 miles in but takes a steep turn getting down to the falls near the end.  This may not be suitable for small children.

However, at the end of the hike, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful falls tumbling over large rocks. This is a great hike for the adventurous, with two caves to explore and plenty of shady areas on large rocks to relax or enjoy a snack.  Enjoy a dip in the small pool in the summer and relax in this serene Virginia waterfall. 

Tip: Bring bug repellent, as this area has a lot of biting bugs. 

If exploring the caves got you in the mood for something even spookier, head into the charming town of Luray and get creeped out at the Darkwood Manor Haunted House during the month of October.  

Jones Run Falls

A wide waterfall spilling over the rocks in a Virginia Waterfall.
Jones Run Falls is a popular waterfall and hike. Get there early!

Address: Skyline Dr, Crozet, VA 22932

Parking: Because it’s a national park, there is a $30 single-vehicle entrance fee. The Jones Run parking area is your best bet for parking.

Hiking Difficulty: Moderate 3.6-mile round-trip

The Falls of Jones Run trail will get you out to the falls along a moderately challenging hike. The trail gradient is gentle, which makes it fairly comfortable.

If you like to avoid crowds, be sure and get there early. Park at the Jones Run parking area and take the out-and-back trail before other hikers arrive. This will give you plenty of time to get some pretty pictures without every Tom, Dick, and Harry in your shots. Plus, by going early, you’ll have time to see some other waterfalls before the sun gets too high.

However, if you’re up for a longer and steeper hike, there’s another option. Park at mile 83 (Browns Gap) and take on a 5.8-mile loop hike that includes the two waterfalls of the Doyles River. It’s a bit more challenging, but the views are worth it. Combine the Browns Gap Fire Rd, the Doyles River Trail, the Jones Run Trail, and the Appalachian Trail, and you’re all set to go. 

Lots of options here with Jones Run Falls! Definitely one to put on your Virginia waterfall bucket list. The trail is open year-round, and you can bring your leashed four-legged friends along.

Endless Possibilities

Overall Run Falls

A stream of water splits and falls to the rocks below
Over Run Falls are best seen from April to June when rain is abundant.

Address: Skyline Dr, Rileyville, VA

Parking: You can reach Overall Run Falls from Skyline Drive using the Mathews Arm Campground access. Parking at mile 21 and taking the Appalachian Trail to the Tuscarora-Overall Run Trail adds an extra mile to your hike if the campground is closed. 

Hiking Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous.  Approx 4 miles in and back from Mathews Arm Campground. Other hiking trails exist. 

One of the most popular attractions in the park is Overall Run Falls, a stunning waterfall that cascades down a series of rocks for 93’ and creates a mesmerizing display of water and mist.

You’ll take a moderate 3.5-mile hike along the Tuscarora Trail to get to Overall Run Falls. The trail winds through the lush forest and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys (you can reach White Oak Canyon Falls on this same trail).  

Once you arrive at Overall Run Falls, you’ll be treated to a spectacular sight. This Virginia waterfall drops into a picturesque pool of water below, surrounded by boulders and foliage. It’s a great spot to relax and take in the beauty of nature. However, reaching the pool without a treacherous climb down some rocks is challenging.  So this isn’t the best hike if you plan on swimming. 

The surrounding area of Overall Run Falls is just as beautiful and home to various plants and animals.

These falls may have minimal to no water flow without abundant rainfall. April to June is the best time to see the falls in their full glory. 

Black bears and other wildlife are not uncommon in this area. 

Rose River Falls

Water pour out from between some rocks dropping down onto water beaten rocks below into a pool of water. Once of the more picturesque waterfalls in Virginia.
Rose River Falls has plenty of places to spread out for a picnic along the banks.

Address: Rose River Trail, Shenandoah National Park, VA 22853. 

Parking/Hours: Rose River Parking Area. Dawn to dusk.  

Hiking Difficulty:  Moderate. The hike to the waterfall is a 2.6-mile loop.

Rose River Falls is very popular for hiking and outdoor recreation and is one of the prettiest waterfalls in the park. There is a fantastic overlook and many lovely spots to get in the water or to sit along the banks.

The Rose River forms the falls and plummets over 80 feet in cascading drops. Visitors can hike to the falls along the Rose River Falls Trail, a 2.6-mile round-trip hike from the Rose River Falls parking area. If coming from Dark Hollow Falls, use the fire road and loop around.

The trail passes through a dense forest along the river, providing stunning views of the falls and surrounding landscape.

Visitors should be aware that the trail to Rose River Falls can be steep and rocky in places and that the trail can be slippery when wet.

South River Falls

water flowing down a wall of rock amid much foliage trickling into a small stream at the bottom.
South River Falls is a popular place for wildlife viewing.

