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Falls of Dismal


Elevation: 2242 ft.

The Falls of Dismal sit on the edge of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest where the Pearis Thompson Branch of Dismal Creek drains Flat Top Mountain. The falls offer the perfect opportunity for cooling off on a hot day or respite from hiking or horseback riding in the area. The site’s proximity to the Appalachian Trail allows for this remote area to be explored more fully. The forest around the falls is primarily white pine, with oak, hickory and maple forming much of the lower canopy. Birds in the area include ruffed grouse, wild turkey, mourning dove, downy and pileated woodpeckers, eastern wood-pewee, eastern phoebe, blue jay, American crow, common raven, Carolina chickadee, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, Carolina wren, wood thrush, cedar waxwing, red-eyed vireo, hooded and black-and-white warblers, ovenbird, scarlet tanager, eastern towhee and American goldfinch. On occasion red-tailed, red-shouldered and broad-winged hawks can be seen circling overhead. The dank seepage streams in the forest around the falls are excellent sites to search for salamanders. Preferring drier havens, the rare timber rattlesnake might hang around in the numerous nooks and crannies of rock in the area. The quiet roadsides are good areas to search for butterflies on sunny days, with red-spotted purple and red admiral joining the more numerous swallowtails.


Trailhead Parking Coordinates: 37.185621, -80.902058

From I-81, exit onto State Highway 100 North/Cleburne Boulevard, continue for approximately 14.5 miles, turn left onto VA-42 East/Walkers Creek Valley Road, in approximately 10 miles slight right onto SR-606/Wilderness Road, turn right onto SR-671/Dismal Creek Road, and the trailhead parking is on the right.

Location & Directions

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Site Information

  • Site Contact: U.S. Forest Service, Eastern Divide Ranger District: (540) 552-4641
  • Website
  • Access: Free, Daily

Birds Recently Seen at Falls of Dismal (as reported to eBird)

  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • Blue Jay

Seasonal Bird Observations


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