Explore To Do - 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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Great Trail!! Great work out...

I was concerned about getting lost after reading reviews. Not sure how people got lost. There are signs everywhere. This was an amazing trail. The waterfalls are beautiful! Very peaceful fun hike. I even saw purple, bright orange and bright yellow mushrooms! I’ve never seen a purple mushroom or yellow and orange mushrooms that were so vibrant. Highly recommend this hike. When you come to first cascade, continue to walk over bridge and up many stairs to reach the waterfall.

Great walk in the woods. The water is beautiful the only downside is there’s no swimming. There are a lot of segways to the water from the trail. The trail was narrow and overgrown near the power lines, which was very noisy. There are a lot of bugs so bring repellant! There also has been bear sightings so be aware and courteous. I would say this trail is closer to moderately strenuous, has some inclines. You can park at either end of the trail. Both $3. The other parking lot is smaller and it is pay by envelope.

hiking
10 days ago

Pretty steep towards to summit... The View Is Well worth the hike...TAKE treking poles!!!!

hiking
17 days ago

Awesome hike! Arrived to start the hike later than anticipated around 2:45pm from the twelve o'clock knob overlook and started the hike clockwise... great start considering everyone recommends the opposite direction. The first mile was spent taking in some seriously spectacular views as we passed rock castle gorge overlook, rocky knob, and saddle overlook and even from the first cow pasture! After that you get a feeling of being deeply alone in the woods which is just incredible and exactly what a long, hard hike like this should deliver. There's about a mile of traversing a rocky descent before you arrive at the bottom and meet up with the creek. Then, you're on the fire road. This serves as an excellent place to make up some time which may have been lost enjoying the sights at the overlooks. These 2.8 miles have a slow and steady incline and are wide and easy to traverse-- also another treat! Along this part I did see a black bear and various prints, so beware. After the fire road we began our ascent once again out of the gorge. this was moderate at worst and to me what made it difficult was just the sheer distance preceding it, but it was definitely manageable. At the top of the 1.5 mile 900' ev section you will arrive at another cow pasture. If you have a dog with you please use caution because me and my dog almost got mauled by some angry cows as we interrupted their feeding along the trail. They were not fans of us stepping on their grass before they got to eat it :( from there its easy and your only about 1.5 miles from the twelve o'clock knob parking area again! All in all this was a great hike with excellent views and a challenging but rewarding and manageable terrain. Great for training for an AT thru hike. Make sure to bring plenty of water. Me and my dog went through almost 5 liters on a 80 degree day. There is the creek so you don't have to bring it all with you as long as you have a water treatment system with you (yay for Sawyer filters!) I loved this hike and its a rare gem. Took 4 h 15 m with 3 10 min breaks:) Hike on friends!!!!

backpacking
18 days ago

Did this over two days as a backpacking trip in January. When the elevation started picking up after the first mile the trail was getting hard to find but then after the summit it was a breeze to stay on. Temps dropped more then i expected and wind chills close if not below 0.

We did the Apple Orchard trail, Cornelius creek and a little part of the AT. At one point we got turned around. All in all we hiked 8 Miles. My husband and I did it with our two small children aged 7 and 5. Climbing back up to the car was a little workout. Definitely beautiful scenery and the falls on Apple Orchard trail are very nice. Perfect for a picnic

We were surprised to have the trail and falls to ourselves on a Sunday in mid July. Having the ability to approach from the blue ridge parkway or back roads off 81 made this a nice stop going from Roanoke to DC

hiking
26 days ago

Quite a challenge. I wasn’t prepared for it. Took me just over 6 hours including a lunch break. Great trail!

