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.
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.
The severe damage from the December 2009 storm has been cleared and the wood bridge halfway up the trail repaired.
7/29/12 - While only a few blowdowns were encountered on the trail, the primary issue is that the path is collapsing into the creek in several places, thus providing difficult crossing. Recommendation is to create a raised boardwalk anchored into the hillside as the sides of the gorge will continue to be scoured by heavy runoff.
2/2/13 - The Forest Service has marked this trail closed beyond the first bridge and expects for it to remain closed for some time. The trail is obliterated by a land slide which has removed about 30 feet of the trail between the first and second bridges.
1/12/14 - Trip reports that the trail is open but travel still remains treacherous. Please use extreme caution and good judgement if attempting to reach the falls on this trail.
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 (Wise, 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!