Are you ready to explore some of the best waterfalls in Virginia? The Old Dominion State has many amazing waterfalls for you to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a fun and adventurous hike to a waterfall, something dog-friendly, something right off of the road, or maybe even something off the beaten path, you are sure to find it!
Virginia is a lovely state known for its stunning natural beauty. You may have heard before that Virginia is for lovers. This is so true! Virginia is a wonderful place to honeymoon or to travel as a couple. For family travelers, you can rest assured that you can find waterfalls in Virginia that work for children of all ages and abilities as well. No matter which waterfalls you choose to visit you are sure to have a great time exploring the great outdoors! Which of these waterfalls will you visit first?
14 Best Waterfalls In Virginia You Shouldn’t Miss
Crabtree Falls is one of the very best waterfalls in Virginia! It has the highest vertical drop of any waterfall east of the Mississippi River. You can find Crabtree Falls just six miles off of the Blue Ridge Parkway close to milepost 27 in Nelson County, Virginia. One of the coolest things about this waterfall is that it has five main cascades along with multiple smaller cascades as well. The water cascades down a total of 1,200 feet!
You will take the Crabtree Falls Trail and will arrive at the first overlook in just a few hundred feet. The trail is paved and is doable for people of different ability levels and ages. You can stop at the first overlook as it makes a great place to stretch your legs if you have been riding in the car for a long time, or you can continue along the trail. The trail is two and a half miles and has five overlooks. For dog owners, you will be happy to know that this trail and waterfall are dog-friendly!
Dark Hollow Falls
The beautiful Dark Hollow Falls is one of the very best waterfall hikes in Virginia! You will be blown away by the natural beauty of this waterfall and the area surrounding it. This short 1.4-mile trail will take you between one and two hours to complete depending on your fitness level. Although this trail is short, it is ranked as moderate on the hiking difficulty scale as the trail is very steep and you will have to traverse rocky terrain. You will gain approximately 440 feet of elevation on the Dark Hollow Falls Trail.
You will find the parking lot for this trailhead and waterfall at the Dark Hollow Falls parking lot at mile 50.7. From there, you will go descended for about 0.70-mile until you reach the falls and you will go back up to the parking lot the same way. Unfortunately, this waterfall isn’t pet-friendly and its difficulty level may make it not the best waterfall for those visiting with young kids. This trail is open year-round, however, it is particularly wonderful in the summer when you can wade into the pool below the waterfall. If you have been looking for waterfalls in northern Virginia, Dark Hollow Falls is the way to go!
This seventy-five-foot waterfall is in Washington County, Virginia, and is a bit tricky to see with your own eye. Why? It’s located on private property, but don’t be upset, you can apply online for a hiking permit on their website. Hikers are allowed to see the waterfall on a limited basis. This barrier can be annoying, but going through the process to obtain a hiking permit is worth it! The waterfall is a beautiful and dramatic natural wonder surrounded by untouched wilderness.
The area around Abrams Falls is stunning! The waterfall dumps water into a natural amphitheater made of rock and the mist from the falls sprays onto the surrounding surfaces making the foliage vibrant green. After the major 75 foot drop, the water cascades down a small cascade that is roundly fifteen feet. After that, the water makes its way down to Abrams Creek. It is so important to protect this waterfall and its surroundings. The owners of the land have done a great job at monitoring who can come onto their property to see the falls. Over the years, surveys have been done and they have found that there are rare plants in the area. It’s very important to protect the plant life and to not trespass on private property!
Falling Spring Falls
When it comes to memorable and breathtaking waterfalls in Virginia, it doesn’t get much better than Falling Spring Falls. This waterfall drops a dramatic eighty feet and is one of the most photographed areas of the Alleghany Highlands. This waterfall is family-friendly, pet-friendly, and wheelchair accessible. Falling Spring Falls is only five miles north of Covington, Virginia on Route 220. There is a small pull-off on 220 where you can park for the waterfall and then it’s a short 0.1 mile to the falls.
During the summer, this is a very popular place to cool off and enjoy the cool mist from the falls. However, swimming is not allowed. You can extend your visit to the falls by enjoying a snack or lunch at the picnic tables. Aside from its beauty, this waterfall has a really interesting history as well. The land that the waterfall is on was a part of a land grant from King George III. Thomas Jefferson, when he was governor of Virginia, famously said that the waterfall was remarkable and that it dropped 200 feet. Despite the discrepancy in size, I think we can all agree that this waterfall is indeed remarkable.
Big Branch Falls
If you are looking to take a day trip to some waterfalls near Richmond, consider Big Branch Falls! The waterfall is roughly an hour and fifty minutes from the city and is located in a beautiful area in Albemarle County. The hike to Big Branch Falls is well-maintained and ranked as easy. This waterfall is really popular and you can expect parking to be limited on the weekends as UVA students, locals, and weekend explorers come to see the falls. Visiting during the week is the best way to ensure you get a parking spot and can enjoy yourself without it being too crowded.
