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12 Degrees at Falling Springs

Hot Springs, Virginia



0.5 miles

Route Type



Added by Curtis Childress

This is without a doubt the most beautiful waterfall in Virginia. It's easily accessible via the pulloff next to it and the hike down is very easy. Not to mention its about a 10 minute drive through Covington, Virginia.

Alan and I hopped in the car and drove towards the Blue Ridge Parkway. We both work quite a bit, so any chance we get to venture into the never is one that we'll take.

About 20 minutes before hitting the parkway we started to think aloud about how it might be closed, because of the snow a few weeks prior (the Blue Ridge Parkway takes a long time to thaw after a snowfall). We got to the gate and it was closed. I had a couple back up plans and asked Alan if he'd ever been to Falling Springs. He hadn't, so I pulled an image from google to show him and he was all in.

We drove about 2 hours, stopping to catch the setting sun over the mountains through trees and homes on the backroads of Western Virginia. Finally we hit a town called Covington, which had this billowing cloud of pollution over it due to a chemical plant. It also happened to smell like a rotten ham sandwich, so it may not be your go-to spot to stay the night if necessary, but its a town and its there.

We drove down a road that was very eerie to us in the dark night. It was as if the road was u-turn after u-turn, winding to the point where each turn was taken at under 15 mph.

Finally, 10 miles and 30 minutes later we could hear the falls. We pulled off and walked to the overlook and snapped a few photos as the 12 degree night blew harsh wind into our faces. We followed a set of foot prints that led near the base of the falls and mounted our tripods on ice covered rocks to get some long exposure photos. Alan's battery was dying and we'd been painting the waterfall with our headlamps for about 45 minutes before our limbs started to feel stiff from the cold. We headed back to the car and made the 3 hour drive back to Richmond, with very few photos on our memory cards, but the journey was fruitful nonetheless.

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