Dismal Falls offer a two-for-one exploring package: the drive to find this spot is remote and beautiful, and while the falls are only a short walk from the parking area, they are completely hidden from view of roads. The sound of falling water drowns out any sound of passing cars (which are quite rare).

Explorers in Southwest Virginia run into a common problem: local hikes and waterfalls are often saturated with college students out enjoying a warm day. While it's wonderful to have so many people appreciating the beauty of the Jefferson National Forest, it can be difficult to find a remote, quiet place to sneak off to in this part of the state. Dismal Falls offers the perfect combination of relative closeness to Blacksburg, VA, and seclusion from busy foot traffic. On the snowy January day that I visited the falls, I had them completely to myself. These falls are about 45 feet wide, and ten feet tall. The amount of water cascading over them varies day to day. I was there to do some long exposure photos, but I learned that the area is stocked with trout and just perfect for a peaceful fishing day. The falls offer many smooth rocks to sit and take in the moment.

Pack List

  • Directions to and from the falls
  • You will lose cell phone service here--hooray!
  • A picnic lunch, if you plan to stay and relax
  • A fishing pole, if trout fit your fancy.
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RT Distance 0.1 Miles
Elevation Gain 0 Feet
Activities Chillin, Fishing, Photography, Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Love it!

My kids and I stopped here on our way to Brumley Mountain. We, too, had it all to ourselves. I would love to go back in the summer to wade into the water a bit or allow my son to fish.

Beautiful waterfall

This waterfall is a well-kept secret. The Appalachian Trail passes within 0.1 miles of the falls so if you want to turn exploring this waterfall into a hike, there's options for that too!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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