Paul’s Creek Trail: A Quiet Waterfall Hike (+ Natural Water Slides)

I love secret hiking trails. You know the ones, the trails that feel like you are the only one that knows about them.

They are the exact opposite of Dragon’s Tooth and Devil’s Bathtub. As in, the hikes and trails that everyone knows about and everyone wants to hike, at the same time.

I recently came upon a hidden hike that was pure delight. So quiet, so beautiful, so serene. I almost wanted to keep this hike to myself.

Honestly, this Central Virginia day hike may only be secret outside of summer months given it’s got more than 70 reviews on AllTrails. Still, it felt secret to me.

This short and sweet hike is the 1.2-mile out-and-back Paul’s Creek Trail. It’s a stone’s throw from Wintergreen Resort (it may even be on resort property).

I hiked this trail, which finishes at an exquisite cascading waterfall, with a friend of mine last week. It was just the two of us. It was fantastic.

Trail Stats
Length1.2 miles
Trail TypeOut-and-Back
Elevation Gain328 feet
Duration1-1.5 hours
TerrainMostly dirt & rock trails
Driving DirectionsClick Here

Arriving at the Trailhead

When you arrive at the trailhead, you’ll quickly note that there is no parking lot. The directions dead-end in a cul-de-sac.

Pauls Creek-Parking Area

Your only option is to parallel park on either side of Paul’s Creek Court. The Paul’s Creek Trail begins just a few steps from the end of the cul-de-sac.

The First Steps

This delightful forested hike begins simply enough as a walk through the woods. At the .15-mile mark, turn left to stay on the trail.

Pauls Creek Trail Sign

It’s not easy to notice, but you will (eventually) see blue blazes that mark the trail. When you reach the .4-mile mark, you’ll approach a cascading creek.

I imagine this is Paul’s Creek. But, who is Paul? I guess that’s a question for another day. For now, you’ll need to hopscotch across rocks over the burbling creek.

Pauls Creek-Water Crossing

At the .55-mile mark, it’s an easy walk out onto large flat rocks. Then, a waterfall. But wait, there’s more. As in, natural water slides.

Yes, when water levels are just right, you can slide down these natural water slides into a refreshingly cold basin of creek water. Truly, the perfect summertime treat.

So, as I noted above, this likely is not such a hidden trail in summer. But in fall, when it was just the two of us, we felt like we were the only ones that knew about this trail.

Wrap-Up Notes

As you can imagine, this is a short hike. It took us less than 45 minutes to complete the trail with plenty of time spent reveling in the fall foliage and waterfall views.

If we were able to hop into the swimming hole or slide down one of the water slides, we would have spent much more time at Paul’s Creek. I’ll be back for sure.

Eager for more? Check out my favorite hikes near Staunton and hikes near Waynesboro, as well as cool hikes near Wintergreen Resort.