This was a good hike. We went counter clockwise and will do this trail the same way if done again. It was a little confusing at one point with the signage but we figured It Out with some help from the Alltrails map. We measured our loop at 7.9 miles.

hiking
1 month ago

A good quick hike. The trail is definitely steep at times. We enjoyed looking at the falls and the caves. The entrance looked like a private driveway but it was easy enough to find.

had no idea how tough this Trail was going to be. My wife and I do not hike every day but we're in pretty good shape and this was exactly what we were looking for. highly physically demanding. Bring print plenty of water and food, we took frequent breaks so it took us 7 hours to complete the trail. don't make plans afterwards as you will be exhausted, I promise you

hiking
1 month ago

I actually hiked this trail because of the difficulty rating... i knew nothing of what was supposed to be at the summit... when i turned off on the vista trail about half way up a family was on the way down... when i passed them all they said was “keep going its worth it”... they could not of been more correct... one word for the summit...”WOW” ... i would recommend trekking poles... i was the only one on this trail using them and everyone i passed said i wish i would of thought of that!

Only complaint is trailhead is slightly hard to find due to lack of signs. I started at the lake beach and without this app i would not of found the trailhead hiking the lake loop toward the inside park campground... If you hike in from any other direction from the outside campground or boat ramp the signs are much better!

There are zero water sources if you do not bring enough unless you hike the lake loop to ccc near boat ramp. Trail is very well maintained mostly single track with very steep hillsides! Would not recommend summiting with small children because most of the trail is inclined but i have friends who have done it! For the hike down go slow or you will pound your knees!

Loved this hike
Saw a small bear

Lovely hike with very pretty waterfalls at the beginning. The 2 mile loop is pretty steep at times. We saw the sign after hiking with our dog that dogs are NOT allowed on this trail.

Classic hike, one of the area’s best. High open vistas, deep coves, pristine Appalachian creek, historic structures, physically challenging, pretty much everything you’d want from a hike in this region. Not to be missed!

I've done this trail in the past. It's been awhile. Time to do it again this July. Can't wait!!

Really fun trail because you get rewarded with amazing views at the top and the lake at the bottom to cool off and relax after.

Downhill to the falls. Uphill on the way back. Not to difficult terrain. Beautiful falls.

hiking
3 months ago

This is a difficult hike, especially if the trail is wet as portions are very narrow with loose rock.

hiking
3 months ago

I parked at the spillway and took the Lake trail to the CCC trail and then on up to the Molleys Knob trail to the summit. Coming down I stayed on the Molleys knob trail to the Lake trail. I then took the Lake trail back to the parking area for a total hike of 7.5 miles. It was a little more difficult than I expected for a moderate rating but well worth the effort for the views at the top.

hiking
3 months ago

I started from the campground and walked up on top of Little Walker Mountain and along the ridge before descending back down towards the creek and trailhead on 717. There were a couple of medium sized wild game birds that took of flying. After taking a break at the picnic area I decided it would be more interesting to follow East Stony Fork back to the campground rather than either walking back the trail or following 717 back. The walk down through and along the stream was challenging at times, but it is definitely worth it if you are not in a hurry because that was the most scenic portion of the whole day. There are a couple of small water falls to look at and other stone outcroppings that stand out next to the stream. Plus, the sound of the rushing water is very soothing. Some parts of that portion are open and easy while others have a lot of brush, fallen timber and rhododendron thickets. I’d definitely do the trail again and would like to try trout fishing along East Fork.

Great hike with beautiful waterfall, we did the route counterclockwise which we would recommend for trail running as the footing was more stable for the descent. Coming back up Cornelius Creek presented some creek crossing challenges due to the volume of water.

Make sure you are in good shape before attempting this hike especially if you have some age on you. it's not the going down but the coming back up that will make you wonder "what in the hell was I thinking". expect to spend at least 5 hours on this hike but it is very rewarding when you complete it. great views getting there along the overlooks on top of the parkway.

Outstanding views at the top! Pretty steep hike, but well worth it for the view!

hiking
4 months ago

This is a great little spot for a quick hike for our family. Easy to navigate for our two boys and plenty to see even if you only do the short loop.

Great trails.. they keep it up well. Very dog friendly.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice quick little hike. Had some cool caves and water falls. Directions were a little difficult to find it but once we did it was fine. Read the plaque once you start so you can understand how it came about.

mountain biking
4 months ago

Fun basic bike trail. Nothing to hard but defiantly not boring.

Great trail. Ascent up mountain is strenuous. But you can park at the top and still get the good views. At the bottom of the gorge there is a very cool boulder field.

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