The Blue Suck Falls Trail is an 8-mile moderate to difficult multi-use trail that connects several of the trails in the northwest region of the park to the trailhead near the visitor center at Douthat State Park.
The falls and trail get their unusual name from the Appalachian term for a whirlpool or a “suck,” which may be found at the base of the falls. At higher elevations, the trail traverses the ridge top, often along a narrow path, and connects to the George Washington National Forest trail network. The trail features several east facing overlooks of the Alleghenies such as Lookout Rock. A highlight of the trail are views of Blue Suck Falls. This rocky trail is steeper and more difficult at lower elevations.
Douthat State Park is one of Virginia’s jewels. Voted as one of the nation’s 10 best, the park has over 43 miles of trails. With Blue Suck Falls, Tuscarora Overlook, and the Beards Mountain loops, the park has two beautiful day hike circuits.
Douthat State Park offers camping options as well as cabin rentals. The cabins were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. There is a sandy beach for swimming, boat rentals, fishing, and incredible mountain biking and hiking trails.
Visit the official Douthat State Park website and click here for a complete map of park trails.
- From the parking area cross Wilson Creek on a paved road, then shortly pass the Beards Gap Hollow Trail that will be the return route. Continue up the paved road and in 100 yards enter the main section of Campground C. Turn left uphill on the yellow blazed Tobacco Ridge Trail and in 0.5 miles reach the highpoint of the trail and an overlook of Douthat Lake. Continue along Tobacco Ridge Trail for another 0.5 miles as it descends to the intersection of the blue blazed Blue Suck Falls Trail.
- Turn left uphill on the blue blazed trail immediately crossing a stream and in 200 yards pass the yellow blazed Huffs Trail on the right. 0.2 miles from the Huffs Trail intersection reach the intersection of the Laurel View Trail on the right. Stay left remaining on the blue blazed Blue Suck Falls Trail and in 0.3 miles pass the yellow blazed Locust Gap Trail that comes in from the left. Remain straight on the blue blazed trail is it becomes steeper and rockier for the next 0.2 miles before arriving at Blue Suck Falls.
- From the falls, the trail turns right and passes the Blue Suck Falls connecter trail that descends steeply on the right in 120 yards. In another 100 yards pass an overlook where the trail makes a turn back uphill to the left. 0.1 miles further the blue blazed Blue Suck Falls Trail turns left as the yellow blazed Pine Tree Trail continues straight.
- Turn left remaining on the blue blazed trail as it switchbacks steeply up Middle Mountain passing several beautiful overlooks before reaching Overlook Rock, and vista of the valley and Lake Douthat.
- Continue uphill on the Blue Suck Falls Trail as it switchbacks four more times before arriving at the yellow blazed Tuscarora Overlook Trail in 0.9 miles. Turn left downhill on the yellow blazed trail passing the intersection of the Tuscarora Overlook Trail continuation in 0.3 miles, and reaching a small cabin at the Tuscarora Overlook in another 0.1 miles.
- From Tuscarora Overlook, return to the last intersection and turn left on the yellow blazed continuation of the Tuscarora Overlook Trail. In 0.4 miles the yellow blazed trail ends at the orange blazed Stony Run Trail.
- Turn left downhill on the orange blazed trail as it makes eight sharp switchbacks before passing through a thick area of rhododendron and crossing Stony Run in 2.1 miles.
- Continue downward on the Stony Run Trail for 0.7 miles re crossing Stony Run and then arriving at the intersection of the yellow blazed Locust Gap Trail. Turn left slightly uphill on the yellow blazed trail as it winds around the valley before arriving at the silver blazed Beards Gap Hollow Trail in 0.8 miles.
- The yellow-blazed Locust Gap Trail turns left uphill, and the silver blazed Beards Gap Hollow Trail turns right downhill. Turn right downhill on the Beards Gap Hollow Trail for 0.9 miles where it veers right onto a gravel road. In 200 yards after joining the gravel road, pass a closed gate and arrive back at the paved road for Campground C. Stay right, re-crossing Wilson Creek back to the parking area.
From Roanoke – Take I-81 N to Exit 150B (US 220). Follow 220 for about 30 minutes. After passing through the town of Iron Gate, take the first exit to the right (Covington). This road will continue under I-64 and becomes Rt. 629. Park entrance is 4 miles farther on Rt. 629.
- After your hike, take a swim at the Douthat State Park lake public beach ($3 fee)
- Split a pizza with friends and family at Cucci’s Pizzeria