virginia hikes: Roaring Run, April 7 2019

After finishing the Hoop Hole loop, I still had some day light. And unlike Hoop Hole, Roaring Run was a hike I had wanted to do, but could never justify driving out there for such a short hike. So this was a good opportunity for me to take a look at the well liked falls of Roaring Run.


  • name: Roaring Run (gps track – alltrails wikiloc)
  • type: loop
  • distance:  1.6 miles
  • elevation change:  358 ft ascent and descent
  • time:  51 minutes (48 minutes moving)
  • location: Jefferson National Forest near Eagle Rock, VA (google map directions)


There are 2 trails that head to the Roaring Run Falls, the Streamside Trail and the Woodland Trail. I looped both together going up the Streamside Trail and coming back on the Woodland trail. The Streamside Trail is much easier.


The other hike from this trailhead is an alternative starting point for the Hoop Hole hike via the estimated 3 mile (one way) Iron Ore Trail connecting to the upper loop of Hoop Hole for a total of around 14.5 miles.

Iron Ore trailhead at Roaring Run


The trailhead and parking area for Roaring Run was a short detour on my way out from the Hoop Hole trailhead. It was much bigger and unlike Hoop Hole had several cars in it. This would be a very crowded and popular hike during a nice day. As such, I picked up plenty of trash on my way out, so please practice leave no trace if you decide to hike here and jump in the swim holes here.

There is plenty of picnic area with grills at the beginning of the trailhead. There is also a bathroom.


At the bathroom, the trail splits for the Streamside trail to the left and the Woodland trail to the right. There is a 3rd option for the Iron Ore trail I mentioned above to the far left here as well. I took the Streamside trail crossing a bridge immediately and as named, followed Roaring Run. The streams here are stocked with trout and fishing is allowed with a license from Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries.


You can see the first of many cascades on this hike on the next bridge that crosses the stream.


After crossing the river again, the next cascade is over a larger flat rock creating a waterslide look. Though, probably not a good idea.


Continuing onwards, there are some nice views of Roaring Run under a rock wall.


After one more crossing, the Streamside Trail merges with the Woodland trail to reach the bottom of the Roaring Run Falls. During warmer days, this would be a popular swimming hole and the evidence can be found as there were left behind clothing and flip flops among other trash. I picked what I could carry with my hands on the way out, but please leave no trace if you are enjoying the beautiful stream.


The trail continues to the right of the falls. You can walk down at several points to see the stream cascading down some tiered rocks. Be careful here as the rocks are very slippery.


Further up, the top Roaring Run falls comes into view.


There is a sign warning hikers not to go forward anymore when it does look like the the rock face to the right allows it. With the among of novice hikers that walk this trail, it is understandable for this sign.


I retraced my steps back to the junction with the Woodland Trail and took it back.


The trail itself is as named in the forest and gains elevation above the creek. At one point, there is a small side trail that allows a nice look at Roaring Run below.


Later on, there is another overview that doesn’t provide much of a view.


On the downhill back to the trailhead, the trail itself was a little muddy here and there. Just before the intersection, the trail passes by the old iron furnace.


After dropping of the trash near the bathroom, I was back at my car with plenty of light left in the day.


ratings (1-5; click link for detailed breakdown)

  • views:  3. The cascades, waterfalls, and swimming holes of Roaring Run is definitely a treat without much work. As such, this will be a busy trail on a nice day. The Streamside trail is by far the better trail to reach the falls. The Woodland trail is a good alternative to change things up, but it is not interesting at all and I wouldn’t do unless in the fall with the foliage.
  • difficulty: 1. Short and easy one.
  • technical: 1. The trails are well marked here with plenty of blazes to follow and well signed junctions.

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