There are so many amazing waterfalls in Virginia that you need to explore. Here are the top 14 Virginia waterfalls that I enjoyed the most and I know you will too.
Virginia is a popular destination for tourists, full of historical sites and picturesque nature scenes. Throughout the lush scenery, if you keep your eyes peeled and listen closely, you’re sure to spot some waterfalls.
Waterfalls in Virginia come in all different shapes and sizes. There are some you can see from the roadside, some you need to hike to, there are even waterfalls in Virginia that you can swim in!
I made it my mission to see as many of these waterfalls in Virginia as I could during my time here. If you’d like to do the same, I’d recommend checking out the Great Virginia Waterfall Trail, a looping trail that takes you to nearly all of the state’s accessible waterfalls.
If you don’t have time for a 1373-mile road trip, you can skip the driving and enjoy my top picks for Virginia’s Must-See Waterfalls.
1. Great Falls Of Potomac
Located just 15 miles from the US Capitol, the eastern bank of the Potomac River borders the city and runs through the Great Falls National Park, culminating in the Great Falls of the Potomac.
As the name implies, the Great Falls are one of Virginia’s most breathtaking natural highlights. The speed and power of the Potomac River force the waters over a steep rock face, crashing down into the tight passage of the Mather Gorge, creating this natural wonder.
But the area has more to offer than just appealing scenery, it’s also a historical landmark. George Washington commissioned a system of canals and locks to allow barge traffic to traverse the area, improving navigation between the Atlantic and so-called ‘Ohio country’.
I found an extra thrill wandering the one-and-a-half-mile looping riverside trail and imagining things as they used to be. The rest stop at Mather Point was perfectly placed to take it all in.
2 – Little Stony Creek Falls
The Little Stony Creek Falls are tucked away just off the Little Stony National Recreation Trail in Jefferson National Forest. The trip is a short one, with the trail beginning at the Hanging Rock Picnic area, just 2.4 miles from the first viewing area for the falls.
The entire path is maintained and equipped with a handrail which was useful in climbing over some larger rocks along the way. While the hike isn’t difficult, it will definitely get your blood pumping.
The first viewing point at around 2.1 miles is the perfect spot to catch your breath and grab some pictures. If you are sure-footed, there’s a large flat rock along the left-hand side that you can venture out on for some great shots.
Continuing up the path, you’ll cross over a small wooden bridge around the 2.2-mile mark, leaving you just steps from the mid-falls viewing area of Little Stony Creek.
Though this is only the midpoint of the falls, the views are nothing short of fantastic. From the viewing point, you can look out and see the water rushing into the misty depths below.
Just off the viewing area is a small set of wooden steps built into the hillside which leads up to the final footbridge, crossing over to the spectacular upper falls area.
Depending on when you visit, the upper falls viewing area may be off-limits due to landslides. It’s still worth the trip though!
3 – Apple Orchard Falls
While you’re in the area of Jefferson National Forest, head over to the Sunset Field Overlook just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. From here you can get onto the Apple Orchard Falls Trail, a 2.9-mile round trip that leads you up and back from the 200-foot namesake attraction.
While the surging falls are certainly the highlight of the trip, I enjoyed traveling through the Jefferson National Forest and crossing the historic Appalachian Trail. The high-elevation trail of the hike makes for fantastic views along the way.
It’s relatively easy to navigate as well, but don’t expect a scenic stroll through the woods. I found myself challenged by the terrain at a few points along the way.
4 – Fenwick Mines Waterfall
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Visiting the Fenwick Mines Waterfall was a truly interesting experience not to mention one of the most beautiful Waterfalls in Virginia. The area used to be a series of active mines, but it’s since been reclaimed and repurposed into a series of trails and a recreation park.
The additions make this a great place to visit for people of all abilities and fitness levels. At the park, there is a large picnic shelter with grills and toilets. Just a short distance away, there’s also a small fishing pond.
When you are ready to start exploring, head to the trails which are all wheelchair accessible. They guide you around the foundations of old mining structures and open mining pits, leading you to great views of the waterfall.
Beyond visiting the falls, you can also get up close and personal with some local wetland plants and wildlife. The area has been shaped by the busy beavers that call it home and is lush with natural growth.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Fenwick Mines Waterfall. There are plenty of interesting things to see and areas to explore, and the easy trails were offered a peaceful navigation experience.
5 – Crabtree Falls
Crabtree Falls is the tallest waterfall in Virginia, in fact, depending on how you measure it, it might be the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi.
The falls are broken into a series of five cascading drops over the breathtaking 1,200-foot descent. Even so, it’s hard to truly grasp their size, and even harder to get a picture that puts it into scale.
This claim to fame has put Crabtree Falls on the list of many hikers and travelers, and it was definitely one of the busier spots that I visited during my time in Virginia.
