Falling Springs Falls

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I’ve been taking some time this summer to visit our neighboring state to the north, Virginia. It does just happen to be my birth state. One thing I have noticed about Virginia, is that waterfalls seem to be…somewhat less abundant than in my home state of North Carolina, and in Tennessee. I have now found my way to 6 up here, and they have been most impressive. I have been to the Cascade Falls several times, and absolutely love it. I also have made one trip to the Crabtree Falls in Virginia, and really enjoyed the hike to the top of the many smaller cascades that make up this large waterfall area.  Some other trips into Virginia included hikes to Cobweb Falls, Little Stony Falls and the Waterfall on Logan Creek.  My latest trek took me well up into the Alleghany Highlands. This is a land rich in history, and has one of Virginia’s finest waterfalls, Falling Springs Falls. It is said that Thomas Jefferson was once enchanted with this place, I can surely see why!

Falling Springs Falls – Google Maps

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The first and only challenge is finding it. There is no hike with this, unless you wish to go down to the base. It is well up into Virginia, along the western edge of the state. The closest main town is Covington, a small, historic town along Interstate 64, just a few miles from the West Virginia border. I got flashbacks of being in Canton, NC. The was a large mill with smokestacks everywhere. However you find Covington, VA, look for US 220 north. For me, it was off of exit 16 on interstate 64. Once on 220, it will take you through Covington. There were some nice views of the town, and of the Jackson River, which seems to be a very popular spot up here. I got a few glimpses of the Jackson Trail, a nice looking hiking trail that seems to parallel the Jackson River. Once out of town, US 220 climbs. Near the top is a small pull out on the left for the Falling Springs Falls Viewing Area. It has a nice picnic area, and a short paved path to a special view of this waterfall, and the mountains surrounding it. For more info on this area and places to visit up here, please check this out: Alleghany Highlands – Falling Springs Falls

Also, please check out my Waterfalls Hiker Facebook Page.

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“Doing my homework” on this location , I have seen Falling Springs Falls listed numerous times at 200 ft high, and 80 ft high. I believe I will go with the 80 ft high. There is no way that this beautiful waterfall was 200 feet high. The bright and sunny conditions made photography very tricky for me, but I was still pleased with how my photos turned out.  I was really in more of an “exploring” mode on this day.  Sunny days are great for that.  I would like to return in the fall when the leaves have changed, or in the spring when the water is high.  

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Here is a shot from the top….

For most , the view from the top is good enough. It is a beautiful side view, that clearly displays the entire waterfall . Several groups came and went while I was there, viewing the falls from only the viewing area. However, for a few of us, we just have to get that closer look. Luckily, there are several trails/scramble paths that lead over path and rocks, that will get you down to the bottom. These are not official trails, so be careful if doing this. They start at a spot where the fence is torn. Hmm fence…maybe they don’t want people going past it. Well, they do. There were several groups of people beyond it. Some were jumping into some large pools from a rope swing above the falls, and some were hiking to and from the bottom using the well worn footpaths that descend down the bank. At the bottom, in addition to the awesome view of the falls and cliffs, there are numerous smaller cascades as the water seems to split into a hundred different directions. There were also a few more deep pools that had the attention of local swimmers. If you want to get cooled off quickly though, just walk under the waterfall. I saw a few doing this as well. I have some photos from near the top, a few along the descent, and a few from the bottom.

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Gragg Prong Parking – Google Maps

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16 comments

      1. This one is an amazing roadside waterfall on US 220 about 5-10 miles north of Covington Va. You will leave town heading north, road will climb a steep mountain, waterfall and parking will be on the left.

  1. How do we get to the bottom? We didn’t see a trail last weekend and are going back this weekend. Thanks

    1. Unfortunately, over the winter sometime, they have put some new fencing and signs up prohibiting any travel to the bottom. Those that still head down there would follow the fencing from the parking area to where it ends on the right side, and then pick up the trails that lead to the stream and to the base of the falls.

      The newly placed signs now read “Stop No Trespassing Beyond This Point. Fast Moving Waters and Steep Drop Offs. Violators Subject To Fine”

      With that said, I was there in Mid May and there were still a few people down there.

      1. A friend wants to get married here. Last time they visited was before the new fencing. How closes would they be able to get to the falls. Is the picnic area large enough to have a small reception? 20-30 people. How many cars can park there? Thanks for the help. We are in Florida.

      2. Unfortunately, I believe the overlook at the road is as close as you can legally get, although I would bet the bank that people are ignoring the signs, walking around the fence and on down to the falls. The parking area will hold some cars and there is a picnic table or two there, but I am not sure it’s big enough for a group that size. It would be a tight fit if it was.

  2. I hate that governmrnt takes away everything! It is so sad. Free country, nope. Great article and photos!!

  3. Is the drive up the mountain a very steep climb. I am fearful of narrow roads that climb up the mountain. Are there side rails? How long does it take to get to the top. I will be in that area and would love to visit the falls but I am so fearful of driving up mountains, especially on with out guard rails.

    1. Suzanne, it is fairly steep and curvy. It is a US Highway though and in good shape. There are guardrails in place, I am sure they are sport where there are no though. Have fun if you get a chance to visit.

  4. i would love to visit this is so beautiful would love to take my children to see but we have never been hikining would it be safe for first time hikers??

    1. This is one the safer ones you will visit. There is no hike involved at all, just a short walk from a parking area to the beautiful roadside overlook area. For those that choose to go beyond the signs though down to the base….it would be tricky at the very least. The view from the top is sensational!

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