Explore NoVA Hikes - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
21 hours ago

Really beautiful trail with wooded areas, waterfalls, and streams. Somewhat protected from the wind so a little less cold than the more exposed summit hikes. This is a great option to mix it up a bit. We were there two days after it rained and there were a few slick spots but it was very manageable overall. It’s closer to 5 miles when you include the fire road (which you need to use if you are doing the full loop), and there’s an interesting old cemetery near the start as well.

Great trail!! Loved the waterfalls!! Great idea to do trail clockwise!!! Easy wide path at the end then! Entire loop was more than 3.5 though!! Total was more like 5 miles if you count Rose River Trail loop and Rose river fire road.... you have to get back where you started for a total of about 5 miles. We just started out later and sunset came earlier so ended up finishing and it was dark. Trail was five stars though! Beautiful views!

This trail was surprisingly fun with some decent incline and rock scrambles. Crowds are no joke but around the middle it was very thinned out (spent about 20 minutes just waiting to get to the gate of the park... then had to follow someone leaving in order to park). Annual passes to great falls are 30$ so might be worth it for people who plan on coming back a couple times. GORGEOUS fall colors.

Nice hike along water down to an overlook with a view of a waterfall. Many people hike down to the overlook and back the same way, but the loop was a less gradual/strenuous walk — even if it was a bit longer.

10 days ago

Nice trail. Easy down, but have to come back up. Be sure to do the full loop in order to see all the springs and falls. It's easier to take the left trail down, then take Rose road back up.

walking
24 days ago

Very very nice !!

hiking
1 month ago

Good day hike. We went to the right/CCW. After a short down hill there’s a steady ~3 mike uphill climb. Back 1/3 had a steep decline but it was on the short side. Awesome view of Shenandoah at the larger waterfall. Pretty muddy given all the recent rain. Tree cover along entire trail. About 5-6 stream closing that were easy but fun.

Good hike, did the loop and appreciated the wide and relatively even Fire Road on the way back (uphill). Definitely worth the extra mile to go from the overlook all the way to the base of the falls.

mountain biking
1 month ago

Nice spot for beginners like me, I try in the summer and mosquitos were in full force, will try fall and early winter to see how things go

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this with a buddy and his dog. It was a nice drive out there. You hike about a mile out to the loop. We went left or clockwise and it was pretty muddy from rain the previous day. The first 2 miles of crossing creeks was a warm up for the real creek crossings and then the haul up a biggg hill. There were some campers at the first view of the waterfall. Looked beautiful and would camp there. The next mile and half were diff camping/view points with breath taking views. The last 5-6 miles was calming and very cool to walk thru. Made a rock tower in the little creek/dam/island area a mile from the start was awesome to chill in after a long hike.

Nice trail fits all purpose and all ages. Fatanstic view and many suprises if you like to explore.

Nice and flat. A few muddy spots and fallen trees (MTB obstacles). Good trail for intervals.

Nice trail... Following alongside the river and multiple cascading falls. Going clockwise allows you to come up on the falls, with the exception of the first one where you’ll come up from behind it, but can climb down to the bottom to get a great view.

Took the kids (elementary school), had snacks and played in the water. Kind of a long hike on the way back entirely up hill, but definitely worth the trip. Will be back again when we have longer to stay. If taking kids, plan to get in the water and bring plenty of snacks.

Beautiful! We saw a rattlesnake at the edge of one of the over looks. We went on a Saturday and it was pretty crowded. The hike down is pretty easy, but the hike back up is a work out! This is a perfect day hike if you're looking for pretty water fall views that don't take very long to get to!

We went on a rainy Sunday and there were only a few people around. The river trail was the rockiest, and the other trails were mostly gravel. Not too much incline either, so they were pretty easy to hike.