Address: South River Falls Trail, Stanardsville, VA 22973. Trail map here

Parking: South River Picnic Area, the trailhead is right there.

Hiking Difficulty: Moderate 3.3 circuit hike from the South River Picnic Grounds. 

South River Falls is a popular destination for wildflower enthusiasts and nature lovers and is known for its picturesque beauty and serene surroundings. The falls are about 83 feet tall and are surrounded by many hardwood trees and flowers, making for a stunning and peaceful setting. 

There’s a small swimming pool at the bottom if you go past the viewpoint and down to the bottom. 

A small trail leads to the falls, a moderate hike through the forest. Visitors can enjoy views of the falls from various lookout points and take a dip in the pool at the base of the falls on a hot summer day. The trail to the falls is also a popular spot for bird-watching and wildlife viewing. Most of the hike is along a stream. 

If you’ve worked up an appetite from all the hiking, head into the tiny town of Elkton on Highway 33 and get homestyle cooking at a real diner.  We love Elkton’s Grub & Gab Diner for its plentiful food and casual atmosphere.  Get the buckwheat pancakes–to die for!

For more year-round adventures in the area, head to the Massanutten Resort just 30 min west of the South River Falls. More fun for the whole family!

Whiteoak Canyon Falls

A rocky waterfall with a stream of white water flowing down the middle.
Whiteoak Canyon Falls–you can walk to the trailhead if you’re staying at Skyland Resort.

Address: Milepost 42.6 Skyline Drive Luray, VA 22835 

Parking: There are both upper and lower parking lots available for parking. It’s recommended to arrive early since this Virginia waterfall hike is quite popular. The parking lot on Skyline Drive tends to fill up quickly. Alternatively, you can use the Whiteoak Canyon parking area outside Shenandoah National Park.

Hiking Difficulty: Upper Falls- Moderate 4.6-mile trip.  Lower Falls- Easy 2-mile trip. 

Whiteoak Canyon Falls is a series of six cascading Virginia waterfalls located in the Whiteoak Canyon section of the Shenandoah National Park. The falls are in a scenic, forested area and are a popular destination for hiking, picnicking, and swimming. 

The trail to the upper falls is considered a moderate 4.6-mile hike, with several steep sections and rocky terrain. Still, the stunning views of the falls and the surrounding landscape make it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts. 

Hiking to the lower falls is a more manageable 2-mile round-trip hike. This is a perfect hike for the entire family. You can walk to the trailhead if you’re staying in the Skyland Resort at Shenandoah. 

Along these trails, you’ll find plenty of places to rest, relax and swim in natural pools. 

The Blue Ridge Parkway: Home to the Tallest Virginia Waterfall

Blue Ridge region waterfalls map.
Blue Ridge region waterfalls!

Apple Orchard Falls

sunlit water snaking around the left side of a large rock
Apple Orchard Falls has a moderate to difficult hike to reach it–but it’s well worth it.

Address: Blue Rdg Pkwy, Buchanan, VA 24066

Parking: Parking is located at the peak of the trail at the Sunset Fields trailhead, which grants the quickest access to the falls. Optimal for those who prefer to avoid driving on gravel roads, visitors can start their journey here. To reach the trailhead from the Blue Ridge Parkway, park at the Sunset Fields Overlook (milepost 78), situated north of the Peaks of Otter.

Hiking Difficulty: Moderate with some difficult stretches.  You can take a long, medium, or short route. The fact that you can access it from three different trailheads is unique. 

The 200’ Apple Orchard Falls is a waterfall in the Jefferson National Forest, near Lexington, known for its scenic beauty and serenity. The trail is named for nearby Apple Orchard Mountain. Standing 4,222 feet tall, it’s the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.

Spring is the best time to visit the falls. Bugs are scarce, but wildflowers are abundant. You’ll also see mountain laurels, many species of birds, turkeys, deer, and black bears. 

Not far from Apple Orchard Falls is the quaint–and patriotic– little town of Bedford, VA. Here you’ll find the National D-Day Memorial Museum.  This is no dry, dusty museum.  This is a moving tribute in honor of all those who fought and died fighting in one of the most significant battles in our nation’s history in a set against a stunning mountain setting. This is something all Americans should visit at least once. 

Crabtree Falls

A wide waterfall of water flowing off the many rock shelves behind
Crabtree Falls is the tallest waterfall in Virginia and one of the tallest on the entire east coast.  Credit: Forest Wander

Address: 11581 Crabtree Falls Highway, Montebello, VA 24464

Parking: There are two parking lots. A gentle, paved trail leads to the first overlook, a few hundred feet from the upper parking lot. This makes it a perfect rest stop for visitors of all ages and physical abilities. The trail continues along the creek for another 1.2 miles from the upper falls until it reaches parking lot number two, Crabtree Meadows. A small parking fee. 

