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!
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.
“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.
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.