The Big Branch Falls hike is 4.8 miles round trip and is ranked moderate. The trail involves crossing the Moormans River three times. Don’t let this deter you, the river crossings aren’t super difficult. You will find the trailhead just past the Charlottesville Reservoir on Route 614.
If you enjoy seeing locations where movies are filmed, head to the Sugar Hollow Dam on the other side of the reservoir. The dam was in the movie Evan Almighty. Along the trail, you will find views of the river below, the Blue Ridge Crest, and if you’re visiting in the spring, different species of beautiful wildflowers. This is one of the most fun hikes and best waterfalls in Virginia!
Great Falls Park
If you’re looking for hikes near DC with waterfalls, this one is perfect for you! For those who don’t enjoy long hikes, no worries. You can experience the Great Falls via a short ten-minute walk that includes three overlooks of the fall. (The second and third overlooks are handicapped and stroller accessible.) At the first overlook of the Great Falls, you are as close as you can get to the falls. A short dirt trail extends down to a viewing platform where you can get a close look at the falls.
Further down, at the second overlook where you can see the majority of the waterfall from one spot. Then, to the left, there is a small wooden bridge and a staircase that leads to a large viewing platform. At the third overlook, you can see the High Water Marks pole that shows how high floodwaters have reached. Of course, you also get great views of the falls here as well.
The Great Falls Park itself has several other hiking trails to choose from. One of the coolest trails in the park is the River Trail. This trail is 1.5 miles one way and ranked as moderate to difficult. You will find beautiful natural features as you walk along the cliff’s edge and enjoy views of the Potomac and Mather Gorge. A nice and easy trail in Great Falls Park, the Patowmack Canal Trail follows along the remains of a historic canal. This canal was one of the first ones ever built in the United States. This is great for history-focused travelers!
Statons Creek Falls
Statons Creek Falls is located in Vesuvius, Virginia. Of all the waterfalls in Virginia, this may be the best one for travelers looking to see a waterfall without hiking. The waterfall is on CR 633, Fiddlers Green Way. After you turn onto CR 633 from CR 605 you will only have to drive about a mile before you come to the parking area on the side of the road. The upper pool of the falls is super easy to get to from the roadside parking area. It’s not recommended to go down to the lower falls as it is an extremely steep and slippery cliff.
This waterfall is near a stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway that has many overlooks. Buena Vista, Chimney Rock Mountain, and the Irish Creek Valley Overlooks are all near the Statons Creek Falls. Another fun thing to do in the area is to stay at the Oronnoca Campground in Amherst. The campground is just four minutes down the road from the waterfall. The campsites are free, have toilets, and are a great base to stay at to enjoy Statons Creek Falls and everything else the area has to offer.
Rose River Falls
Rose River Falls is one of the coolest waterfalls in Virginia and definitely worth a stop on any Virginia road trip! The majority of the hike out to this waterfall follows the Rose River so you can enjoy the tranquil sounds of the river and beautiful water views on your way out to the waterfall. If you are visiting during the summer, you will be happy to know that there are plenty of places along the trail to wade into the water and then, of course, you can put dip your toes in the water at the base of the Rose River waterfall as well.
The trailhead for the Rose River Falls is off of Skyline Drive. The hike is ranked at a moderate difficulty level and is a 2.6-mile loop trail. The waterfall is 67 foot and you can expect to gain approximately 910 feet of elevation on your way to the falls. For this hike, you should probably plan between four and five hours of hiking time. Of course, you will want to plan for some additional time to rest along the trail and to spend time at the base of the waterfall to enjoy the area.
Are you looking for waterfalls near Roanoke? Stiles Falls is a 3.3-mile out-and-back and is ranked moderate. This waterfall hike is dog-friendly and has a moderate elevation gain of 338 feet. The waterfall can be found at Alta Mons, a summer camp. You will walk along a creek and over dirt and gravel terrain and then at the 1.1-mile mark, you will see a Stiles Falls sign with a map and a bit of history behind the falls. Supposedly this Virginia waterfall got its name from a soldier during the civil war who was swinging around on tree limbs near the falls and fell to his death. His name was Randolph Stiles.
After the Stiles Falls sign, you can expect white blazes to appear along Purgatory Creek for you to follow. There will also be three water crossings while you are following the white blazes. After the water crossing and hiking through the woods, you will begin to see the falls at 1.6 miles. Avoid taking the path on the left, follow the path on the right that will take you on a little rock scramble to the falls.
The waterfall is beautiful and has a great little swimming hole beneath it. There’s nothing better than finding waterfalls in Virginia you can swim in, especially during the summer months! You can easily spend 1.5-2 hours hiking and enjoy the falls. After you’re done exploring the falls you can head to Christiansburg for a bite to eat or anything else you need before hitting the road!
