Falls Creek Falls is a waterfall in Jones Gap State Park that features a 50-foot cascade that breaks over several stages. The trailhead is not in the main part of the park. You have to travel through the Palmetto Bible Camp to find it. There is roadside parking for maybe 7 or 8 cars, so get there early before it fills up.
The trail is 1.9 miles from the trailhead to the falls, making it a nearly 4-mile out-and-back hike. I would rate this hike a moderate-to-difficult. It’s very similar to nearby Rainbow Falls Trail, except this trail has no switchbacks to help you manage the elevation. The trail actually starts with an unforgiving uphill climb. After that, it levels out and is mostly hilly until the next big climb. The intermittent climbs are mostly moderate except for a few technical areas, including the climb down to the base of the waterfall.
Note that if there has been recent rainfall and the ground is muddy, the hike will be much more difficult. That said, it’s not too bad if you’re in shape and don’t mind a little climbing. Trekking poles will help with the ascents and descents.
The purple blazing is good on the first 2/3 of the trail and then seems to disappear when the trail gets steeper. I hiked almost to the top of the falls before I realized I was off-trail and had to backtrack. There’s no swimming hole at the falls and no flat ground to really enjoy the view. This is a hike in, get your photo, and hike out kind of attraction.
It can be hard to take in the scope of the cascade because it’s so steep and the canopy is so dense. I should add that the trail crosses the creek and continues on the other side. I had a 4-month old puppy with me, so I couldn’t cross the water with him. If you know where the trail continues to go, please let me know in the comments.
Mark M Melechinsky
The trail on the other side happens to be the Hospital Rock Trail that originates in Jones Gap State Park. It is listed as a 6.2 mile trail with a 2,096 foot elevation gain. I would rate the trail as strenuous.