The crowd thinned out as I made my way from the first viewing area in the parking lot and onto the trail, but the views only got better the further I went.
The trail is maintained by the United States Forest Service and takes you over all kinds of terrain including loose gravel paths, up a series of wooden stairs, and over a potentially slick bridge that crosses the Tye River.
While the hike wasn’t terribly difficult, I wouldn’t recommend it to those with accessibility concerns or physical limitations.
The views of Crabtree Falls are breathtaking and make for some great vacation photos, especially at the railed overlook points, but don’t be tempted to stray from the main trail. Over the years nearly 30 people have lost their lives while trying to get closer to the falls.
6 – Bent Mountain Falls
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If you’ve already visited Crabtree Falls, the next stop on your trip should be, Bent Mountain Falls, the second tallest waterfall in Virginia.
While the Bent Mountain falls don’t hold a candle to the astounding 1,200 foot height of Crabtree Falls, they are impressive in their own right, standing 200 feet high in the Bottom Creek Gorge Preserve.
The hike is short and sweet, spanning a loop of 3.7 miles that runs through lush forested vegetation, and culminates in a view you won’t soon forget. Reaching the overlook, you’ll find the Bent Mountain Falls, rushing into the depths of the Bottom Creek Gorge.
7 – Statons Creek Falls
No need to break out your hiking boots for this one, the Staton Creek Falls are a roadside attraction! You can drive right up and park just 100 meters from the falls which are known for their distinctive zig-zagged multi-stage cataracts and cascades.
The cascades range in size from just 15 feet to a much more impressive 80-foot drop, making for quite the spectacle. The area around the falls is thick with mist from the falls, providing a refresh on hot days and making for a frigid experience on cooler days, so be sure to dress appropriately.
Since this is a short trip without any walking required, I recommend making the most out of your visit with a trip to Panther Falls, less than 10 miles away.
8 – Panther Falls
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Panther Falls is the first on our list of Waterfalls in Virginia that you can swim in, and you won’t find any shortage of people doing just that all through the summer months. Confident swimmers can cool down with a quick dip, or get your heart racing a dive from the top of the rock shelves that flank the 10-foot waterfall.
Less than half a mile from the parking area, the hike to Panther falls is a short one, but you’ll need to keep your wits about you. The route is muddy, and at times, treacherous from the streams the intersect the path.
Visiting after a heavy rainfall will certainly make for a messy hike. At least you can wash off in the falls!
If swimming isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy the scenery while you work on your tan. There are plenty of prime locations to catch some rays on the flat rocks that surround the basin of the falls.
9 – Jones Hollow Falls and Devil’s Bathtub
For those that really want to earn their swim, you can head out to Jones Hollow Falls and the Devil’s Bathtub. You’ll find a few different trails that will get your heart rate up, but the main attraction is the Devil’s Fork Loop Trail.
I wouldn’t recommend this one to inexperienced hikers, you’ll be climbing over large rocks, under low-hanging branches, and through vegetation for most of the trip, even if you opt for the longer, more traveled route.
Hiker’s looking for a bit of adventure will enjoy the challenge of the longer 7.2 mile loop which weaves through the forest and crosses over small to mid-sized streams. By the time I made it to the falls, my shoes were soaked through and I was looking forward to a dip in the Devil’s Bathtub.
Despite the mildly foreboding name, the Devil’s bathtub is a beautiful pool of smooth water, perfectly suited for a dip, and situated at the bottom of a small waterfall. While the waters were not turbulent though they were quite cold. After a long hot hike, I found I didn’t mind the chill.
If you’d like to visit, plan for a weekday with dry weather as the area is quite popular, and the hike is dangerous in the wet seasons.
After your swim, continue on past the Devil’s Bathtub to discover Jones Hollow Falls tucked away into the woods. The falls stand 45 feet high and culminate in a small round pool near the bottom. Take caution when exploring as this area is known to be treacherous closer to the falls.
10 – Falling Spring Falls
If you’re touring waterfalls for photography purposes, Falling Spring Falls is a must-see. It’s one of the most photographed waterfalls in Virginia, and it isn’t hard to see why.
The natural beauty of Falling Spring is nearly unrivaled throughout the state, and it’s easily accessible, you can view and photograph the falls right from the parking area.
While the waterfall currently stands at an impressive 80 feet, it used to be even more spectacular, standing at nearly 200 feet tall until a mining project relocated much of the falls.
Before their alteration, Thomas Jefferson described them as a “remarkable cascade”, and that description holds true. The scene looks like something from a calendar.
While there isn’t much here aside from the falls, it’s definitely worth a trip. The roadside location makes it easy to stop in for the experience and some quick photos. I’d recommend visiting on a weekday to avoid a wait for one of the limited parking spaces.