Hiking Difficulty: Moderate to difficult 3-mile loop. 

Crabtree Falls is in the George Washington National Forest and is one of the tallest cascading waterfalls in the eastern United States (and the tallest in Virginia), with a total drop of an impressive 1,200 feet in several cascading tiers. The falls are accessible via a hiking trail, which provides scenic views of the waterfall and the surrounding wilderness.

The Crabtree Falls trail is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and offers a challenging hike through a beautiful forested area. The trail is well-maintained and offers stunning views of the waterfall and the surrounding mountains.

You should know that the trail can be strenuous and may include steep inclines and rocky terrain, so it’s important to come prepared with appropriate footwear and plenty of water.

Lace Falls

white water Virginia waterfall upstream with a small stream of standing water in the foreground
Lace Falls is in Natural Bridge State Park.        Credit: Virginia State Parks

Address: Cedar Creek Trail, Natural Bridge, VA 24578

Parking: Parking near the entrance to Natural Bridge State Park

Hiking Difficulty: Easy 1-mile walk on paved ground. 

In one of Virginia’s most famous locations, Natural Bridge State Park, Lace Falls is a 50-foot waterfall overshadowed by the awe-inspiring 215 feet high and 90 feet across limestone formation. However, if you plan on visiting Lace Falls, you should take the opportunity also to witness Natural Bridge.

As you hike along Cascade Creek, which features tumbling waters and small cascades, you will make your way into the steep ravine created by Cedar Creek, leading you to Natural Bridge. As you reach the trail’s end, a circular observation area awaits where you can marvel at Lace Falls cascading over smooth rock layers.

Mine Bank Falls

a wall of water highlighted by white water splashing on numerous rock shelves
Mine Bank Cascades has plenty of parking and the trail is easy to navigate.

Address: Near the Fork Mountain Overlook at mile 23 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Parking: There are north and south parking areas with plenty of parking, the southern being near the Great Falls Visitor Center.

Hiking Difficulty: Easy–2.8 miles roundtrip which will take you just over an hour depending on your pace.

The Mine Bank Cascades is a cascading waterfall in the George Washington National Forest. The falls are part of the Mine Bank Run stream and are known for their picturesque beauty and peaceful surroundings. The cascades comprise multiple tiers of falls, with a total height of around 25 feet.

You can access the Mine Bank Cascades via a short, easy hike from a nearby parking area. The trail is a simple out-and-back hike that takes about an hour or so. 

Along the way, you can enjoy views of the surrounding forest and the cascading waterfalls. The trail is also popular for bird-watching and wildlife viewing, so watch for wildlife as you hike.

Please note that road closures and inclement weather can limit access to the Mine Bank Cascades. So, checking the latest conditions before visiting this Virginia waterfall is always a good idea. 

Panther Falls

small falls and a large pool of water surrounded by large rocks near a Virginia waterfall
Panther Falls is a local hotspot. Go on a weekday if you can.

Address: Intersection of US-60 and Panther Falls Road just below the Blue Ridge Parkway. Three miles down Panther Falls Road, parking on the left.

Parking: Parking on Panther Falls Road. A parking area at the trailhead leads to the falls, but it’s limited, so you may have to park along the road.  

Hiking Difficulty: Easy .4 mile hike. 

Nothing beats Panther Falls for a refreshing dip on a hot Summer’s day! However, it’s always a local hotspot for hiking and waterfall fun, no matter the time of year.

Located on the Pedlar River, just east of the Blue Ridge Parkway, this natural waterfall draws crowds of excited visitors. If you’re adventurous, jump from the top of the two rock shelves framing the 10-foot falls, or relax and take in the picturesque scenery. 

Be sure to jump out to the middle of the pool to avoid the ledge. When swimming, use caution because there are strong currents, especially by the ledge. 

With a distance of only .4 miles, the hike to the falls is perfect for visitors of all skill levels. The trail may be muddy, so appropriate footwear is recommended.

If you’re looking for a unique and wonderful place to stay in the area, we recommend Autumn Ridge Cottages.  They offer secluded (but modern) cottages in a gorgeous mountain setting just minutes from everything the charming town of Lexington offers. We love it!

Saint Mary’s Waterfall

streaming white water falling into a pool across the width of the waterfall
Saint Mary’s Waterfall is in the 10,000-acre St. Mary’s Wilderness Area.

