I can't believe I've never done this before. In fact, I can't believe everyone with a hiking bone in their body in the Roanoke Valley hasn't done it.
The hike to the 200 foot waterfall – the second highest in Virginia is both easy and beautiful. There are three trails and each gives you a slightly different perspective along the way – but all three end up at the overlook of the beautiful view of the waterfall.
My son Tyler, and I hiked the trail on a whim on Sunday afternoon. We were looking for something different to do than the more famous hikes in the region, i.e. McAfees Knob, Dragon Tooth, Cascades, Roaring Run etc.
Directions are pretty easy. Head up route 221 Just past Bent Mountain and take a right. Follow some country roads out past the Amrein's Vineyards for a few miles, park at a gate and start walking.
Half a mile up the trail there is an information Kiosk that give you background on the Nature Conservancy-owned property, including rare species of fish and wildlife that live in the area. A map shows the three trail options, labeled red, yellow and blue.
Tyler and I opted for the Blue trail on the way in and the yellow on the way back. Total hike, according to my GPS, was 4.8 miles. The terrain was easy to moderate. Much easier than say, McAfee's Knob.
I had no idea what the waterfall was going to look like, but it exceeded all my expectations. It was like the beautiful falls I had seen in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. You just don't see legitimate 200-foot waterfalls in Virginia.
The Nature Conservancy has done a great job marking the trails and keeping them pruned. We walked through groves of ferns, mountain laurel and blackberries ripe for picking. We saw maybe half a dozen other hikers and at one point we came upon a deer that stayed close enough that I could take a decent picture.
I've lived here for 26 years and somehow this opportunity has not been on my radar. I can't wait to go back.