The Mayo River Trail takes you on an effortless journey with incredible pay off. Explore the impressive Fall Creek Falls and the sandy shores along the beautiful Mayo River. The trail is 1.9 miles one way, or a total of 3.8 miles out and back. It’s almost flat with very little grades or stairs. This is a great family-friendly trail that lets you explore the Northern edge of our State in an up-and-coming State Park.
As you drive in on the gravel Deshazo Road you’ll come across a State Park sign: “Mayo River State Park: Deshazo Mill Access.” Because it’s far off the beaten path, the long drive at the trailhead might be the most challenging part of this trail, but once you arrive it’s easy going.
The trailhead offers a few picnic tables but there are no restroom facilities here. After only a very short walk and you’ll stumble upon the Falls. The scale of this waterfall is much larger than it appears in photos. As always with waterfalls, the peaceful sound is just another element to enjoy. People like to hang around here, throwing up hammocks or finding a spot to sit for a snack or lunch; please be courteous of others.
The trail continues past the waterfall, following Fall Creek on its journey to unite with the Mayo River. The natural trail is mostly flat with slight grades here and there. When you reach the river you are met with a small trail to the left or a long one heading right. The short walk to the view on the left overlooks the convergence of the creek and the river.
Follow the trail back North along the sandy riverbank. The Mayo River is beautiful with hints of blue greens- it’s not as full of sediment up this high. This is the confluence of the North Mayo River and the South Mayo River as they flow South from Virginia. The trail takes a right to follow the North Mayo River, tucking you into a peninsula surrounded by water.
Watch for wildlife along the riverbanks. Turtles, frogs, and many others call this place home. The trail shows you a few more rapids and an impressive rock outcropping before you reach the yellow painted tree, marking the Virginia State line. Once you’re here the trail drops off. Although Virginia is working to create a State Park on its side of the border, there is no trail here just yet. This is the point where you turn back and get to experience it all again.
Many people wonder about the name Mayo River. It is not named after the high calorie condiment, but Major William Mayo (1685-1744). Mayo helped to set the boundary between Virginia and North Carolina. The surveying party was lead by the native peoples of the region, the Sappony. Ned Bearskin lead the group through the region as they set the boundary line.
For over a thousand years before the arrival of Europeans, the Sappony tribe called this land home, the high plains of the Piedmont in both Virginia and North Carolina. Learn more about the Sappony here. They left behind several well preserved fish weirs (traps) along the river and fragments of pipes, arrowheads, and pottery have been found along the riverbank (source).