You don’t have to go far afield to see beautiful scenery in our little corner of Virginia. The Blue Ridge Mountains edge the eastern side of our valley, the Appalachians, the west. Gentle hills, rollicking streams, and the impressive New River all inspire photographers.
The first week of May was absolutely glorious in these parts. Mother Nature showed off and gifted us with gentle breezes and pleasant temperatures. What a perfect time for daughter Carolynn and her friend Robin to visit.
One of the best of our excursions was a trip to “Secret” Falls: bright sunny day, a bit warmer than cool, palette of spring greens dotted with dainty wildflowers in pale hues, sparkling water gurgling. Picture perfect!
“Secret” Falls, nicknamed by our grandchildren years ago, is one of the best-kept secrets in the New River Valley. It’s part of a steep, rugged ridge that rises from the North Fork of the Roanoke River Valley. The spring-fed travertine waterfall is a lofty 80 feet, about half the height of Niagara Falls. Over thousands of years the rocks in the watershed grew steadily as minerals and lime dissolved, and the build-up of calcium carbonate steepened the stream’s gradient and slowly created both the falls and one of the largest-known exposed travertine deposits.
The 700-acre preserve is bisected by the Salem Fault that divides the area into two different rock types — Precambrian limestone and shale/sandstone. The different soil types host diverse vegetation, particularly wildflowers and smaller flora.
Getting there is easy enough, if you don’t miss the turn onto the narrow dirt road that takes you over a rattly old bridge, across railroad tracks, and sharp left onto an even narrower road that ends at a glorious grassy clearing.
Falls Ridge Nature Preserve is well worth finding — and now you know the secret. Your GPS will tell you how to get there.
“Mouse over” the photos to see captions: pictures 3, 8, 10 and 12, Robin Wrench; 6 and 9, Carolynn Lyman; the rest, me.
Thanks for reminding me how incredible the scenery in my backyard can be.
It is glorious, isn’t it?
Very lovely. Brings back fond memories of Mohican in the Spring! and I’m impressed that you are still out hiking in the woods; we haven’t for years 😦
The secret is, this is a very short loop, tho’ there is a sharp, steep ascent. Gorgeous. You could do it! 😉
Love the photos and it was such a perfect day for this hike. I bet a few Virginians will be taking a nice hike to Secret Falls when they see this post.
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