Dismal Falls

These falls are anything but dismal
Dismal Falls

Dismal Falls – 40 ft. width with a 12 ft. drop into a single whirlpool. It’s an easy hike for those who are less eager to venture far off the beaten path. From the community of White Gate on hwy. 42, just off Rt. 100 from Pearisburg, it’s a short jaunt of a little over 10 miles. You will take SR-606 to SR-671 and soon see a sign and pull-off on your right for the falls.

The ledges on the left side of the falls are step-like while the middle and right ledges are more of a straight drop. In lower water, the middle and right are not covered and the stream is much narrower. Despite the width of the stream, the waterfall is not particularly open with trees lining each bank and throwing much of the falls into shade most of the day.

White Cedar Horse Camp

The campground has two loops, Stormy and Misty (like in the book), in Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains. The nearby Flat Top Mountain offers several trails for an up-close-and personal opportunity to explore the area. Large spacious campsites, tucked in among grand old oak and maple trees, feature nice views, good privacy, a lantern pole, and corral for horses. While the campground is designed for equestrian campers, all campers are welcomed. Dismal Creek is a short walk from campground and is especially attractive when the wildflowers and rhododendrons are in bloom. The Appalachian Trail is nearby, offering hikers, but not equestrians, a chance to explore this ancient trail. The campground includes a Group Area which does not permit horses, but does have a nice little playground.

NOTE: The state requires a Coggins certificate when transporting a horse.

Flat Top Mountain Trail System (foot/horse/mountain bike) – 20 miles.

Nearby Dismal Creek has stocked Rainbow trout.

Driving Directions:
Take exit 98 from I-81 going north on VA-100. Go 11.6 miles and turn left on VA-42. After 10.1 miles turn right on SR-606. After 1 mile, turn right on SR-671 which becomes unpaved after .4 miles. .5 miles after the pavement ends, there is a sign for the falls and a small pull-off on the right of the road.

From Blacksburg: Follow route 460 to Pearisburg. Take route 100 to route 42 for 10 miles. Follow route 42 for 10 miles. Turn right on route 606. Go 1 mile turn right onto route 201 just past store. Go about 1 mile. There is a roadside pull off with a trash receptacle marking the trail head.
Fees for Access: none

How to Find It
From the parking area, follow the short trail to the falls. Be careful on the rocks where the trail comes out as they can be slippery.

  • Total round trip: .1 miles over easy terrain.
  • Safety Considerations: slippery rocks at viewpoint.