Address: St. Mary’s Road Steele’s Tavern, VA 24476

Parking: The Saint Mary Falls Trailhead offers a compact parking lot (roughly 10ish spots), supplemented by a nearby space alongside the main road for extra vehicles to wait for an available spot. 

Hiking Difficulty: Easy. 2.2 miles each way. 

With roughly 10,000 acres of stunning landscapes, Saint Mary’s Wilderness is Virginia’s most extensive wilderness area, attracting visitors ranging from photographers and hikers to anglers. 

Situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this well-liked hiking spot boasts elevations ranging from 1700 to 3400 feet and provides 17 miles of trails. Throughout the hike, you’ll see many cliffs and rock towers. The trail has plentiful mountain laurels, Small oak, and American chestnut. 

You must cross the creek several times to get to the falls, so wear proper footwear. 

The Saint Mary’s River was a manganese and iron ore mining site until the 1950s. Nowadays, visitors can enjoy fishing for trout, admiring the river’s waterfall, and swimming.

Staton’s Creek Falls

churning white water flowing down through mossy rocks in the sunshine
Statons Creek Falls is accessible for everyone as there is no hike.     Credit: Patrick Templeton @ Cozened Visions

Address: Pedlar River Rd, Vesuvius, Virginia 24483

Parking: The small parking lot for Statons Creek Falls is situated alongside CR-633 just before the falls on the left. This provides an excellent vantage point for the upper section of the falls. It’s a roadside waterfall, so don’t be surprised if the parking spaces fill up quickly on a nice day.

Hiking Difficulty: Easy. This waterfall doesn’t require a proper hike as it can be accessed from the roadside, making it an ideal spot for all travelers, including those with mobility impairments.

Get ready to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Statons Creek Falls! This magnificent waterfall stands at 140 feet, boasting multiple cascades that will leave you speechless.

Although photographing the falls in their entirety may be challenging, the upper cascade is visible from the road, making it an ideal spot to capture breathtaking shots. While navigating the rocks can be treacherous, use proper footwear and caution, and you should be fine. 

This is more of a series of falls than a single tall drop, but the series is pretty impressive, nonetheless. A few larger flat rocks are great for picnics at the top and just below the first set of falls. 

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Southwest Virginia: Abundant Virginia Waterfalls

Southwest Virginia waterfalls locator map.
Southwest Virginia waterfalls!

Bent Mountain Falls

a wide flow of white water winding its way down through the rocks in the sunshine
Bent Mountain Falls is the 2nd tallest in Virginia. Credit: Greg Poulton

Address: In the Bottom Creek Gorge Preserve in Montgomery County.

Parking: Take the gravel entrance road till it dead-ends at the trail kiosk. No parking lot. Park on the road. 

Hiking Difficulty: Easy 3.7-mile loop. No Dogs allowed. 

Bent Mountain Falls is a beautiful waterfall in the Bottom Creek Gorge Preserve and the 2nd tallest in Virginia.  This waterfall is a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts, and it’s not hard to see why.

With a height of approximately 200 feet, Bent Mountain Falls is fed by a stream that winds through the forest before dramatically plunging over the rocky ledge and cascading down into a pool at the bottom.

You must hike along a fairly easy trail about 2 miles long to reach the waterfall. The trail is well-maintained but can be steep in places and requires scrambling over rocks and roots.

Once you reach the overlook, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the cascading water and the surrounding forest. There are plenty of opportunities for photography and taking in the beauty of nature.

Big Cedar Creek Falls                               

a wide low Virginia waterfall flowing down into a large pool with a person skipping rocks in the foreground
Big Cedar Creek Falls has spacious parking and is an easy walk making it great for the whole family to enjoy.     Credit: Sabrina Losey Felicelli

Address: 891 State Park Road, Lebanon, VA

Parking: Spacious parking lot. Walk over the bridge from the lot to the trail. 

Hiking Difficulty: Easy-main falls are 1 mile in.

Big Falls, or Big Cedar Creek Falls, is in the Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve. It’s only 12 feet tall, but its impressive width, beautiful swimming hole, and cascading waters make this a waterfall your whole family will love.

The easy one-mile trail runs parallel to Big Cedar Creek most of the way ( it may be flooded at the beginning after raining). However, you can climb alongside the trail and keep going.

The Pinnacle State Natural Area Preserve is an 800-acre gem located near Lebanon. The preserve offers diverse natural wonders, including:

  • Scenic overlooks
  • Unique rock formations
  • Tranquil streams
  • Waterfalls 

You could easily spend all day exploring the four miles of trails in the preserve!

