The Devil’s Bathtub, Virginia | Adventure Awaits

Going into this summer, I decided that I wanted to do one of the more difficult trek’s on my hiking bucket list. My summer goal was to do 4-5 hikes with one of them being a little out of my comfort zone. I looked over my list of hikes and waterfalls and decided it was time to trek the Devils Bathtub, Virginia.


The Devil’s Bathtub is located in the Jefferson National Forest. The hike is about 4 miles long and is considered a moderate to strenuous trail, depending on the water levels.

When we drove to these falls, we did feel as if we were lost. However, we did come to a parking lot that was on our right-hand side. It was paved and had information. If we drove up a little and made a left turn over the bride, there is another lot that is on the left.

At the time of our visit (May), this road had very deep ruts and was not paved. If you have a truck, jeep or vehicle that is higher off the ground, you will probably get through much easier. There is a good chance you will do some damage to your car if it is low to the ground. The parking lot at the end of this road is smaller so may not have parking if you are there in the busy season.

Things to note. Do not park where there are no parking signs. I read reviews before heading out and saw the signs as well when we arrived. Heed the signs. The people who own the surrounding land look like they mean business. Also, along the dirt road, it looks like you can park along the side but please be careful. There is a wire fence that strings along and will scratch your car.

My suggestion is to just park in the first lot you come to and walk. Yes, it makes the trek longer but still a nice walk to the start of the trail.

The Dog Guide

If you read the reviews of the Devil’s Bathtub, you might come across some mentions of a dog that walks the trail with you. This is absolutely true. We arrived early on our hike day and were the only ones there. The pup was waiting in the parking lot and immediately came up to the car when we dog

This dog is overly friendly. He will get in your car. If you leave the door open, he will accept the invitation and, trust me, he is not easy to get out. However, he is a very friendly dog and patiently waited for us to get ready to go. He was a very good boy.

I’m not good with names but if I recall correctly his tag was either Buster or Brewster. Anyway, it looked like his home was one of the houses nearby. He did run to one when we returned and got himself a drink before coming back to our car to say goodbye.devil's backbone

During the trek, he led the entire way. He would run ahead, check things out and then return to walk with us. We were tickled to have him walk with us and enjoyed his company. I did have some concerns that he wasn’t on a leash and that folks would complain so I overcompensated by immediately saying the dog came with the trail and was not ours. Thankfully, everyone we came upon were also delighted with him. He really was such a good boy.

The Hike

There are two options for this hike. When you come to the split, you can go either right or left. Right takes you on a longer trek that is supposed to be easier (depending on the streams) but it has areas that are strenuous due to the elevation. The trail is also longer. My research stated it was approximately 7.3 miles.streams

We opted for the trail on the left. It is about 4 miles. Keeping in mind that this is one of the harder trails I’ve attempted, those 4 miles were LONG 4 miles. It took us about 3 hours and 45 minutes to hike to the Devil’s Bathtub.

Part of this was because of the streams. On the way to the waterfall, we made every attempt not to get wet. We walked over logs, jumped from rock to rock, and navigated our way across the streams. We zigzagged across these streams at least 15-20 times. I attempted to count them for this article but I lost track. Mostly because I was more focused on getting across.

For our visit, the water really wasn’t that high. On the way back from the waterfall, I gave up staying dry and just walked my way through the streams. The highest crossing was probably up to my knees. If you have hiking sticks, I suggest you bring them. They were my best friend. The water moved fast in some areas so the hiking sticks helped me stabilize myself before taking my next step.

I will admit, I did feel quite accomplished completing this hike just for the streams alone. I felt I had leveled up my hiking game. :). It is now one of my favorite trails.

Devil’s Bathtub

Right before we arrived at the Devil’s Bathtub, the path we were following became narrow and had a string that was tied on trees. I don’t know if it was a guide rail or supposed to be helpful but I had no trust in the string. My shoe laces seemed thicker.

Anyway, when we came down the path, we could see the Devil’s Bathtub ahead of us and it was gorgeous. The waterfall is only about 9-10 feet however it leads to a little water hole that was clear and so beautiful.

We stopped and enjoyed a few snacks and drank some water while sitting on the rock overlooking the pool. So serene, there were no other hikers at the time. Our little pup guide sat and chilled with us a bit. He did knock my water bottle into the water. My hubs fished it out but the pool water was extremely cold so he was trying to get it without getting wet.

Tips for your Trek

The Devil’s Bathtub was a great hike for us. We really enjoyed it. Some quick tips if you decide to go on this hike. Check the water levels/rain over the last few days before your hike. I read recent reviews and checked for how much rain had fallen recently. Thankfully there was not much rain when we went out.

Bring hiking sticks. They were very helpful and made the trail a lot easier for me to navigate. My hubs made a makeshift stick with a tree branch to help him navigate the streams.

Wear water shoes or shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. As I mentioned previously, on the way back, I just walked myself right through the streams. I can’t say it was that much easier, the rocks were still slippery but at least I wasn’t also worried about falling off rocks or tree limbs.

Finally, be sure to bring water and snacks. I can easily see this trek taking longer than anticipated. Especially if the water level was higher. Take precaution and use common sense. There are going to be lots of opportunities to take silly risks, err on the side of caution.

If you have any questions or would like to share your adventure at the Devil’s Bathtub or another hike, please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Happy Hiking,

Michelle Louise


4 thoughts on “The Devil’s Bathtub, Virginia | Adventure Awaits”

  1. That water stop view was so beautiful. I can’t believe the water was so clear and so reflecting. This hike looks like a lot of fun, but at the same time it seems like it can get challenging along the road. I absolutely loved the fact that you were greeted by a dog! That boy was precious and the fact that he guided you and stayed alongside you is simple beautiful. Dogs are so intelligent and great companions. I’m glad you guys had the opportunity to visit this place and enjoy it with your new fur friend. 

    • Thank you!  The pup really made the trip even better.  The way he would look at us like come on you can do it or stopped and waited for us.  I loved it!

  2. Thank you for this informative article! The Devil’s Bathtub sounds terrifying, but looks stunning! It goes on my to-do list, for sure! And the fact that dog leads your way is just amazing. Tips for the track seem very useful, I’ll keep them in mind. Keep up the good work!


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