$10 entrance fee but you can walk right up to the overlooks from the parking lot. It was a bit too crowded for my liking but beautiful views. The trail was pretty easy. Really cool experience if you have never been here before!

hiking
1 month ago

Easy to moderate hike. It can be slippery if it is shortly after raining/raining. The first part of the hike is going downhill and the second half is all uphill. After getting to the overlook of the falls (pretty but far away), I suggest taking the fire road hike down to the base of the falls - watch your step going to the base of the falls as it can be quite slippery. There is plenty of parking at the trailhead and bathrooms. You do have to pay the entrance fee if you enter through the Swift Run Entrance.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this on labor day and got stuck in a down pour for about 20 minutes right at the base of the falls. Beautiful and well worth the wait for the rain to stop.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a great trail that follows a scenic stream with a beautiful waterfall and several places to take a quick dip in the cold water. Access from skyline drive is super easy and it's very close to the visitor's center and big meadows campground. I did it with my 12yo son on a balmy hot day in July. The heat and humidity made the hike a little harder than expected but it was still really enjoyable. I plan to do it again with my wife, 10yo daughter and son again in September.

I started off on the South Ridge Trail which has some decent elevation gain but not too terrible, went to the AT, down Ambassador Whitehouse and detoured off to the North Ridge Trail instead of the Piedmont Overlook so that I could stay in the shade (the trail to Piedmont Overlook is mostly in direct sunlight) - was roughly 5.5 miles. It was very buggy - be sure to bring bug spray. Some sections of the South and North Ridge Trails were a bit overgrown - so long pants may be best. Beautiful views and some amazing wild flowers! There is a $5 admission fee. You can pick up a park map at the entrance. There is plenty of parking at the visitor center (with an overflow parking lot for busy days). There are also bathrooms at the visitor center.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail following streams and waterfalls along most of the way. Plenty of places to wade and play. 7 yr old made it, but just barely. 3.5 miles is a little misleading because at 3.5 you connect with the fire road but it’s about another mile back to parking.

Great little hike. Plan the extra time to go to the base of the falls. The falls have a single drop and then an intermediate pool about half way down where it splits into two. Probably my favorite waterfall in the park based on the access and beauty. The view from the observation deck with foliage on the trees is limited. The falls were running pretty heavy for this time of year due to the substantial storms we have had recently. Well maintained trail. The grind out along the roads is slow and steady.

Great hike! We Did it with a 5 and a 6 yr Old as well. We went All the way to the base of the falls which was nice because the view was the best down there. I will say if I did it again with the children I would probably turn around at the concrete overlook rather than continue on. The kids were spent when we Got back to the fire Rd. They took turns riding My Shoulders all the way to the top. The fire road is a steep grade straight up the mountain whereas the original trial down is switchbacks. I Would Imagine that they're equally as challenging to get back up. Just a preference thing. Bring plenty of water and a snack to eat at the bottom as it turned into a 5 hour affair.....without young kids probably a 3 hour trip

This was an ok hike. We went on an extremely hot and humid day and didn't realize how exposed we would be during the 6.2 miles. Definitely would have enjoyed this hike more if it wasn't so hot. You did have a couple road crossings and it had just rained so the trail was muddy in quite a few areas.

Great views maintain trails marked areas a lot of historical points

hiking
2 months ago

Chose this trip to check the box on the tallest waterfall in SNP. Chose to go CW and knock out the elevation gain quickly. Mile 1 and 2 were nice gradual inclines through rocky dry stream beds. It was hard to make good time through this area. Mile three was quite the accent almost 1000 ft. The view of the falls is from the top. Not a lot to see with all the foliage still on. Unfortunately not trails access the bottom of these falls.

If you are looking to just see the falls I would recommend an out and back. Another option is an out and back from the Mathews Arm area. Given that I always opt for loops and mileage I continued around and down the Beechers Ridge Trail. Not much to see here just steady declines and forest. There are tons of good places for backcountry camping along this route.

I finished the trip with a visit to a few nice pools were the access trail meets the loop. Based on the number of bathing suit clad folks I passed on the way out I believe it is a popular swimming destination.

My favorite waterfall in the park. Not worth just going down to first view only. View is obstructed. Might be ok after the leaves are gone.

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