Brandywine Gorge Trail

A 1.5-mile trek around the Brandywine Falls area.

At a Glance:

A hilly, unpaved trail with creek crossings, reaching one of CVNP’s iconic waterfalls.

Distance: 1.5 miles

Difficulty: moderate

If you’re gearing up to do the Brandywine Gorge Trail, the odds are pretty good that you have your sights on Brandywine Falls, too. So much of the geological splendor of the trail begins and ends literally with the Falls, but once you’ve scaled down into the ravine—with its water bars and ponds and the lovely Brandywine Creek—you’re treated to an immensely rocky/ledgy eyeful of moss and lichens, and a colorful array of older forest growth, wooded shade, and wildlife. Please note: there is currently no bridge across Brandywine Creek. We encourage you to hike back out the same way and enjoy a new look at the same route. However, if you attempt to cross the stream, do so at your own risk and be careful, since the rocks are slippery and the current can be strong.

What Makes It Great

Chock full of sandstone and shale, peppered with hemlock, white oak, black locust, maple trees, and bearing a color palette that is ever-changing, these Falls make a great starting point or finish line to any major trek through the surrounding CVNP trails. Whether you choose the Brandywine Gorge Trail, or the Stanford Trail (or both), or simply chose a more in-and-out sightseeing stop, there is plenty to take in here. Between the beautiful vistas and dramatic views at nearly every point in the hike, and its moderate skill level, hikers are sure to get a thrill of the Gorge Trail. So much of the CVNP is a beautiful geological marvel, but the Brandywine Falls site itself is pretty remarkable.

Who is Going to Love It

Hikers and sightseers who are up for a challenge that bumps up their heart rate. Oh, and kids. Most definitely children, from kindergarten to the Inner Child you might be toting around within you. In all seriousness, if you’re an active parent with kids who soak up ecological adventure and science, the bonus here to tiring the kids out comes with exploring the complex biome that this area is. It’s a fully-functional history, biology, chemistry, and geoscience site all in one—replete with frogs, salamanders, and a who’s who of birdlife if your visit is timed right.

Directions, Parking & Fees

Take I-77 to SR-82 east. Proceed approximately 6 miles to Brandywine Rd., then turn right. Proceed on Brandywine Rd. Parking will be on the left; the Inn parking appears shortly after that. Entrance to the park locations is free; fees for special programs, rentals and additional accesses may be required. Reservations ARE required for lodging at nearby Stanford House (via Stanford Trail) and the Inn at Brandywine Falls.