Blue Suck Falls  

a slow trickle of a waterfall hidden beneath a canopy of trees flows down across a rock face
Blue Suck Falls has a difficult hike to reach it. This is for the able-bodied only.   Credit: Albert Herring

Address: 14239 Douthat State Park Rd, Millboro, Virginia 24460

Parking: You will want to park at the Discovery Center/Amphitheater parking lot. This is located near the children’s fishing area. You’ll easily spot the trailhead for Blue Suck Falls towards the left side, marked with clear signage. Unlike many other waterfall hikes, parking at this lot is a breeze, making your adventure all the more enjoyable.

Hiking Difficulty: Difficult- 8.9-mile loop

Blue Suck Falls is located in Douthat State Park, established in 1936 as one of Virginia’s first six state parks. The loop trail that passes through the area crosses Stony Run Creek several times without bridges, so wearing appropriate footwear is important. 

Blue Suck Falls is one of Virginia’s top day waterfall hikes and for a good reason. This trail is full of natural beauty, from the tumbling cascades to the dense rhododendron thickets. Plus, there are plenty of incredible viewpoints along the way, which make for breathtaking photo ops.

Now, fair warning, this hike isn’t for the faint of heart. The loop covers almost 10 miles and involves an elevation gain of 1,700 feet, so you’ll want to set aside a full day to tackle it. But trust us. The effort is more than worth it!

Although both narrow waterfalls drop about 50 feet, Blue Suck Falls has three distinct cascades. If you’re planning your trip, we recommend visiting in the spring or early summer after a good rainfall, as there are scarcely any falls if the runs are dry. And, of course, you’ll want to wait for a clear and sunny day to make the most of the multiple overlooks. 

If you’re looking for a unique–and luxurious–retreat after chasing Virginia waterfalls, consider the historic Hillcrest Mansion Inn in Clifton Forge. One of the oldest and grandest homes in the area is now a B&B. All seven guest rooms have private bathrooms and feather-down, pillow-top mattresses. 

Every day is a different three to five-course breakfast, wine on the porch, a nightcap, and chocolates! This place is an absolute treasure!

Cascade Falls 

amid fall colors, water cascades down crashing on the rocks below then flowing down the rock face into the pool below.
Cascade Falls are the most beautiful in Virginia and perhaps the east coast.       Credit: Forest Wander

Address: 2068 Cascade Dr, Pembroke, VA 24136 

Parking: You’ll find plenty of parking at the USDA Forest Service-managed Day Use area. Upon arriving at the parking area, utilize the honor system by placing $3 in the envelope provided and tearing off the receipt to display on your dashboard. 

Hiking Difficulty: Easy to Moderate. This is a 4-mile loop hike that is on a well-trodden path.

While Crabtree Falls may be the tallest, the falls with one of the largest draws is Cascade Falls.

The 66’ Cascades Falls draw about 150,000 visitors annually, And it’s no wonder why. Cascade Falls is one of the most gorgeous waterfalls in Virginia and, quite possibly, on the entire East Coast.

When you visit, you’ll be amazed by Little Stony Creek as it pours over a vertical cliff in several different streams. You’ll witness several streams that drop a couple of times on the way down while others fall the entire distance of the falls.

The falls stand tall at 66 ft. and crash into a large pool surrounded by towering 200 ft. cliff walls. During winter, you can witness large ice formations hanging from the walls. It’s a breathtaking and peaceful scene as the falls showcase brute force and elegance.

Don’t worry about missing out on any of the action because the falls are easily accessible with wooden stairs and platforms to the side of the pool. This will allow you to get up close and personal with the falls and give photographers plenty of angles to take amazing photographs. 

Cascade Falls is a great place to bring the family for an easy-to-moderate hike.

Chestnut Creek Falls

a low Virginia waterfall of churning water flows down into a sunlit stream
Chestnut Creek Falls is an easy hike with plentiful wildlife that the whole family can enjoy.     Credit: Virginia State Parks

Address: 116 Orphanage Dr., Max Meadows, VA 24360

Parking: The closest parking is where the trail intersects with Chestnut Creek at Iron Ridge Road (607). In New River Trail State Park.  Daily Fee. 

Hiking Difficulty: Easy–2 miles in and back. 

Chestnut Creek Falls is another easy waterfall to hike to, making it suitable for all family members. Even though it’s not the tallest (25ft) waterfall out there, the location is beautiful and great for walking or hiking to enjoy wildlife and wildflowers. 

Chestnut Creek Falls along the New River Trail is an awesome 57-mile State Park that follows a retired railroad. Along the way, you’ll see the beautiful and historic New River for 39 miles, passing through four counties. The trail is flat and perfect for hiking, biking, or horseback riding. 

A small trail leads to the falls and is an easy hike through the forest. Visitors can enjoy views of the falls from various lookout points and take a dip in the pool at the base of the falls if the weather is warm enough because that mountain water can be chilly.

