Big Falls and the Pinnacle

  • Highlights: Waterfalls, wildflowers, swinging bridge
  • Distance: 3.9 miles out and back 
  • Elevation Change 470 feet
  • Trail Surface: gravel to the falls, dirt with a few rocks after the falls
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Trailhead Parking: Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve, State Park Road, route 721, Russell County VA
  • Trail Markings: Blue blazes on Big Cedar Creek Trail, orange blaze on Pinnacle View Trail
  • Website: AllTrails and Virginia DCR
  • Beer Pairings: Sweetbay Brewing Co.—Virginiana Pale Ale & Science Fiction IPA

Trail Map:

The Hike:

This easy trail has nice river and waterfalls views. The trail is well marked and well maintained. The hike begins with a swinging bridge across Big Cedar Creek. The trail soon becomes a wide, gravel path and passes beside the creek. Wildflowers line the trail with numerous nice creek views.

Hikers will hear the falls long before they can see it. A short spur trail on the right leads to some great views of the falls. An out-and-back to the falls is an easy 2.4 miles. To view the Pinnacle, continue on the blue-blazed Big Cedar Creek Trail.

After the falls, the trail becomes a more conventional hiking trail—dirt and some rocks. Follow the orange-blazed trail on the right to some nice views of the Pinnacle. Continue on the trail to reach the creek with more Pinnacle views. Look closely for some rare wildflowers including Yellow Lady Slippers. The trail rejoins the blue-blazed Big Cedar Creek Trail and ends at the confluence of Big Cedar Creek and the Clinch River. Retrace your steps to return to the parking area.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

Located in the site of the former Wolf Hills Brewery, Sweetbay Brewing is Abingdon’s only craft brewery. The brewery is kid and pet friendly. They have a nice beer garden and a variety of nearby establishments sell food. Pete really liked Science Fiction IPA (7.3% ABV), a west-coast style IPA brewed with CTZ and dry hopped with Mosaic and Cascade. Kathy enjoyed a cold pint of Virginiana (5.4% ABV), an American Pale Ale, brewed with Simcoe and Motueka hops.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.