Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Falls of Little Stony Creek

The forecast was for clouds with a 50% chance of rain, but as we've all come to expect, weather forecasting in the mountains of NETN/SWVA is not an exact science. The trip was supposed to be a return to the Devil's Bathtub is Scott Co. Va with an excursion to Little Stony if time and energy permitted. 

We arrived at the first of the 13 creek crossings required to get to the bathtub and was greeted by high water, too high to make a safe crossing, obviously the runoff from the previous week's snow. So on to plan B.

We navigated through the mountains of Scott county to the Hanging Rock Rec. Area, then on to the trailhead for the Falls of Little Stony creek. The runoff that prevented us from getting to the bathtub made for a nice volume of water flowing over the falls.

This first picture is of a long cascade at the top of the Upper Falls, which is less than 1/4 mile from the parking area.
Cascade at the top of the Upper Falls
This next picture is of the Upper Little Stony Falls, a 28 vertical waterfall that lands in a large pool that is about 10 feet deep. Stone steps lead down to the base of the falls.

Upper Little Stony Falls
Back on the we traveled another 1/4 mile to the next bridge over the Middle Little Stony Falls, which is about 10 ft. high. There no plunge pool to speak of, just a long cascade that continues into a gorge. We had the scramble down the bank to get to the creek. This next picture was taken about 100 ft downstream from the falls.

Middle Little Stony Falls and the downstream cascade
This next picture is an isolation of a single limb at the base of the Middle falls. Trying to time the picture when the leaf wasn't blowing around took several attempts.

Lonely Leaf at Middle Falls

Just a few hundred yards further down the trail is Lower Little Stony Falls. It is the biggest of the three falls. This 40 footer is pretty spectacular looking; it's really wide with a large shallow plunge pool. The view from the wooden platform was just barely ok; the best looking water was the cascade downstream, but the "trail" to the base of the falls was very steep, and wet, and slick, with leaf-covered rocks, and mud. I first tried going downstream to try and find a way down to a large rock that jutted out into the creek, but no joy. So we slid/stumbled down the bank to the base and got the best shots of the falls from down there.

Lower Little Stony Falls and downstream cascade
All in all it was a good day. The trail was in pretty good shape, only a little slick in a few places. There were stone and wooden steps in the steeper areas, I'd rate the trail itself from easy to moderate in difficulty.


To reach the Little Stony Falls trailhead from Dungannon, follow Route 72 north for 7.7 miles, then turn left onto Retford Rd (Route 664.) After 0.4 miles, take a slight left at Corder Town Rd. Follow Corder Town Rd. for 0.8 miles, then turn left onto Forest Road 700. Follow Forest Road 700. for 1.3 miles, then take a slight left onto Route 701. The trailhead is at the end of the road.

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