Adventures in the Southern Appalachians & Beyond!  






June 21st, 2009 - I went on a great hike with my Dad on Father's Day to the Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve in Russell County, Virginia.  This is an area that I visited frequently as a child, fishing and exploring with my father and grandfather.  Only, recently has this beautiful place been protected by the State of Virginia due to rare species and rare natural communities of mussels.  It is now considered State Park.


We started our hike near the swinging bridge that has been completely rebuilt in recent years.  When I was boy we would cross the old bridge that was so rickety it nearly scared me death.  The new bridge is quite an improvement.    


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Dad Crossing the Swinging Bridge

  Small Waterfall on Big Cedar Creek
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Butterfly   "Big Falls" on Big Cedar Creek
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Another View of the Falls   Side Angle

After crossing the swinging bridge, Dad and I hiked down the forest road (which is called the "Big Cedar Creek Trail") for one mile until we reached the picnic/bathroom area.  From here, we got sidetracked for a couple of tenths of a mile as we following Big Cedar to a small waterfall (seen above).  We retraced our steps and then found the "Clinch River Trail" where followed it to "Big Falls"

This is a nice waterfall as it extends across the entire stream... even wider than the normal width of the stream.  It's a hard one to photograph though as it sits in full sun, and there are not many good vantage points to photograph from.          

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Dad at the Falls   Taking Photos
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Me and My Dad at the Falls - 

Father's Day 2009


Dad on the Trail to Pinnacle

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Climbing Steps   Sign Near Pinnacle View

After the falls we kept going on the Clinch River Trail to the junction of the Pinnacle View Loop trail, where we followed it until we reached "Pinnacle View".  This was a nice spot with a bench that looked directly up to Pinnacle Rock through the trees.   I have climbed up to the summit of Pinnacle Rock when I was younger, but would love to do it again soon.

Interestingly, I have an ancestor (my great-great grandfather Taylor Litton of whom I and many of relatives were named after) that was killed neared Pinnacle.  Here's a copy of the obituary, which says he was killed by a Grizzly.  This must be a mistake as it must have been a Black Bear in this area.             

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View of the 600' Pinnacle Rock   Bench Where We Stopped for a Rest
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Pinnacle Rock Through the Trees   Mushroom
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Terrapin   Snake

Following "Pinnacle View", Dad and I worked our way back to the car.  We saw lots of wildflowers and wildlife along the way including butterflies, terrapins, and a snake (that I almost sat down on).  Overall, this is just a fantastic hike... the waterfall is really nice, the trails are well-maintained, and the swinging bridge is a cool feature.  I'll be returning soon to check out the Copper Ridge Trail, along with hopefully getting to the top of Pinnacle Rock again.            

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Another View of the Rebuilt Swinging Bridge   Sign Near the Trailhead
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An Old Steel Bridge on up the Road...

One of the last of its Kind in the State of VA


Dad and I finished off our great day by riding on up the road to check out this old steel bridge crossing the Clinch River (seen above).  It is one of the last remaining steel bridges in the State, and as you can see it will be soon replaced with a new modern bridge.    


Total Miles Hiked:  3.2

Hike Rating -


Bill's Overall Rating:

Distance:  3.2 miles (Probably around 3.0 round-trip directly to "Pinnacle View"

Difficulty:  EASY

Type: OUT & BACK

Vista Rating: 

Waterfall Rating:  H(1) + F(6) + V(3) + W(5)  + G(2+4+7) = 28

Water Crossings:  NONE

Scrambling/Climbing:  EASY

Hazards:  slippery slopes, avoidable cliffs, open bridge

Significance:  Natural Preserve, Rare Species, Wildflowers, Swinging Bridge, Waterfall

Recommendation:  Family/Beginner, Average Day-hike


Click here for hike rating reference guide.




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