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Roanoke, VA
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Falls Ridge Natural Preserve

With its nice hiking trails, beautiful waterfall, intriguing caves, rare plants, and convenient location, the Falls Ridge Preserve gets lots of attention. Falls Ridge Preserve is owned and protected by The Nature Conservancy.

  • A 5 mile loop trail or just an area to hang out in and explore
  • View a complete map of Falls Ridge Preserve
  • No pets allowed
Part of a steep, rugged ridge that rises from the valley of the North Fork of the Roanoke River, Falls Ridge Preserve boasts a spring-fed travertine waterfall approximately 80 feet in height.

Salem Fault runs through the preserve, dividing it into two different rock types-Precambrian limestone and shale/sandstone. The corresponding difference in soil types generates a diversity of vegetation, particularly wildflowers and smaller flora.

The rocks in the travertine falls watershed grew steadily, as minerals and lime dissolved in the water precipitate upon them. Over thousands of years, the build-up of calcium carbonate steepened the stream's gradient and slowly created both the waterfall and one of the largest-known exposed travertine deposits. Large sinkholes on part of the land also indicate the existence of underlying caverns which have never been explored.

Directions to Trailhead from Roanoke:
  • I-81 S to exit 128
  • Turn right onto N. Fork Rd/Rt. 603 and follow for ~7 miles
  • Look for a rickety old red wooden bridge on your left (Falls Ridge Rd). There may be an small wooden sign for the preserve
  • Cross the bridge and as your cross the railroad tracks bear left
  • Follow into the woods and parking lot on left
Directions to Trailhead from Blacksburg:
  • Travel south on South Main Street. Just past Wendy's make a left at the traffic light onto Ellet Rd. (which becomes Cedar Run Rd.)
  • Follow Cedar Run Rd. to the end. Make a left on Jennelle Rd. (at railroad tracks)
  • Follow Jennelle Rd. to Food Time store and make a right on Den Hill Rd.
  • Make a left on North Fork Rd.and travel roughly 3 miles
  • Look for a rickety old red wooden bridge on your right (Falls Ridge Rd). There may be an small wooden sign for the preserve
  • Cross the bridge and as your cross the railroad tracks bear left
  • Follow into the woods and parking lot on left

Add On:
  • Grab a bite to eat at the Mountain View Italian Kitchen located on Rt. 603. From Falls Ridge follow Rt. 603 toward Roanoke and restaurant will be on your right (540.268.2512)