Oh, the beauty of Botetourt County! In celebration of spring birthdays, we took to woods and trails and hiked to Apple Orchard Falls. It's located right in our own backyard and steps away from both the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail. We accessed it from a parking lot at the base and hiked up to the falls. Then we crossed a connector trail and hiked back down along Cornelius Creek. (see map below) It was a perfect day, starting out cool with light jackets which we soon shed. There were brief areas of trail where the rushing waters provided natural air conditioning and we'd don our jackets, only to shed them again farther up the trail. We passed only nine other hikers all day, which gave us a sense of having the trail almost all to ourselves.
My favorite thing about this hike is that it follows beautiful creeks both going up and coming down the two different trails. There are several bridge crossings over rushing waters and two creek crossings on Cornelius Creek to be made on your own footing. One of us rock hopped across, one of us removed shoes and socks to wade over and two of us used walking sticks to assist our rock crossing. (An experienced hiker passed us by wading right through with his hiking sneakers and socks still on. He didn't blink an eye and carried his girlfriend over on his back.) Along the way, we passed a multitude of little falls that fell into inviting pools. We made mental notes of a few, thinking they would be the perfect spot for a summer picnic and swim. We've already planned the picnic menu and we look forward to our return in a month or two.
|Apple Orchard Falls|
|View looking out from the falls and back to where we began our hike.|
|Steve and John in young forest growth. John is a forester and he pointed out many interesting tree and forest facts for us.|
|A lean-to beside the creek. It was a perfect spot to camp.|
|One of many fallen trees.|
|Little falls and a pool in the woods.|