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Apple Orchard Falls - Cornelius Creek

  4.3 ( 9 ) Favorite


7.8 mile 12.5 kilometer loop


Ascent: 2,069' 631 m
Descent: -2,067' -630 m
High: 3,452' 1,052 m
Low: 1,501' 457 m


Avg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 35% (19°)


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A loop hike leading to view the Apple Orchard Falls on North Creek and Cornelius Creek

John Phillips

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall

This route is quite safe as long as you stay on the trail. Do not leave the trail around the falls.


Starting at Sunset Fields Parking on the Blue Ridge Parkway, this loop combines the Apple Orchard Falls Trail, the Cornelius Creek Trail, and a section of the Appalachian Trail to see some of the best falls and cascades in the region.

Need to Know

The parking lot at the bottom (north end of the loop) is near a campground, as is the parking lot where the suggested shuttle is.


This hike starts from the Sunset Fields parking on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Begin by following the Apple Orchard Falls Trail, crossing the Appalachian Trail and continuing down to view the falls. Then continue descending the Apple Orchard Falls Trail along North Creek. On reaching the opposite trailhead for this trail, turn and climb the Cornelius Creek Trail viewing the cascades of Cornelius Creek. The Cornelius Creek Trail ends at its junction with the Appalachian Trail. Turn left onto the A.T. and return to the Apple Orchard Falls Trail. Follow this back to the parking at Sunset Fields.

If you have a mixed group of stronger and weaker hikers, you can leave a shuttle car at the North Creek Parking midway down the Apple Orchard Falls Trail.

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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Flora & Fauna, History & Background


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Jul 5, 2019
Brian Grumbach
We did the short trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway down the the falls. the sign said 1.2 miles but it felt like 10. Steep downhill and lots of ro… 3mi — 2h 00m
Jan 5, 2019
Andrew Lilly
Did this hike backwards from this description. A mediocre hike with a very nice waterfall. Stream coming,back to the trailhead was beautiful; perha… 7.8mi — 5h 30m
Jan 4, 2018
Ian Hensley
Oct 16, 2017
Regina Brimmer
Oct 3, 2017
Mattie Jones
6 hours. Took first picture at 9:59am. Took last picture at 4:05pm 7.8mi
Sep 3, 2017
Eric Ward
7.1mi — 2h 16m
Aug 10, 2017
Chris McCloud
Beautiful falls and nice hike back along creek.
Aug 10, 2017
Chris McCloud
Done as part of solo trip to Blue Ridge Parkway & Great Smoky Mountains NP for eclipse, August 2017

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Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 9 votes


  4.3 from 9 votes
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in Virginia


66 Views Last Month
1,155 Since Jan 31, 2017



Apple Orchard Falls freezes solid in winter.
Jan 28, 2017 near Buchanan, VA
This is just one of many cascades down Cornelius Creek.
Jan 31, 2017 near Buchanan, VA
A fellow hiker enjoys the chilly spray from Apple Orchard Falls.
Apr 13, 2017 near Buchanan, VA


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