Wonderful Waterfalls

Stony Run and Blue Suck Falls
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Stony Run and Blue Suck Falls
Distance : 8.8 mile loop
Difficulty : Moderate
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Stony Run Falls and Blue Suck Falls are located in Douthat State Park, established in the early 1930s as one of the first six state parks in Virginia. The Civilian Conservation Corps left a mark of fine “Depression era” landscaping and wood craftsmanship throughout the Park. Douthat State Park is recognized as a National Registered Historic Landmark.

The Park lies between two ridges and covers close to 4,500 acres. Wilson Creek runs through the Park, north-to-south, and parallels VA 629. A dam, built by the CCC, impounds the fifty-acre Douthat Lake, and a visitor center operates from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. The list of facilities is long: store, amphitheater, restaurant, campground, cabins and lodge, boat ramp, and boat rentals. (Whew!) You can lunch under the picnic shelter, swim at designated beaches, fish from the creek or the lake, and of course, go hiking.

Douthat State Park offers more miles of hiking trails than any state park in Virginia. This waterfall loop is part of the forty miles of hiking trails in the Park. The circuit consists of fourtrails—Stony Run Trail (orange blazes, 4.5 miles); Tuscarora Overlook Trail (yellow blazes, 0.8 miles); Blue Suck Falls Trail (blue blazes, 2.8 miles); and Tobacco House Ridge Trail (yellow blazes, 0.8 miles).

Beginning at the trailhead for Stony Run Trail, you'll climb gradually for 2.5 miles, gaining 300 feet in elevation, to Stony Run Falls. Follow the short side trail to the falls. The ascent continues as you scale Middle Mountain on several switchbacks. Once on Tuscarora Overlook Trail, you'll come to a grassy clearing and a restored CCC cabin. This maintained overlook affords the most beautiful view in the Park looking west down into the basin of Wilson Creek and across towards the distant Beard'sMountain on the Park's east boundary. Blue Suck Trail leads you to another superb view called Lookout Rock (2,560 feet), and then descends on switchbacks through a hollow along Blue Suck Run to cross the base of Blue Suck Falls at 7.5 miles. Don't miss the right onto Tobacco House Ridge Trail, which takes you to Campground C.

The loop trail crosses Stony Run and Blue Suck Run several times—no bridges—so wear weather-proof shoes. Many trails intersect the loop trail; watch the colored blazes carefully.

Both Stony Run Falls and Blue Suck Falls are located on runs by the same names. They originate on Middle Mountain, the highest peak in the Park. Stony Run and Blue Suck Run flow into Wilson Creek below Douthat Lake. The narrow waterfalls both drop about fifty feet, but Blue Suck Falls has three distinct cascades. Try to visit these creeks after a good rain—there are practically no waterfalls if these runs are dry.

Directions:

From Clifton Forge, take Exit 8 off I-64 and head north on VA 629 (Douthat Road), which runs through the Park. The office is 7 miles on the right. The parking area for Stony Run Falls is 0.5 miles back down VA 629 on the right. The trailhead is in the center of the parking area. To avoid hiking the additional 0.5 miles along VA 629 at the end of theloop, set a second car (or have someone pick you up) at the bathhouse in Campground C, directly across from the Park's office.

© Article copyright Menasha Ridge Press. All rights reserved.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 11 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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