Hike to Shamokin Falls
Shamokin Falls is a hidden gem tucked away at the northern boundary of Wintergreen Resort in Virginia. The hike to the upper falls is an easy 2.2 mile round trip with only a few short, steep uphill climbs. While there is a lower falls as well as an upper falls, we only made it to the upper falls before we had to head back up to the Blue Ridge Parkway to catch the sunset. We started our hike at the Dripping Rock Parking Area (coordinates: 37.941270, -78.936440) at MP 10 on the BRP. From the parking area start up the white blazed Appalachian Trail (trail right beside parking area- do not cross the road). In about 20 steps the trail splits- go right. In another 20 steps or so the trail splits again but this time it's harder to catch. You'll see a make-shift campground, this is where you'll need to stop and look for the trail. You'll have to go over a log but at this point go to the right again. The trail will be flat and covered with small little rocks. In 0.1 miles you should intersect with the road Laurel Spring Drive and if you don't you've gone the wrong way. (Side note- I attempted to do this hike last week with my best friend but because of all the weird unmarked trails and the different splits in the trail, we ended up hiking north on the Appalachian Trail for about a mile before I realized we had clearly gone the wrong way.) Once you get to the road, cross and go straight on the yellow blazed trail. To the left you should see a little sign with different trail names and arrows. In 0.3 miles you'll come to a side trail on your left that will be marked by a wooden sign. Take a left down this trail. It's pretty straight forward from this point on- every so often you'll see wooden signs that let you know which way the Upper Shamokin Falls are. I will say that you really, really need to be aware of your surroundings and make sure you're following the blazes (first yellow then red). The trail isn't heavily trafficked and transverses rocks so it's easy to lose. We stayed at the Upper Falls for a few minutes to have a snack and snap some pictures before we packed up and hiked back up to the car.
This waterfall is so beautiful and even has a small swimming hole at the base of it! In the spring time and after some heavy rain showers this waterfall is gushing with water. Since so many waterfalls in the Charlottesville area are crowded during the summertime I highly recommend hiking to Shamokin Falls to escape the crowds. The whole hike to the upper falls and back is about 2.2 miles. The woods around this area are so quiet and peaceful with the occasional gurgle that comes from the underground spring that runs along a majority of the trail. Also you'll find lots of mushrooms and other cool ferns/fungi/moss which, for me, was so much fun!
This little hike can be combined with a bunch of other hikes around Wintergreen for one big 13 mile loop or you can break each hike down and do them individually- either way the area has a tremendous amount of hiking during the summer months. To read more about the different trails go here.
Also- my sister has just returned from three weeds in Ecuador and is putting up pictures and reviews of all the fun things she did there. To read more about them go to her Ecuador page on my blog (left sidebar > Adventures > Travel > Ecuador)!