Little Stony Falls: A Peaceful Waterfall Hike in Southwest Virginia

The 4.8-mile out-and-back hike on the Little Stony National Recreation Trail near Dungannon, Virginia leads to Little Stony Falls. 

The yellow-blazed hiking trail follows Little Stony Creek through a 400-foot-deep and 1700-foot-wide gorge along an old railroad bed in Scott County.

Little Stony Creek

On this leafy hike in the Jefferson National Forest, you’ll cross three wooden bridges and navigate several easy rock scrambles en route to the falls.

Once you reach the falls, note that there is a Lower Falls, a Middle Falls and an Upper Falls. Upper Falls is closed due to a landslide situation.

Trail Stats
Length4.8 miles
Trail TypeOut-and-Back
Elevation Gain666 feet
Duration3-4 hours
TerrainMostly dirt & rock trails, some rock scramble
Driving DirectionsClick Here

Little Stony Falls Hike 

The hike parking area is at Hanging Rock Recreation Area, a day-use area within the Jefferson National Forest. It’s a large lot with room for at least 20 cars.

Here you’ll find a small picnic area with several picnic tables, as well as a vault toilet and short spur trails leading to the edge of Little Stony Creek.

The trailhead for the Little Stony Falls hike is located to the right of a large kiosk that has a map as well as several notices on forest rules and leave no trace. 

Little Stony Trail-Trailhead

The first few steps on the mostly dirt and rock trail are quite dark. It was hard to tell whether the foliage was especially dense or it was just early in the morning.

Along the way to Little Stony Falls, you will cross three wooden bridges over the flowing creek waters. The first appears at the 0.1-mile mark.

Wooden Bridge Over Little Stony Creek

In a few more steps, you’ll reach a tangle of fallen trees to navigate around to get back on the trail. At the 0.6-mile mark, heads up for a double yellow blaze.

The relatively flat, easy trail ends here. At least for now. To your right, scramble up and over a massive field of rocks.

Little Stony Falls Trail-Rock Scramble

Within less than one-quarter mile, the rock scramble is complete. Turn left to step back onto the mostly dirt trail to continue on to Little Stony Falls.

Near the 1.4-mile mark, you’ll reach the second bridge to cross over the creek. Then, at the 1.8-mile mark, a second double yellow blaze.

Little Stony Falls Trail-Stone Steps

Turn right here to go up the hill. In a few more steps, you will reach stone stairs and a funky rock formation, then a mossy rock scramble.

Little Stony Falls

The Lower Falls appear by the 2.1-mile mark. There’s a fairly large rock on the left that you can walk out onto for some nice photos of the waterfalls.

Little Stony Falls-Cascading Falls

From here, you can also step down onto some rocks to get up close to Lower Falls.

Continue on to cross some flat rocks adjacent to the gently cascading falls. You’ll see a yellow blaze to the far right that guides you to the main attraction.

Little Stony Falls Trail-Bridge Three

At the 2.2-mile mark, you’ll cross the last wooden bridge. In a few more steps, you will approach the viewing platform for Little Stony Falls.

This is Middle Falls. The stairs to continue on this trail are closed as a safety precaution by the U.S. Forest Service. You cannot reach Upper Falls.

This is not a disappointment. Middle Falls are absolutely stunning. They are also supposedly taller and more impressive than Upper Falls. 

Just before you reach the viewing platform, a fairly steep trail leads to the basin of Middle Falls. It’s a delightful swimming hole, so splash it up.

Little Stony Falls

This is an out-and-back hike, so re-trace your steps to return to the parking area.

Wrap-Up Notes

From the parking area, it took me nearly 2.5 hours to complete this hike, including time spent at the refreshing basin of the waterfall.

This area is largely a dead zone for AT&T cell phone subscribers. You may not be able to rely on your phone to map your way out of the area.

Eager to do two waterfall hikes in one day? The trailhead for the Little Stony Falls hike is just a 30-minute drive from Devil’s Bathtub.