Bent Mountain Falls
Yes, it's there... Bent Mountain Falls, there behind the trees.
Bottom Creek Gorge Nature Preserve trails. 5.2 miles
With the dawg nursing a sore knee (actually chafing to get out into the woods), and thus taking a day off, we took an easy walk in a no-doggies-allowed area just up Bent Mountain from Roanoke.
The Bottom Creek Gorge reserve is lush with green this time of year – some of it beautiful and native, but also including the tallest stand of tree of heaven we've seen anywhere. There are also plenty of deer about. The three easy trails form a circuit, with the good stopping-for-lunch spot – the falls viewpoint – just about halfway. The falls is not part of Bottom Creek, but instead comes down the side of Bent Mountain and then into Bottom Creek. The maps seem to indicate that its stream is called Camp Creek, and was once called Puncheon Run. Anyway, at 200 feet, it is touted as Virginia's second longest waterfall, behind the 1,000-foot, five-cascade Crabtree Falls in Nelson County, where the longest single drop is 400 feet.
Bent Mountain Falls, a little distant from the viewpoint and with relatively modest flow on this day, is at least from that vantage
Overall, the walk is as easy a wooded five-miler as you'll find on this side of Virginia, although The Day Hiker makes the good point that the Chestnut Ridge Loop Trail on Roanoke Mountain certainly isn't any harder.
How to get there: U.S. 221 south out of Roanoke to Va. 644 to the right; then Va 669 to the small parking area.
Hike: August 14, 2010