Top Waterfall Hikes in Smyth County

Smyth County offers plenty of scenic waterfalls to discover, from the easily accessible Big Tumbling Creek to the more challenging (but worth it!) hike to Rowland Creek Falls. Explore these top waterfall hikes on your next visit. Our pro tips: wear comfortable shoes with a good grip, don’t forget your camera, and always keep waterfall safety in mind!

Tumbling Creek Falls

The ride up to the Tumbling Creek Falls is pretty and the waterfalls are rushing with life. A trip to the falls will make for an excellent day trip with lots of scenic views on the way there and when you arrive. With the creek water rushing beside you the entire drive up and the rolling mountains on the drive there, this is a trip you do not want to miss. There are views you and your family will enjoy. The kids will have a blast fishing and chasing waterfalls.

Tumbling Creek Falls

Tumbling Creek Falls would make for a fun family day. There is something to do for everyone in the family at this location. The falls are rather easy to get to and when you arrive you are greeted with not one, but three beautiful waterfalls. It’s an adventure your kids will love and never forget. Come to Tumbling Creek Falls and make memories with your kids that will last a lifetime.

The waterfalls are on a gravel road that lead to a lake. The road is located near Saltville, Virginia in Smyth County. I suggest putting Laurel Bed Lake into your GPS if you want to look at the waterfalls. It is the easiest way to find it. The falls are on Tumbling Creek Road. Taking an SUV or truck would be best since the road is gravel and is steep at some points. You will not go the entire way up the gravel road to find the waterfalls though. You will pass Rainbow Campground and follow the road for a few miles. It took about 20-25 minutes from the start of the gravel road to get to the waterfalls. After the road gets steep and you go around some switchbacks, you will arrive to the waterfalls. The gravel road is only big enough for one vehicle for most of the ride up, but there are plenty of places to pull off to the side, especially when you arrive to the waterfalls. 

Getting to Big Tumbling Creek

On the ride up you will be beside Big Tumbling Creek most of the way. You will also see many people trout fishing on the way up, Big Tumbling Creek is very popular for trout fishing. There are 3 major waterfalls walking distance from each other, once you reach them. It’s a steep, slippery, and short walk down to one of the waterfalls, so be cautious if you have children. The waterfalls are extremely beautiful. There were even people fishing in them. There is also a lake at the end of the road, a little bit further than the waterfalls. Fishing during the day and then heading to see the waterfalls would make an extravagant family day with loads of fun. You could even go kayaking at the lake during the day too. There is a lot of fun opportunities for every family at this location. 

After a long day at Tumbling Creek Falls there is lots to explore in the small town of Saltville, Virginia. You could spend the afternoon at the Saltville Wave Pool, go visit the Museum of the Middle Appalachians, and finish the day by eating at Buck’s Drive-In. Saltville is a town full of that small town charm that you don’t want to miss.

Comers Creek Falls

Comers Creek Falls is a small waterfall on a trail located in Hurricane Campground. The campground is right on Comers Creek and the entire hike up to the waterfall you can hear the waters of the creek rushing with life. This hike is a pretty short and easy one. It was a peaceful walk up hearing the sounds of the water. The trails at this campground are not extremely busy, making the hikes even more calm and enjoyable.

The trail is a little narrow at times, but nothing too unmanageable. It starts out pretty flat and gets slightly steep on some parts of the trail. It’s about a 1.5 mile hike to the waterfall. You follow the trail for about 1.3 miles and then there is a sign that points towards the falls and you turn left off of the main trail to the falls. This trail connects to the Appalachian trail so be sure to stay on the lookout for the sign that leads to the waterfall. Overall, it’s a pretty easy and fun hike. It doesn’t take too much time to hike either. It took about an hour and a half to go there and back. 

Hurricane Campground to Comers Creek Falls

Hurricane Campground is located in a small town called Sugar Grove, Virginia.

The campground has a few other trails and a creek to fish in. The trail that leads to the falls is the Appalachian Trail and you can continue on it if you wish. While you are at the campground, you could also walk on the Comers Creek Trail. It follows the creek along for a mile or so. I suggest bringing good shoes for this trail because it is muddy in some areas.

Don’t be confused! The campground has hikes for Comers Creek Trail and a Comers Creek Falls. These are two separate things. The Comers Creek Trail does not lead to the falls. The trail that leads to the falls is right before you go across the bridge to go into the campground. Once you enter the campground they have a map that can help guide you to where you need to be if you have trouble. Where the trail begins, there is not parking, so I suggest parking in an open space at the campground and then heading to the trail. There is a gravel road that leads there that is pretty steep, I suggest taking the main roads into the campground. It is a lot easier that way.

Outside of the campground there are many diners, good restaurants, fun activities, and lots more hiking in local areas. Casey’s Diner is a delicious restaurant nearby the campground if you are up to grab some food after your day of adventure.

Rowland Creek Falls

One of Smyth County’s most beautiful waterfalls is Rowland Creek Falls, located in Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, and accessible by Route 600 via Chilhowie, VA. This hike can be a bit more challenging, so we recommend a guided nature hike with White Blaze Outdoors.

This half-day hike, of approximately 4 miles round trip, is medium difficulty with some steep climbs and creek crossings. The terrain at the base of the falls can be technical; however, your guide will assist you as you descend to the falls. You are sure to enjoy the beautiful falls. Pack a picnic and enjoy a day of fun and beauty.

Waterfall in Smyth County VA
Rowland Creek Falls, courtesy of White Blaze Outdoors

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