Comers Creek Falls

water flowing down a rocky face beginning at a small point but gets wider as it moves down toward the pool below
Comers Creek Falls is a great place to relax and enjoy nature.      Credit: Mark Milburn

Address: State Rt. 16 near Troutdale

Parking: The best place to park is a gravel parking lot off Route 16 near Dickey Gap (on the right coming from Marion & on the left coming from Independence). Park and cross the road to the Hurricane Campground. Look for an Appalachian Trail sign on the left ( hundred feet down the road).

Hiking Difficulty: Easy- 3 miles in and out. 

Comers Creek Falls in Smyth County, Virginia, is a scenic waterfall known for its beauty and is a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The waterfall is on Comers Creek, a North Fork Holston River tributary.

You can enjoy hiking, exploring the surrounding forests, fishing in the creek, and observing local wildlife. The waterfall is best viewed after a period of rainfall when the water flow is at its highest.

And if you like high-flowing water and getting out on it, check out our guide to white water rafting in neighboring West Virginia.

Devil’s Bathtub

a small waterfall drops churning white water into a rock pool of aqua colored water
Devil’s Bathtub is one of the most popular spots in southwest Virginia.

Address: Devils Fork Loop Trail, Duffield, VA 24244. 

Parking: When you reach the trail kiosk for the Devil’s Fork Trailhead, make a right turn to access the trail. You will come to a fork with the back parking lot on your left and the gravel trail on your right. To avoid getting in trouble, it is best to avoid parking on private property or between the designated no-parking signs.

Hiking Difficulty:  Moderate/Difficult. It is 3.2 miles out and back from the parking lot.

The trail to Devil’s Bathtub is perfect for backcountry enthusiasts who aren’t afraid to get their feet wet. Don’t forget to pack your scrambling skills; you’ll need them to navigate boulders and obstacles. Plan to hike during low water conditions to maximize your visit. The higher the water levels, the more challenging the hike.

The trail is considered moderate/difficult, and you should be prepared for a strenuous hike, including steep climbs and rocky terrain.

The trail’s highlight is the awe-inspiring Devil’s Bathtub, an unforgettable naturally smooth swimming hole. Depending on the depth of the water and time of day, you may have a hard time NOT taking pictures. It’s that beautiful.

Crossing the creek, you’ll see a signpost with two options, left or right. The mileage isn’t marked. To the right is a 7-mile round trip with no creek crossings, while the left is a shorter, more heavily traveled trail with 13 creek crossings.

Did you know that this hike also offers the opportunity to witness the stunning Jones Hollow Falls, located on a tributary of Devil’s Fork? It’s a two-falls-for-one-hike deal!

Don’t let the popularity of the trail get you down. Weekdays are the perfect time to visit Devil’s Bathtub, where you’ll have more space to enjoy the beauty and serenity of this Virginia waterfall. 

There isn’t much civilization around this area.  So if you need some good eatin’ before or after your hike, we love the Front Porch Store and Deli in the little town of Fort Blackmore (just a few miles south of the trailhead). 

This little gem serves meatloaf, grilled cheese, homemade soup, sandwiches, tots, fruit, ice cream, and cold drinks.  And trust me, try the cookies!

Falls Ridge Preserve

tall Virginia waterfall with water dropping down a beaten rock face
Falls Ridge Preserve is an easy hike with a majestic view!

Address: Falls Ridge Rd, Elliston, VA 24087.  

Parking: Park your car at the dirt and gravel parking lot at Falls Ridge Preserve. Your vehicle will be just a few steps away from the trailhead, situated near a large trail kiosk at the back of the lot.

Hiking Difficulty: Easy. This waterfall hike in Virginia is a simple, 1-mile loop.

Falls Ridge Preserve is 655 acres of outdoor fun and features a majestic 80-foot travertine waterfall, which is fed by a natural spring. The preserve is nestled in a steep, rugged ridge that rises up from the valley of the North Fork of the Roanoke River.

One of the coolest things about Falls Ridge Preserve is the Salem Fault that runs through it, creating two different rock types: Precambrian limestone and shale/sandstone. The resulting difference in soil types gives rise to a rich diversity of vegetation, including an abundance of wildflowers and smaller flora.

The travertine falls are a marvel of nature. Over thousands of years, minerals and lime dissolved in the water gradually built up on the rocks, creating a beautiful and unique geological formation.

This process steepened the stream’s gradient, resulting in the breathtaking waterfall that you see today. Falls Ridge Preserve is also home to one of the largest exposed travertine deposits.

Finally, if you’re an adventure-seeker, you’ll be excited to learn that large sinkholes in the area indicate the presence of unexplored underlying caverns.

