I may be a little bias when I say this, but Virginia is probably the most beautiful state in the country. Virginia is full of state parks and the trees are what make this state so intriguing. And the waterfalls, they are absolutely stunning. They are no Niagara Falls by any means, but waterfalls don’t have to be a huge tourist attraction to be admired. So Jake and I set out on a quick ride on our motorcycle to tour some of the many waterfalls Virginia has to offer.
Our trip began in Northern Virginia, we took all back roads which made our trip a little longer, but we were able to stay off of the major highways and enjoy the scenic route down to our first waterfall of the weekend. One scenic town we passed through was Hot Springs, Virginia, where The Omni Homestead Resort surprised us. We were in the middle no nowhere, when it just appeared…
Falling Spring Falls, Covington, Virginia
Our first stop was at Falling Spring Falls in Covington, Virginia, off Interstate 64. With an 80 foot drop, this waterfall was breathtaking! The rumor is Thomas Jefferson use to frequent these falls and was mesmerized by their beauty. The falls use to be some 200 feet high, but because of some mining, the falls were altered and redirected to where they are today. The rendering to the left is what the falls were said to have looked like before they were altered. We happened to take our trip after some major storms and flooding in the area, so the falls were overflowing with water but left us with some spectacular views. If you are ballsy enough, you can pass the warning signs to keep out to walk down to the bottom of the falls, where you can swim. But beware, you can be fined if caught going beyond the “Keep Out” signs posted by the Douthat State Park.
There was a little picnic area here as well, were we ate lunch. Since we were going to be camping that night, Jake had pre-made and packaged all of our food to heat up easily. We used our little BioLite Camp Stove to heat up Miso Soup, right by the waterfall in the trees.
Roaring Run and Furnace Trail, Eagle Rock, Virginia
And then on we traveled, about 23 miles to Roaring Run, in Eagle Rock, Virginia, our favorite waterfall of the weekend. On a typical day, people are able to hike the 1.5 looped trail up and back from the falls. The stream side of the trail takes you up the stream, across a few bridges, and leads you right to the falls.
On a normal day the falls and stream looking something like this:
Very beautiful, I agree. However, after the rain and flooding the surrounding area received recently, we were in for a one in a lifetime experience see Roaring Run at it’s utmost gushing glory:
The falls were so loud, we had to yell to speak to one another. It was absolutely beautiful to see what nature is capable of producing.
At the beginning of the trail loop, there is a beautiful historic iron furnace. Roaring Run Creek played a huge part in the making iron in the 1800s; the water turned the wheel which drove the bellows, which kept the fire hot enough to create iron. To put it into layman’s terms, it’s one big ass oven.
As we were leaving Roaring Run, we decided to head to a campground and hit up more waterfalls bright and early the next morning. So off we went to The Buckhorne Country Store and Campground in Clifton Forge, Virginia. This was a great little campground to crash for the night. They were super accommodating, and even had a little Hershey’s Ice Cream store inside that Jake and I dove into after we were unpacked and set up.
I recommend this campground to anyone traveling through the area and need a place to crash for the night (with a tent or camper of course). There is a creek across the street from the campground that is pretty easy to get to, a bathhouse (which was so nice after a long day), and a convenient store. They also gave us a hefty amount of firewood for the price. We had a nice fire going by nightfall which was relaxing as the temperature dropped.
We packed everything we needed for the two days in our Road Glide, and even used one of the saddle bags as a makeshift cooler for some drinks at the campground.
Natural Bridge & Lace Falls, Natural Bridge, Virginia
The next morning we packed up and headed out early for a 45 minute drive to Natural Bridge and Lace Falls, in Natural Bridge, Virginia. Natural Bridge is said to be one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World,” definitely over shadowing Lace Falls, standing at 215 feet high and 90 feet across. About a mile’s walk up from Natural Bridge, is the 50 foot Lace Falls.
To be honest, I was somewhat disappointed in these falls (seen right), as you couldn’t get all that close due to the path ending and there being no other way to get closer to the falls. So we felt a bit gypped. However, the walk up to the falls is right beside Cedar Creek (which flows down under Natural Bridge and eventually into the James River) and was very beautiful. Also along the path up to the falls is a Monacan Indian Nation village. Visitors to the Natural Bridge and Lace Falls have the opportunity to learn about how the Monacan Indians cooked, made pottery, gardened, etc. The Monacan Indians considered Natural Bridge “The Bridge of God” soon after they had invaded enemy lands.
Half way between Natural Bridge and Lace Falls is The Lost River. Although it is not very big or very glamorous, it is quite mysterious. The source of its waters is unknown, even after many years of research and study. In 1812, some nearby workers heard the water from the river and blasted open an opening near Natural Bridge, but the source was never determined.
(The Lost River)
It was a nice two mile walk though, and getting to the trail you have walk down, and then back up when your done, like a million stairs. There is access for those who are handicapped too. Back up at the visitor center, you can buy some lunch and snacks, use the restroom, and shop in the store. You can also tour the caverns if you have the time; Jake and I didn’t tour them, as we still wanted to hit up one last Waterfall before our trip was over.
Crabtree Falls, Montebello, Virginia
About an hour’s drive from Natural Bridge, you come to a parking lot in Montebello, Virginia, leading to Crabtree Falls. At a total distance of 1,200 feet, Crabtree Falls was by far the most vigorous to get to. There is a series of five major falls, and a few smaller ones, that make up what is known as Crabtree Falls. The final overlook is up a two and a half mile trail, but the first is only a few hundred feet from the parking lot.
I was not all that happy to be hiking that day, it was HAWT and humid and there were quite a few people on the trail. But Jake convinced me to go up to the top with him, and the views were definitely worth it. Be mindful of the signs to stay on the path, many people have lost their lives (about 30 since 1982) from slipping and falling off the cliffs and rocks.
The view from the top was spectacular! There were quite a few people at the top too, some were even
being idiots and walking out on the rocks beyond the safe zone. There haven’t been any deaths so far this year, knock on wood, at Crabtree Falls, but a couple people did die in 2015, and the toll is about 30 now. So as much as I’m down to take risks, that was one warning I listened to.
Overall our trip was pretty fun for two days and one night. It was a little different to put everything we needed in the tour pack on our bike and pack as light as we could; minimalist camping. But it was good practice…
In the case you are wanting to spend a weekend or a few days traveling to the waterfalls in Virginia, I put together a list and their addresses, as well as a link to each.
Southwestern Virginia Waterfall Information: