These guidelines are a great way to protect nature when you spend time on the trails and outside.
Waterfalls are a natural draw for us, and it’s likely a subconscious appeal. Water represents life, cleansing, and refreshment. Without it, life fails to exist.
There are several waterfalls in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, but Roaring Run Falls is perhaps one of the most accessible, and one of the easiest for families with small children to enjoy.
There are fun natural features, bridges to cross, picnic spots, a historic furnace, and the trek is quite photogenic.
Begin your exploration by choosing one of the two trails – Streamside Trail or Woodland Trail – or better yet, combine them to make an easy 1.5-mile loop. It’s an easy nature walk within the Roaring Run Day Use Area inside Jefferson National Forest in Botetourt County. The area is open from sunrise to sunset and is free.
Along your walk you’ll encounter a few places to spread a picnic lunch. Take a load off and enjoy the sounds of the forest around you.
Please adhere to the Leave No Trace principles by packing out whatever you pack in and staying in the designated trail areas. If hiking with your dog, please remember to keep them on a leash that's no longer than 6 feet.
There is no drinking water available but there are vault toilets at the parking area where you begin your hike.
View: Roaring Run Trail Map >
Hiking the Streamside Trail is exactly what you envision: a trail along Roaring Run Creek. Enjoy the babbling water as you cross three bridges along the way. There are so many great options for those looking for an informal portrait location.
Along the trail, you'll also find a couple spots where you can take a dip in the water and have some fun with a slide down the natural waterslide.
Roaring Run Creek is also a trout stream. Fishermen may be casting during your visit. Observe their sport and perhaps pick up a trick or two. If you’d like to fish, know that a Virginia Fishing License is required and you can obtain one on the Virginia DWR website >
After crossing the third bridge, a 1/10-mile spur trail leads to Roaring Run Falls. The natural, 30-foot waterfall cascades down a set of large rocks that makes for a gorgeous scene during all four seasons.
Remember to recreate responsibly and keep your distance from the waterfall as the rocks are extremely slippery, particularly when the water levels are high.
Backtrack to the fork in the trail and go left to pick up the Woodland Trail, which takes you to the historic 1832 Roaring Run iron ore furnace.
Its site was chosen thanks to the availability of limestone and iron ore, the trees, and the running water – all necessary to perform the task of smelting the iron ore. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places and there's an informational kiosk that explains the process of how the furnace was used.
Roaring Run Day Use Area
450 Roaring Run Road, Eagle Rock, VA 24085
Directions from Interstate 81: Take Exit 150 to U.S. 220 north and travel 21 miles. Turn left on Craig Creek Road (Route 615) and travel 5.5 miles. Turn right on Roaring Run Road (Route 621) and travel 1 mile. The entrance to Roaring Run will be on your left.
Roaring Run Hike Distance: 1.5 Mile Loop Trail
The Hoop Hole Trail is adjacent to the Roaring Run Falls area and is great for mountain biking. At a little over eight miles in length, it also includes river views and is excellent for bird watching.
Craig Creek Recreation Area is also a Day Use Area great for swimming, canoeing, and picnicking. If you have a group looking for an overnight outing, group camping is available by reservation for $35 per night. Day use is free. Like Roaring Run, there is no drinking water but there are vault toilets.
The Upper James River Water Trail (pictured above) begins in Botetourt County and ends in Rockbridge County. Between these two points the river runs 64 miles and varies between Class I and II rapids and placid, floatable waters.
59 miles of the river are designated Virginia Scenic River by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Locate your ideal access point or secure help from an outfitter for rentals and shuttle service.
A day of play requires good food to refuel the body. Likewise, an adult beverage may be in order to toast a grand adventure.
Near Roaring Run Falls we like Maw & Paw’s Diner (it’s all you imagine and then some!) for comfort food, amazing burgers (pictured above), and splendid pies. For a post-excursion clink, both Virginia Mountain Vineyards and Blue Ridge Vineyard are nearby. The views and the wines are worthy of a visit to both.
If you’re not quite ready to eat or drink, drive a short bit to reach the Town of Buchanan or Historic Fincastle. Both offer more dining options for you to choose from. For more photographic fun, take a walk across the Buchanan Swinging Bridge, also a National Register site. Dive into some original westward expansion history in Fincastle, a 1770s town tied to the Lewis & Clark Expedition.