As of this writing, the preserve is currently closed to the public to repair the trails and let nature back in where overuse has left its mark. You can check the status of the repairs by writing vapreservestewards@tnc.org or calling Falls Ridge at 434-951-057.

Falls Ridge is not far from Blacksburg, VA.  Though famous for the University, the town has a lot to offer.  We love visiting the Smithfield Plantation.  Like Williamsburg, Smithfield has costumed interpreters that tell the history of colonial America, westward expansion, African slavery, and Native Americans. History, education, and fun meet here.

Falling Springs Falls

a tall waterfall cascades to the rocks below amid fall-colored foliage
Falling Springs Falls is very popular with photographers–and you can see why!       Credit: David Samuel

Address: Near the intersection of Rd. 640 and  Route 220 Falling Spring, VA 24445.  

Parking: There is a small parking area and a short paved walk to the falls.

Hiking Difficulty:  Easy. No hike is required, and it is a short distance from the parking lot, making this a very accessible waterfall in Virginia.

Falling Spring Falls is a gorgeous 80-foot waterfall and a popular spot for Virginia waterfall lovers and photographers alike. You can find it on Route 220 in Alleghany County, just a quick five-mile drive north of Covington, Virginia. 

The property has recently undergone extensive renovations to make your visit more enjoyable. You can safely stop and enjoy the stunning view from the newly improved overlook and picnic area. This waterfall is accessible to everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. 

Just a quick note of caution, though – while it may be tempting to venture beyond the overlook to explore the falls up close, it’s illegal and dangerous. Please respect the posted signs and fence, and remember that violators are subject to fines.

Falls of Dismal

Wide, step-like waterfall drops into a pool with a large log lying nearly across the waterfall
Falls of Dismal has an easy, accessible hike and is popular for swimming and fishing.

Address: 395 Dismal Creek Rd, Pearisburg, VA

Parking: From I-77: Exit 52 towards Bland, VA, and make a right onto Highway 42. Travel 14 miles along Highway 42 and turn left on SR 606. Continue one mile and take a right onto SR 671/FR 201 (Dismal Creek Road). The parking lot is one more mile ahead on the right side of the road.

Hiking Difficulty: Easy. It is only a 0.1-mile walk from the end of the road, making it accessible to all.

You’ll find the Falls of Dismal an hour from Blacksburg, and just a short drive from the White Gate community in Pearisburg lies a hidden gem – a 40 ft. wide waterfall that drops into a single whirlpool.  

Don’t worry if you’re not a seasoned hiker. This trail is easy and perfect for those who want to stay near the beaten path. 

When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a stunning sight. The left side of the falls has step-like ledges, while the middle and right are more of a straight drop. If you visit during low water levels, you’ll be able to see the middle and right ledges in all their glory as the stream narrows. Although the stream is quite broad, the falls are surrounded by trees that cast shade for most of the day. But don’t worry, this just adds to the picturesque setting.

In addition to hiking, Dismal Falls is a popular spot for fishing and swimming. Anglers can fish for trout and other species in the river below the falls, while swimmers can cool off in the pool at the base of the falls during the warmer months.

Little Stoney Falls

a tree-covered stream gives way to a split Virginia waterfall flowing down the rocks into a dark pool
Little Stoney Falls is in an area popular for hiking and photography.

Address: Forest Rd 701, Dungannon, VA 24245

Parking: Park at the Hanging Rock Recreation Area. This is a day-use area within the Jefferson National Forest. There are at least 20 parking spaces. 

Hiking Difficulty: Moderate–4.8 miles roundtrip. The trail follows Little Stony Creek through a gorge along an old railroad bed.

Little Stoney Falls is a picturesque waterfall located in Scott County, Virginia. It is another hidden gem in the Jefferson National Forest, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers, hikers, and bird watchers.

The waterfall is approximately 25 feet tall and features a series of cascading waterfalls that make for a beautiful sight. The area around the waterfall is also full of scenic trails that can be enjoyed by hikers and photographers. 

To get to Little Stoney Falls, take the Little Stony National Recreation Trail, a moderate hiking trail almost 3 miles long to reach the falls. The trail winds through lush forests, across streams and bridges, and offers excellent views of the surrounding landscape.

For those who enjoy swimming, the pool at the waterfall’s base is a popular spot to cool off during the warmer months. Fishing is also permitted in Little Stony Creek, which runs through the area.

Roaring Run Falls

a churning white waterfall splits in two as it flows down shaded rocks and then flows across more water beaten rocks
Roaring Run Falls has an easy 2-mile hike, perfect for a family outing.

