11 Best Waterfall Hikes in Virginia

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Virginia is a state with many amazing historical sights to offer, but it also features lush forests, mountain views, geologic wonders, and plenty of waterfalls to see as well. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite 11 waterfall hikes in Virginia (not in Shenandoah National Park) to provide some extra info and advice for anyone looking to get out into the wilderness and explore some of the natural wonders of this state. 

Let me know in the comment section what are your favorite waterfall hikes in Virginia!

Before you leave for your hike, here are a few things to remember:

  • Don’t forget to brush up on the 7 Leave No Trace Principles
  • Some of these hikes have other trailheads or starting points. The information and trailhead below are what I’ve done.
  • Last but not least, don’t forget to bring the Ten Essentials. I’ve linked all the things I bring and wear on day hikes if you are interested: click here.

Here are Breathtaking Waterfall Hikes in Virginia:

1. Big falls - Lebanon, virginia

Waterfall Hikes in Virginia

Length: 3.7 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 301 ft
Terrain: Easy walk
Dog friendly: Yes
Parking: Free parking, accessed by a gravel road that is passable by low-clearance vehicles.
Get Directions: click here

The Big Falls via Pinnacle trail is an easy, family-friendly waterfall hike in Virginia, and it is also an excellent choice for newer hikers. This trail guides hikers through a diverse forest with rare plants and unique geology and is a great year-round hiking option. The Big Falls trail includes several optional side trails that branch off the main trail, including the Pinnacle View Trail.

Pro tip: Bring a picnic! There’s a beach-like area where you can enjoy a picnic while admiring the waterfall!

2. Roaring Run Waterfalls - eagle rock, virginia

Waterfall Hikes in Virginia

Length: 1.7 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 364 ft
Terrain: Dirt trails
Dog friendly: Yes
Parking: Free parking
Get Directionsclick here

The Roaring Run Hoop Hole Trail is one of my favorite family-friendly waterfall hikes in Virginia. This well-maintained trail features beautiful scenery, multiple waterfalls, and interesting history. Not only is it suitable for all skill levels, but it is also accessible year-round. Picnic tables and grill are available near the trailhead to enjoy a snack or lunch after a hike.

Pro tip: Hike this trail clockwise to avoid an uphill slog through the woods!

3. Devil's Bathtub - Fort Blackmore, Virginia

Waterfall Hikes in Virginia

Length: 3.9 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult (depending on the season)
Elevation Gain: 590 ft
Terrain: Dirt, rock trail with some creek crossing
Dog friendly: Yes
Parking: Free parking, road to the trailhead can be washed out at times. You can park along the dirt road leading to the trailhead but should NOT park between the no parking signs or on private property. There is an overflow parking lot (for 60 cars) along the main road.
Get Directions: click here

The Devils Bathtub Trail requires some technical skill and agility due to the multiple creek crossings and rocky features. If the idea of numerous creek crossings gives you pause, bring trekking poles on this hike, and wear water shoes. I’ve seen people slip and slide while crossing the creeks. Hikers love picnicking and jumping into the “Bathtub.” And if you are wondering if the water is cold, yes, it is but refreshing after a long hike.

Pro tip: Be aware of the weather forecast when making plans to hike this trail, and don’t attempt to hike if the water is above your knees. The swimming hole is prone to flash flooding.

4. Cascades Falls - Pembroke, Virginia

Waterfall Hikes in Virginia

Length: 3.8 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 590 ft
Terrain: Dirt & rock trail
Dog friendly: Yes
Parking: $3 parking fee
Get Directions: click here

The Cascades Falls Trail is a rocky trail that follows a shaded creek to a 66-foot waterfall. It is a family-friendly waterfall hike in Virginia accessible year-round, and it’s exceptionally breathtaking in the fall when the leaves are changing. This is one of the most popular waterfall hikes in Virginia, so arrive early if you plan to do it on the weekends. After taking in the beauty of the waterfall, proceed to Barney’s Wall to see 700’ foot sheer cliffs with incredible views of the New River Valley.

Pro tip: Bring trekking poles in the winter, as this trail can become pretty icy.

5. Saint Mary’s Falls - Raphine, Virginia

Waterfall Hikes in Virginia

Length: 4.3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 305 ft
Terrain: Dirt & rock trail
Dog friendly: Yes
Parking: Free parking
Get Directions: click here

The Saint Mary’s Falls Trail features multiple river crossings and ends at a gorgeous waterfall with a couple of swimming holes to cool off during the summer. When crossing the river, be prepared to get your feet wet, depending on the water level. The trail can be challenging for newer hikers, as it requires a good eye for route-finding due to sparse trail markers. Enjoy hiking this trail surrounded by Mountain Laurel, Oak, and American Chestnut trees. 

Pro tip: Keep a lookout for remnants of historic mines in the area. The water can be pretty chilly, so pack a towel and extra clothes!