Whiteoak Falls can be reached via a challenging 4.6-mile round trip hike. You can expect to be hiking for between 3.5 and four hours and gaining 1,040 feet in elevation. You will find the trailhead for the waterfall at the Whiteoak Canyon parking area at mile 42.6. Start at the Whiteoak Canyon trail and at about 2.3 miles from the beginning of the trail you will see a rocky ledge where you can get views of the Upper Whiteoak Falls! (Both the Upper and Lower Whiteoak Falls are dog-friendly!)
Another option is to visit the Lower Whiteoak Falls. The hike is on an out-and-back trail that is 2.9 miles. (Keep in mind that you will need to pay $30/vehicle to get to the trailhead and if the parking lot is full, there is an overflow parking lot for $10/vehicle.) The trail is ranked moderate and will take between two and two and half hours to complete. You will cross bridges, go across a small and easy rock scramble, and have opportunities to get close to the water.
Once you get to the Lower Falls, sit and rest in the natural beauty of the Virginia landscape. If you are visiting in the summer, consider stopping to swim in the Whiteoak Canyon swimming hole as the Whiteoak Falls are some of the best waterfalls in Virginia you can swim in!
Apple Orchard Falls
You can find the Apple Orchard Falls in the Goerge Washington & Jefferson National Forests. You will begin your hike to the waterfall at 3500 feet elevation at the Sunset Field Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Once you get on the trail you will pass into the Jefferson National Forest at 0.1 miles, you will cross the Appalachian Trail at 0.2 miles, and a logging road at 0.8 miles. Once you reach the 1.2-mile mark you will begin a steep descent around the waterfall. Then, at 1.4 miles you can look back and get an amazing view of the 200-foot high falls.
A cool option for hiking enthusiasts is to take the Apple Orchard Falls and the Cornelius Creek Trail Loop. When you combine these two trails it is a total of 8.7 miles and 2,168 feet of elevation gain. These hikes combined are ranked from moderate to difficult and will lead you to one of the best waterfalls in Virginia! On this loop trail, you will walk over wooden boardwalks, by babbling brooks, expansive mountain views, and cascading falls!
Are you planning on visiting the Pembroke, Virginia area? If so, you should check out Cascade Falls! When it comes to waterfall hikes in Virginia, this one is amazing! You will see mythical-looking creekbeds surrounded by moss-covered rocks, you’ll hike between rocks and trees, and follow an enchanting rock path to Cascade Falls! This waterfall is breathtaking and definitely worth the hike out to it. Makes sure to bring something to swim in during the summer as this is another one of those waterfalls in Virginia that you can swim in!
This waterfall is open year-round from sunrise to sunset and flush toilets and drinking water is available on site. There is a small fee to enter and park but if you have an America the Beautiful Annual Pass, this fee is covered for you. The trail is a loop trail and is a total of four miles. The waterfall itself is quite dramatic in comparison to the surrounding scenery. The water cascades down sixty-six feet down to a pool below. If you don’t want to swim, there are several large rocks around the pool at the bottom of the falls where you can sit and enjoy the cool mist and sunshine around the waterfall!
Falls of Dismal
The Falls of Dismal would make a perfect film location! This waterfall is 40 feet wide with a twelve-foot drop into a whirlpool. An easy 0.1-mile hike will take you to the Falls of Dismal near Pearisburg, Virginia. This is the perfect trail and waterfall for those who aren’t hiking for miles to see a beautiful waterfall. The steps down the waterfall are squared like stairs making for a dramatic natural feature.
You can find this Virginia waterfall off of SR 671 and you’ll be happy to know that this trail and waterfall are both family and pet-friendly! If you plan on camping in the area, you are in luck as there are campgrounds just a few minutes down the road from the trailhead. The Walnut Flats Campground and the White Cedar Horse Camp are both just down the road. If you choose to camp nearby, you can relax knowing there is a market nearby for anything you might need during your stay.
Devil’s Bathtub & Waterfall
If you have never heard of the Devil’s Bathtub you are in for a treat as it is one of the coolest waterfalls in Virginia! You can take the Devil’s Fork Loop Trail. This trail is ideal for those who genuinely enjoy being in the backcountry. You have two options when it comes to reaching the falls. Once you reach the first creek crossing on the trail you will have the option of going either left or right.
If you turn right, your round trip will be seven miles without any creek crossings. If you turn left, you will have a shorter hike but will have to make thirteen creek crossings. You need to know that this trail is difficult and does not have any facilities on site. It is also important to note that this is a very popular attraction in the area and it is best to visit on a weekday if you are able to. You will be created by a beautiful little waterfall that drops down into a natural pool that sits in an absolutely gorgeous setting. The area is magical and will no doubt leave you feeling relaxed and serene.
So, what do you think? Will you be heading to one of these waterfalls in Virginia anytime soon? Virginia is overflowing with natural beauty you would be hard-pressed to find such a pretty area with so many charming waterfalls. You have so many great options to choose from, from the ethereal Devil’s bathtub to the hidden away and rarely visited, Abrams Falls, you can find a waterfall that fits your needs as a traveler. Which waterfall will you visit first?