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West Virginia’s Beauty Is On Full Display at Blackwater Falls

Overlook at West Virginia's Blackwater Falls State Park.

The Blackwater Falls are the main centerpiece to this state park in West Virginia. The native hemlock and red spruce trees shed needles that tan the Blackwater River?s fresh water to a deep recognizable color. Blackwater Canyon and the Falls are some of the most iconic and most photographed points in West Virginia. Plus, the state park features an array of year-round activities and accommodations for nature-lovers. It?s no wonder why the park?s beauty was first captured and distributed as a WV postcard circa 1910.  

What to Do at Blackwater Falls State Park

Outdoor enthusiasts should look no further. Blackwater Falls State Park is an easy, scenic trip for individuals, small groups, or for families. Simply sightseeing throughout the park is enough to make the trip. The iconic Blackwater Falls lookout features a 57-foot natural river-shower that empties into a freshwater pool below. This is the highest above-ground cascade in West Virginia and is accessible by the Blackwater Falls Boardwalk Trail.

Not only does the park feature Blackwater Falls as its namesake and iconic lookout, but hikers and mountain bikers can also choose to check out Elakala Falls and Pendleton Falls. What?s more, Lindy Point has its own trail that brings park guests up 3,000 feet to an overview of Blackwater Canyon.  

In total, Blackwater Falls State Park features 20 miles worth of hiking trails for hikers and mountain bikers. Dobbin House Trail is popular for its path to the Pendleton Lake Dam and Pendleton Point Overlook. Guests can use this trail and continue on to Pase Point Trail, which houses a sweet overlook of the North Fork in the Blackwater River.

While hiking, visitors will notice an abundance of wildlife in the park which is part of the Monongahela National Forest. This forest includes one of America?s most diverse ecological regions. Hundreds of bird species, various types of endangered animals, and 75 kinds of trees call the state park home. Regulation of the park and surrounding state forest will attempt to protect the environment for endangered animal species like the Virginia big-eared bat, West Virginia northern flying squirrel, Cheat Mountain salamander, and even the area?s bald eagles. The Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons make for a beautiful walk through the huge red spruce trees and picturesque rhododendron flowers make up this ecosystem. Any related questions? The Harold Walters Nature Center is on site to give guests a background about the thriving wildlife in Blackwater Falls State Park.

Fish are also in abundance in Blackwater River which makes this park a great stop for freshwater fishermen. Guests need only walk the River Road Trail along the tinted water for their choice in any fishing hole along the way. What?s more, Pendleton Lake is also on park premises?a great spot for fishing off land or by boat.

 For those who?d like more than just day use at the park, campsites for tents and RVs are available for reservation through the park?s website, over the phone, or upon entry at the park. The campground opens in late April and stays open until October 31 (weather permitting). The park?s facilities cover the basics?offering fire rings, picnic areas, electric hookups, dumping station, and a central bathhouse with hot showers and a laundromat.

Amidst the cold season, Blackwater Falls State Park is still open. Many individuals use this time for more hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding. With a little snow, hiking trails turn into the perfect lanes for cross country skiing. Trails like Cherry Lane are most often used by experienced cross country skiers while the Spudder Track Trail is typically inhabited by beginners. Finally, the park advertises the longest Sled Run on the East Coast. The park?s management will rent the necessary equipment to visitors as needed. When visitors catch the skiing bug after their time at Blackwater Falls State Park, the next stop is often Canaan Valley Resort State Park which is close by and offers downhill skiing and tubing.

How to Get to Blackwater Falls

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The Park is located on 1584 Blackwater Lodge Road in Davis, WV. Blackwater Falls State Park is nestled at the foot of the Allegheny Mountains in Tucker County?part of the greater Monongahela National Forest.

Visitors often frequent nearby towns like Davis and Thomas, WV. These local hubs often provide art shops, breweries, restaurants, and live music?perfect for assimilating back into society after days of camping in the forest.

Planning Your Trip

The Park was established in 1937 after the West Virginia Power and Transmission Company donated Blackwater Canyon, the Falls, and the surrounding 446 acres to the state, according to West Virginia State Parks.

Since then, WV residents and tourists have been able to use the park year-round at their leisure. Booking online or calling ahead is usually a safe bet, but the park is often open and accessible to drive to on any occasion.

Currently the Blackwater Falls Lodge and famous restaurant called the Smokehouse are closed for renovations until August 31, 2021. However, the park is still open with options for day use, tent/RV camping, or cabin rentals.

Otherwise, the park is fun for the family and pet friendly. There isn?t much holding travelers back from an awesome experience at Blackwater Falls State Park. This is the spot whether it be for hiking, mountain biking, boating, fishing, or simply engaging in an outdoor adventure.

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