6. Upper Little Stony Falls - Dungannon, Virginia

Waterfall hikes in Virginia

Length: 0.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 55 ft
Terrain: Dirt & rock trail with stairs
Dog friendly: Yes, leashed dogs are welcome
Parking: Free parking
Get Directions: click here

The Little Stony Falls Trail features a 24-foot waterfall, scenic views of deep gorges, and lush forest. It is family-friendly and is accessible year-round. Hikers love picnicking and swimming at Little Stony Falls in the summer, and this is also an excellent spot for viewing fall colors. 

Pro tip: Little Stony Falls is popular with photographers, so bring your camera and get some beautiful waterfall shots!

7. Apple Orchard Falls - Buchanan, Virginia

Waterfall hikes in Virginia

Length: 2.5 miles
Difficulty: Difficult
Elevation Gain: 994 ft
Terrain: Dirt & rock trail with stairs
Dog friendly: Yes
Parking: Free parking. 
Get Directions: click here

The Apple Orchard Falls Trail is a rocky trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway that features a waterfall and rolling mountain views. The best time to hike this trail is between April and October. Be prepared for the water levels of the falls to vary throughout the seasons. Visit in the spring to see wildflowers blooming. 

Seasonal Road Closure: Weather conditions, maintenance, or emergency events may cause temporary road closures along the parkway. For more information, please visit: https://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm

8. Crabtree Falls - Tyro, Virginia

Waterfall Hikes in Virginia

Length: 2.8 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,072 ft
Terrain: Rocky and narrow
Dog friendly: Yes
Parking: $3 Fee to enter lot
Get Directione: click here

The Crabtree Falls Trail is another popular hike, and it is the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. This trail has several overlooks that hikers use to watch the different portions of the falls and take sweeping views of the Tye River Valley, and is accessible year-round from dawn to dusk. The trail can get muddy and slippery after heavy rain, so be aware of your footing. The lower part of the trail leading to the first viewpoint of the lower falls is paved and is wheelchair accessible during dry conditions.

Pro tip: Wear a waterproof shoes to keep your feet warm and dry!

9. Stiles Falls - Shawsville, Virginia

Waterfall Hikes in Virginia

Length: 3.2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 328 ft
Terrain: Dirt and rock trail, narrow in some spot
Dog friendly: Yes
Parking: Free parking
Get Directions: click here

The Stiles Falls Trail is a well-maintained trail that requires a bit of technical hiking skill, as it gets steeper and narrower and involves some rock scrambling as you get closer to the falls. This trail features creek crossings and ample opportunities for wildlife sightings. 

Hiking to the falls is open to the public everyday, except during summer camp, winter camp and bad weather (snow and ice). 

10. Panther Falls - Amherst, Virginia

Waterfall hikes in VIrginia

Length: 0.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 29 ft
Terrain: Dirt and rock trail, with creek crossings
Dog friendly: Yes
Parking: Free parking
Get Directions: click here

The Panther Falls Trail is an easy trail and well-suited for all skill levels. Bring a swimsuit on this hike – Hikers love jumping from the rock shelf beside this 10-foot cascade waterfall into the swimming hole below. Panther Falls is popular, so expect crowds during the summer and on holiday weekends. Though this trail is accessible year-round, it is primarily best enjoyed between June and October.

Pro tip: The road to the trailhead features some exposure and can be challenging for low-clearance vehicles.

11. White Rock Falls - Montebello, Virginia

Waterfall hikes in VIrginia

Length: 4.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,023 ft
Terrain: Dirt with some rock scrambling
Dog friendly: Yes
Parking: Free parking
Get Directions: click here

The White Rock Falls Trail features lush forest, panoramic mountain views, and waterfalls. This trail is best enjoyed between April until September and may not be suitable for beginner hikers, as it requires some routfinding ability. Hikers love this trail for the scenic overlooks and recommend bring a picnic to enjoy near the falls.

Whether you are looking to hike to a magnanimous 66-foot waterfall like Cascades Falls, or are just looking for an easy walk to a cascade with a swimming hole like Panther Falls, Virginia has plenty to offer. Which trail will you include in your next waterfall hikes in Virginia?

Meet Sunshine
and Sancho

I’m so glad you’re here (and so is Sancho). I’m Sunshine! A Virginia-based travel enthusiast on the hunt for cozy stays, great views, unique experiences, and dog-friendly adventures. Sancho and I have spent the past 3 years exploring Virginia (and beyond) in order to share our favorite places and uncover hidden gems.

Join us on a journey to get out of our comfort zone, take the road less traveled, and explore alongside our furry family members.

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4 Responses

  1. I follow you on Instagram and I really love the places you visit! I definitely have some on them on my bucket list.

  2. So excited for these,, I just created a google list of all of these will keep you posted of which we hit this year and what we think!!

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