|2 hours and 15 minutes with 30 minutes of breaks
Bottom Creek Gorge Preserve
Topo Hike Map (PDF)
Bent Mountain VA Weather Forecast
Garmin (GDB), GPS eXchange (GPX) (What's
By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins
The Bottom Creek Gorge Preserve, located south of Roanoke in the highlands of the Blue Ridge Plateau, features a spectacular gorge and arguably the tallest waterfall in Virginia. Before joining Goose Creek at the downstream end to form the South Fork Roanoke River, Bottom Creek flows through a narrow ~3-mile gorge that varies between 200 feet in depth at the upstream end to 900 feet in depth at the downstream end.
On this hike you'll pass by “The Kettles” when you enter the gorge, a series of enormous rapids in succession that beg to be explored further. The highlight of the hike is the overlook for Bent Mountain Falls, listed as the 2nd highest waterfall in Virginia at 200 feet. Camp Creek cascades and freefalls directly into Bottom Creek from the mountains above, creating a spectacular vista. It is arguably the tallest single waterfall in Virginia including the series of cascades above the lower drop, ranging between 340-370 feet high. Either way, the Bottom Creek Gorge Preserve is a relatively unheralded gem that is worth a visit.
Please note: Dogs are not allowed at any Conservancy preserve.
- Mile 2.0 – The Knight Trail ends at a T-junction with the Johnston Trail (red blaze), turn left.
- Mile 2.3 – T-junction with the Duval Trail (blue blaze) on the right. Continue straight to the waterfall overlook.
- Mile 2.4 – The Johnston Trail ends at the overlook for Bent Mountain Falls. From this perch nearly 400 feet above Bottom Creek you have a bird’s eye view of Bent Mountain Falls. Listed at 200 feet, this waterfall is seemingly much taller. Camp Creek plunges over 360 feet directly into Bottom Creek, making this arguably the tallest waterfall in Virginia.
- Mile 2.5 – Back at the trail junction turn left on the Duval Trail (blue blaze). Initially the Duval Trail follows the rim of the gorge before turning right to head back towards the entrance. Once you leave the gorge the trail passes through patches of pine forest and cleared fields.
- Mile 3.9 – The Duval Trail ends at a T-junction with the Johnston Trail and entrance road, continue straight to finish the hike.
- Mile 4.8 – Hike ends at the parking lot.