There are two trails leading in and out of the waterfall. The lower trail hugs Little Stony Creek and provides a steady climb to the lower falls, pictured above. It's fairly rocky and there are many stone steps to climb. Mossy rocks, dappled sun, still pools, and large rock features provide ample opportunities to stop along the way and take in the beautiful forest. Our conversation often turned to the rock formations and the tumbled boulders that obviously fell from the walls above. There are many car-sized boulders strewn in the creek along the way. At the falls itself, folks spread out across the flat rocks and wade in the pool. The rocks in the water are very slippery and it is easy to fall if you're not careful. Obviously climbing on the rocks is plain stupid and there are warning signs which the young man in my photo chose to ignore. We sat and enjoyed our packed lunches and walked around a bit to take in the sights. We climbed up the stairs to the left of the falls for more photos and then chose to hike the upper trail back down. The upper trail still allows you to hear the rushing creek below, but it provides a wide open, rock-free highway of sorts back to the parking area. The hike is about 4 miles round trip, maybe slightly more. It took B. and I about an hour and fifteen minutes to hike in and another hour to hike out.
There is the option to continue hiking another two miles to Barney's Wall and a view of the New River Valley. There is also an upper falls about a half mile from the lower falls which I have never seen. maybe next time!
In my opinion, difficulty scale ratings for hikes are hard to go by because everyone has a varying level of what they consider easy or difficult, but I think a moderate rating for the lower trail is fair for this hike. The trail is rocky and you must watch your step all along the lower trail. There are also many series of steps to climb and for these two reasons I would rate it 'moderate' for me. An avid hiker might rate it more towards 'easy'.
Spending the day in this fashion was a huge boost to my spirit and energy. I wish every summer day could be suspended in reality to give us these temperatures and experiences. At the least, I look forward to more hikes like this and more time to put the routine on hold... just for a day.
|One of several pools with little, pebbly beaches|
|Approaching the falls|
|The trail is paved in this little section and hugs the creek with mossy rocks.|
|My first selfie! #oldladieshiking|