This was one of my most memorable hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and the best time of the year to take this jaunt, in my opinion, would be in the spring. Head up during the morning hours when the temperature is still comfortable and count on about a four-hour round-trip hike. The trail begins just off route 56 east of Montebello where the highway parallels the Tye River.
You have a 1,380 elevation gain with numerous cascades ranging from small to large. The foot trail is the most common means of reaching the top, but for photography purposes, I always elected to take the direct route by following the stream to the top. The upper falls is quite dangerous, so do not step out into the stream at that point, because people have been killed by taking a bad step on to the slippery rocks.
Things have likely changed since I made my last trip thirty years ago, but for all I know, there is probably a chair lift to to the top. Hopefully, this pristine area of the Blue Ridge has not been altered over the years.
I led a troop of Boy Scouts up to the upper level back during the late sixties, when things were a bit more rustic. All I can remember is that we got a late start and ended up making the climb in total darkness. We camped in a lovely meadow above the falls, and I am sure there are many grown men who still remember that weekend adventure.
There were quite a few flashlights that ended up glowing dim on that trip.