Upper Little Stoney Falls(10/01/2006, 28 mm, f/16, 1 sec, ISO 100)
Upper Little Stoney Falls (aka Upper Falls of the Little Stoney) rates a very good 6.5 rating overall with a WOW factor of 5.
I've been to this waterfall twice. The photo above was taken on the first visit just after a good, long rain. In contrast, the two photos at bottom left were taken on my second visit September 6, 2007 during a dry spell (aka drought). I've based my rating on the higher flow visit.
There are two possible routes to this waterfall as I've detailed below. Either way it's a must see in your list of SW Virginia waterfalls. The entire area is very scenic.
You have two possible routes to the waterfall depending on the kind of experience you want to have.
For this route, take US 72 out of Dungannon toward Coeburn for 2.6 miles and turn into the Hanging Rock Recreation Area at the sign on the left. The sign is big. You can't miss it. From the parking lot it is about a 6 mile round trip hike up the trail to the upper falls. The hike is moderate, being mostly on an old railroad bed. While a long hike, the rewards are numerous as you will be hiking along the Little Stoney Creek through a narrow gorge with incredible scenery, cascades, and huge boulders.
For Route #2, continue to drive past the turn-in for the Hanging Rock Rec. Area for another curvy 6 miles. Take a left onto 664. The turn is in the middle of some curves so go slow.
Follow 664 for 1.1 miles and turn left at the sign shown in the picture to the right =>
You will now be on a gravel road.
In another 1.4 miles the road splits. Again, go left. There is another sign here but it is much smaller. It's about one more mile to the parking area at the end of the road. From the parking lot follow the trail downstream to the waterfall only 0.15 miles away.
See the previous section on getting there. Obviously it will depend on where you park.
You can either make it a 1-hour tour or a 5-hour adventure. Take your pick.
The best advice I can give you here is to play. There's all kinds of room for trying different angles and compositions, landscape, portrait, close-up, wide angle. Do try to get some photos that include the bridge. It really brings more perspective and depth to the pictures.
My mid-stream photos of Upper Little Stoney Falls came out as well as any of them.
Use a polarizing filter for sure to help with glare on the rocks and water.
My 2006 photos were taken with an overcast sky.
The more recent photos were taken around 9:00 am. The day was clear but the hills kept everything in the shade. I recommend a morning shoot here in the Spring/Summer. Because the waterfall is on a north face it will probably be shady all day in the winter time but you may be facing the sun and have problems with lens flare.
This waterfall, like many others, also begs for the silky smooth look. Yes, I think a tripod is necessary.
Have fun and get creative. This is a good one.
Here you go.