This was not originally on our itinerary when we planned our trip to Virginia. Our friend we were visiting just happened to tell us about it, so me being me, I looked it up and noticed it was on our route home. We HAD to go!
The 66 foot waterfall is arguably one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Virginia. The hike is 4.0 miles round trip, and gains 800 feet in elevation. First off, try to get there early! There is only limited parking with no parking system so everyone is just driving around trying to find the first spot to come available. Just because you got there first, doesn't mean you will find a spot first. If it's busy, like it was when M and I arrived, have one of your passengers jump out and ask outgoing people if they are leaving. I approached a nice couple who looked like they were heading to their car. They allowed me to follow them, and as they pulled out, I blocked the spot for a moment until M was able to reach me in the car. We lucked out and were on the trail within 15 minutes of arriving.
With the little online research I was able to do before we arrived, I was told to take the Lower Trail to the Falls. The Lower Trail is a bit out of the way since you can follow the Upper Trail straight to the falls, which most people do. Believe me, take the Lower Trail there! The Lower Trail curves with Little Stony Creek, over bridges, stone steps and breathtaking dirt trails. Finally, the Upper and Lower Trails meet through vegetation and enormous boulders, leading to the Cascades.
The waterfall is in a bowl shape arena, carved by the mountains. We saw many people standing under the Falls to enjoy the crisp, rushing water and take a swim in the pool below. It was magnificent, and one of the most beautiful and majestic waterfalls I've ever seen.
We decided to take Upper Trail back, which was perfect. We didn't realize how steep Upper Trail was on the way to the waterfall, so we were thankful we got to walk downhill the entire way back to the parking lot.
Moral of this unexpected adventure: when someone tells you about a waterfall, go to the waterfall!