Little Stony Creek Falls
Hike in deep, rock-lined gorge with sandstone cliffs and cascading creek to view two different waterfalls - a curtain and a plunge.
NOTE: Currently officially closed (May 2018) between first bridge from lower trailhead to second bridge from upper access.
How to get there
From Gate City, VA to lower trailhead:
- Turn onto VA-71 north (no sign here).
- After one mile, turn left on VA-72 and proceed north (through Ft. Blackmore and Dungannon) for 22 miles.
- Look for USFS sign, to USFS Hanging Rock Recreation Area (about 2.6 miles north of Dungannon).
- At extremely sharp switchback, go straight (left side of highway) into picnic area and park.
Note: Picnic area is only open mid March-October 31, thus locked gate during off-season. Park along the access road (do not block the gate) and add quarter mile each way to the hike.
To upper parking area:
- Follow above directions.
- Continue on VA-72 past the entrance to USFS Hanging Rock Recreation Area for an additional 6.6 miles (very curvy!)
- Turn left onto SR-664 (Corder Town Rd) and go 1.1 miles.
- Turn left onto gravel Forest Service Road #700 and go 1.4 miles.
- At the road split take the left (Forest Service Road #701) and go one mile to gravel parking area.
- Follow the trail downstream.
From the Hanging Rock Recreation Area, this yellow-blazed trail winds up the deep rock-strewn gorge carved by the cascading Little Stony Creek. Follow former narrow gauge logging railroad up creek valley. Stream is crossed by several wood bridges. There is an observation stand at the middle falls. Rock steps lead down to pool at base of upper falls. Beyond the upper falls is a parking lot. The trail continues north as lesser used Chief Benge Scout Trail.
As shared in TEHCC September 2019 newsletter: This hiking trail has two issues which render this path temporarily closed officially effective with a USFS May 2018 notice. Since Summer 2012, a landslide has removed a section of the trail making it impassable after first bridge from lower trailhead. Multiple blowdowns are reported for this same area, but bypass routes allow access to the middle (curtain) waterfall. At the upper (plunge) waterfall, a more recent landslide has cut off the observation platform and access to bottom of the waterfall after the second bridge from the upper parking lot.
Natural Resources Specialist Brandon Olinger for Clinch Ranger District shares that the trail is being rerouted around the older, lower slide. This section will hopefully open by late September 2019. The newer, upper slide is seeking funding for its repair. No timeline but aspire to have done by Fall 2020.
Fees, Permits, etc.
The day use fee for USFS Hanging Rock Recreation Area does not appear to be collected as no sign in present at the payment stand. The rec area has 16 picnic areas with cooking grills and vault toilets.
See also Forest Service trail description Forest Service trail page
Clinch Ranger District (Norton, VA) Telephone: 276-679-8370. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8AM to 4:30PM.
After the Hike
If driving to the upper parking area stop at a small pull-out half a mile from the parking area (rocks with lots of graffiti) and walk quarter mile out to Bear Rock. Spectacular views. No guard rails, use extreme caution!