11 – Falls Ridge Preserve Waterfalls
The Falls Ridge Preserve Waterfalls offer an experience different from any of the other waterfalls in Virginia. This is because they have formed from one of the largest exposed deposits of calcium carbonate. Over time, the dissolving lime and mineral have added to the height of the falls.
Watching the way that the water pours over and through the built-up deposits adds a unique feel to the experience. And with the easy 8-mile round hike, the experience is one that is well worth having.
If you continue along the trail, you’ll find even more streams and small water waterfalls dotted throughout the preserve, each interesting in its own way. If you are quiet enough, you might even spot some of the local wildlife stopping by for a drink.
12 – Shenandoah National Park – Dark Hollow Falls
If you only have the time to visit one place in Virginia, Shenandoah National Park might be the perfect pick. The park is home to multiple beautiful waterfalls, local wildlife, and more.
You can really get the full experience of the park in just a few hours, making it a perfect day trip as well. But that doesn’t mean this park isn’t worth revisiting, in fact, I could see myself becoming a regular if I was in the area.
The short hike to the picturesque Dark Hollow Falls is rife with lush natural scenery, offering small peeks at the falls as you approach. It almost felt like I was walking through a fairy tale. A small stream runs along the easy trail for nearly its entire length until you reach the basin of the falls.
Nestled into the surrounding trees, the Dark Hollow Falls is a series of cascades that stand at a height of over 70 feet. Seasoned hikers can get up close and personal with them, venturing up the most treacherous parts of the trail on the way to the crest of the falls.
If you are brave enough and ready to tackle the challenge, be sure to keep to the trail. Many people have gotten hurt and even lost their lives after straying from the designated path. If you are looking to extend your hike, I recommend continuing on to the Rose River Falls trail for another wonderful waterfall experience.
13 – Shenandoah National Park – Rose River Falls
While you’re visiting the popular Dark Hollow Falls, you can make the most of your time in the area with a quick trip over to Rose River Falls, which are in the same park! There are actually quite a few waterfalls within Shenandoah National Park.
The Rose River Falls are the most accessible following a stop at Dark Hollow, so you can bring the family or enjoy a leisurely day in nature, regardless of your experience level. Shenandoah is also one of the few national parks to allow visitors to bring their pets on most of the trails, provided they are properly leashed.
The route to Rose River Falls is less traveled than the trail to Dark Hollow Falls, allowing you to get closer to nature with a more private hike. For nearly the entire length, the trail runs in parallel with the beautiful Rose River, serenading you with the rush of freshwater.
While the trail is a little longer, there are plenty of spots suitable for a rest. You can even dip your toes into the water of the streams running alongside the path. Once you’ve arrived at the falls, you can even refresh yourself with a swim in the pool at the basin of the falls.
If you’d like to experience this hike at its most spectacular, plan a visit for spring when the water reaches its highest point, so you can enjoy all of the tiny creeks, pools, and streams along the way.
If you didn’t have reason enough to visit already, I have to mention the wonderful amenities you’ll find in the park. Shenandoah National Park was designed with the comfort of its visitors in mind.
It has two visitors centers, a campground and lodge, picnic areas, and a plethora of places to eat, including sit-down restaurants and quick service food stands.
With all the services available, I think you’d be very comfortable if you chose to spend some time staying at the park. I’d love to try it myself next time I’m in the area.
14 – Stiles Falls – Shawsville Fairy
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Stiles Falls trail is a beautiful trail and has one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Virginia that spans 4.1-miles out and back. Make the trip for yourself and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the Stiles Waterfalls, standing 40-feet high and hidden away amongst the trees.
Grab your pup and hit the trail, but bring proper footwear. While the trail is fairly mild, you’ll be crossing Purgatory Creek three times over the trip which culminates in a small rock scramble before you reach the breathtaking Stiles Falls.
The property is privately owned by Alta Mons Methodist Camp, but they keep it free and open to the public all year round, excluding a few weeks in the summer when they run their camps.
If you are planning a trip, you can look on the website to see if they’ve got a camp running during your visit. I’d recommend planning for sometime between April through October while the weather is warm and the trail is at its best.
Virginia is a beautiful state that’s worthy of a visit any time of year, but a visit in the spring or summer is a special treat. It’s during these months that the many natural waterfalls, streams, rivers, and creeks that decorate the landscape are at their finest.
Whatever experience you’re looking for, Virginia has a waterfall for you. Enjoy leisurely strolls through national parks, intense multi-hour hikes, or just pull off to the side of the road to enjoy the scenery.
I hope you enjoyed reading everything these stunning waterfalls in Virginia have to offer. Now if you looking for more travel guides? Read more of our stories on exciting places to visit and things to do:
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