Apple Orchard Falls Trail and Cornelius Creek Circuits Trail is a 7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Bedford, VA that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Really great hike! Loved being next to the creek most of the way. There are many opportunities to see little hidden waterfalls and pools. The Apple Orchard Falls was also really impressive. If you choose the loop trail, it's well worth it. Starting with the AOFT trail as the first part of the loop, be prepared for a pretty steady incline for the last couple miles, coming back Cornelius Spur.
So pretty & so worth it! The hike down is easy, as you're going down hill, but coming up is a bit challenging. Worth it for the view!
beautiful waterfalls. You will love it.
Totally worth the pain. Amazing!
This is a nice trail. We just hiked the portion from the parkway Sunset or Sunrise overlook to the falls and back. It was about 2.5 miles total for this section. You hike down first, so it's obviously steep on the way back up.
I think this trail is located near Buchanan in Botetourt County, not Bedford. It has been a few years for me so I am ready to go again. I have hiked it from the parkway down to the falls and I have hiked it up to the falls. From the bottom it is about an 8 mile round trip. It is one of my favorite hikes in the Roanoke area. Make sure you go after a lot of rain because the falls are so much better!
Did this loop in May 2015. The circuit named above (AOF and Cornelius Creek) is not nearly that long. If you start from the bottom, it's a little more than 5 miles - just guessing. We saw a couple of parking areas there. However, we started from Sunset Field overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway (mile 78.4). That makes it a little more than 7 miles. From the bottom, the description we had read used the Apple Orchard Fire Road. But if you start at the top, there is extra distance on a connector trail (just more of the Cornelius trail) and the AT. Either way, it's a spectacular hike. Both AOF and Cornelius follow creeks with innumerable little cascades on them. And the weekend of our hike saw Rhododendron in full bloom (mountain laurel looked to be a few days behind). The main falls are 200 feet. That section of the trail has many steps, as you would expect on a sheer drop that creates such a waterfall. From the Parkway, we descended those steps, meaning we were going down the steepest part. If that sounds good to you, be sure to do this loop in counterclockwise fashion (all lefts). The Cornelius trail is a longer, more steady grade. No matter what direction you take, this is a fantastic hike. Not to be missed!
Great hike. We did the out and back from the Parkway. Perfect hike for the kids to try out their new packs!
This is one of my favorite hikes/runs and is part of the Promise Land 50k course. I park at Sunset Field and head down the Apple Orchard Falls Trail to the AT. Turn left on the AT, go about 1.2 miles and then right at the sign for Cornelius Creek. The Cornelius Creek Trail is very runnable. There is a somewhat confusing intersection where the trail crosses the Apple Orchard road. It appears you should go straight across to continue on the trail, but really you should turn left. If you look left, you will see the blue blazes for Cornelius Creek. If you make the mistake and go straight, very soon the "trail" will end... where I guess most people realize their mistake and turn around.
After you get to the bottom of Cornelius Creek at North Creek Road, you take the Apple Orchard Falls trail back up. What to remember is, don't go over the bridges to the left. Always stay right. I ended this track when we reached the AT again because we then continued our hike north on the AT this particular day. We ascended Apple Orchard Mountain via the AT all the way to the radar base and then ran down the parkway back to Sunset Field. I didn't want that showing up in the track, though. I think my GPS lost a bit of mileage because I believe this hike (if I had continued the final 0.2 to the parking lot) should read about 7.5 miles. That is what the signage on the trail seems to indicate.
The scenery is very beautiful on this trail and I love it. Promise Land 50K is my favorite ultra race and the Cornelius Creek Trail is my favorite part of it.
You can do this hike from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Less than 3 miles one way. Beautiful waterfall, just can't miss this one. Have nice deck with seats to suit and enjoyed. Don't forget your camera.