Address: 50 Roaring Run Rd, Eagle Rock, VA 24085

Parking: Upon arriving at the Roaring Run Day Use Area, navigate the back of the site to discover a generously-sized gravel parking lot. Restroom and picnic tables are available. 

Hiking Difficulty: Easy. Roaring Run Loop trail is approx. 2 miles. 

If you’ve been looking for a fun and easy hike for the whole family, Roaring Run Falls might just be the spot for you! Just a short drive west of Eagle Rock, this hike is perfect for all levels of hikers.

The 1.7-mile loop trail within Jefferson National Forest will take you on a scenic journey alongside the cascading Roaring Run to the majestic waterfall. You’ll get to cross bridges, climb steps, stroll across wooden boardwalks, and even learn about the historic iron furnace that dates back to the 1800s.

The hike starts on the Streamside Trail and ends on the Woodland Trail before taking you back to the trail kiosk and parking area. Just a heads up, an Iron Ore Trail leads to Hoop Hole, but not Roaring Run Hoop Hole Trail. Sticking to the main loop trail is best to avoid any confusion.

This trail is well taken care of and offers gorgeous views of the falls and the surrounding mountains. There are several nice cascades and slides along the creek. Just an all-around great hike, easily making our top waterfalls in Virginia list.

Stiles Falls

A tall shaded waterfall flowing down a rock face to a large pool of water below. Waterfalls in Virginia come in a variety of sizes.
Stiles Falls has a moderately difficult trail to reach.

Address: 2842 Crockett Springs Rd, Shawsville, VA 24162.  

Parking: Visitors can park their cars at the entrance of the Camp Alta Mons property and then proceed to the trailhead on foot via the gravel road. The white-blazed trail is easy to locate, with signs guiding the way along the road. The trail spans approximately 1 mile and takes you through multiple crossings over Purgatory Creek before reaching Stiles Falls.

Hiking Difficulty: Moderate. The waterfall hike is 3.2 miles out and back, with easy to moderate terrain.  

Explore the beautiful Stiles Falls on a 3.2-mile round-trip hike at Camp Alta Mons in Shawsville, Virginia. Admire the breathtaking 40-foot waterfall that is the centerpiece of this moderate hike. Park your vehicle at the front of the Camp Alta Mons property and follow the signs along the gravel road to the blazed white trailhead.

The trail features multiple crossings over Purgatory Creek, occasional steep inclines, and rock hopping, so wear appropriate footwear. Leashed dogs are welcome on this trail. 

Except during severe winter weather or when Camp Alta Mons is hosting summer camps, this trail is open to the public daily. With an average completion time of 1 hour and 15 minutes, this is a popular trail for hiking and running, although you can still enjoy some peace and solitude during quieter times of the day. The best time to visit this trail is from April to October, prime time for waterfalls in Virginia.

Luggage Service

Whether you’re flying into VA or taking the train, you may need a place to store your luggage before you can check into your hotel, or after you check out of your hotel well before your plane is scheduled to depart. One excellent option I love is a luggage storage service. And there’s no better service than Radical Storage which offers you freedom and peace of mind for as little as $6 a day. 

Just find the closest location, book online, store your luggage, and go!

 

FAQs About Waterfalls in Virginia

What is the largest waterfall in Virginia?

Crabtree Falls is a legit contender for the title of the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi! Of course, there’s always some debate about measuring, but one thing’s for sure – Crabtree Falls is undoubtedly the highest waterfall in Virginia!

Where are the most waterfalls in Virginia?

Shenandoah National Park’s Whiteoak Canyon is a waterfall paradise! There are so many waterfalls that tracking them all is nearly impossible. As you hike along the Whiteoak Canyon Trail, you’ll be treated to a series of waterfalls numbered in order. They tumble and cascade through the gorge of Whiteoak Run, and in between them, you’ll also find some smaller cascades. If you’re a waterfall lover, add this spot to your list!

What is the biggest waterfall in Shenandoah National Park?

Overall Run Falls is the biggest waterfall in all of Shenandoah National Park. You’ll need to hike through a federally designated Wilderness area to get there, but trust me – it’s worth it! When you finally reach the viewing area, you’ll be treated to a stunning sight – the highest waterfall in the park, which stands at an impressive 93 feet! If there wasn’t enough rain, the water flow might be minimal or non-existent. But even so, the hike is worth it for the stunning scenery along the way!

How many waterfalls are in Shenandoah National Park?

There are a whopping 13 waterfalls scattered across Shenandoah National Park. We’ve picked out what we consider to be the eight best ones to explore, but if you’re a true-blue waterfall fanatic, you might want to challenge yourself to see them all! Trust me; it’s a challenge that’s worth taking on – each of these waterfalls has its unique charm and beauty that will take your breath away. 

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