Sometimes the journey is better than the destination, but in this case, the destination is totally worth the effort of the journey.
This past spring we asked our Facebook and Twitter followers for their favorite hikes. Last fall we told you where to hike in for beautiful waterfalls amid the foliage. This fall, we marry the two lists and show you where to go for great hikes with views AND waterfalls.
Crabtree Falls is actually a 1,200′ cascade – the highest vertical-drop cascade east of the Mississippi River. The lower falls is accessible to elderly and differently abled sightseers, making it an enjoyable outdoor experience for all. Over the course of the three-mile trail past the lower falls is a series of five major cascades and smaller ones. Access the trail from a fee-based lot at 11581 Crabtree Falls Highway, Montebello, VA 24464. And the view? Get a good glimpse from the top of the trail, or you can enjoy it from Crabtree Falls Highway up to/down from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Skyline Drive at milepost 42.6: The upper falls are a 4.6-mile out-and-back hike. If you head down the steep grade to the lower falls, add another 2.7 miles to your round trip.
Route 600 offers an access point at Boundary Trailhead. One mile in is the lower falls or hike the steep grade to the upper falls. Download the Trail Map
The views from Skyline Drive are some of the best – if not the best – in Virginia. 75 overlooks dot the 105-mile scenic route and you’ll definitely want to stop at more of them than not to snap a memory.
In Douthat State Park is Blue Suck Falls Trail, a three-mile moderate to difficult hike that includes a nice waterfall. One hiker proclaims, “Your long climb up the Blue Suck Falls is rewarded by one glorious vista after another,” so don’t just take it from us. Download the Trail Map
At milepost 50.7 on Skyline Drive is a trail leading to Dark Hollow Falls – a cascade of 70′ over greenstone. The hike out-and-back is a 1.5-mile easy trek. And again, the views from Skyline speak for themselves. Download the Trail Map
Fifteen miles of trails offer different vantage points of the renowned “great falls” of Great Falls National Park. The falls are created by jagged rocks in the Potomac River at the narrow Mather Gorge. Take your bike, if you’d rather, and bring $3 to get into the park.