Hike to Blackwater Falls

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Looking for a short, sweet hike in West Virginia? Consider Blackwater Falls State Park in the Allegheny Mountains. At the heart of this state park are the 62-foot Blackwater Falls which plunge as the Blackwater River enters the rugged 8-mile Blackwater Canyon. There are plenty of short trails here to see Blackwater Falls and experience the larger forests, canyons, and small waterfalls of the state park.

Nestled in Appalachia, West Virginia is known as “almost heaven” and is definitely a state everyone should visit. West Virginia has long been a tourist destination, with Washington’s elite long heading there for the hot springs. Today, one can still stay at the Greenbrier and see the station that many presidents have frequented (it also has a former congressional fallout shelter).

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Why Blackwater Falls is so loved (and photographed)

Blackwater Falls are generally said to be the tallest waterfall in West Virginia (although there are higher cave falls). Come in winter and see the waterfall completely frozen. No matter when you come, you’ll see why Blackwater Falls is one of the most photographed attractions in the state.

  • Tannic acid: Darkens the water and gives the name to the river Blackwater

The river owes its name to its water darkened by tannins. The park protects the upland forest of red spruce and eastern hemlock, as well as other trees.

  • Height: 62 feet or 19 meters
  • Location: In the Allegheny Mountains, West Virginia

Blackwater Falls is a year round attraction with plenty of winter skiing opportunities.

Related: What You Need to Know About the Congressional Fallout Shelter

Blackwater Falls State Park Attractions and Accessibility

There are other smaller waterfalls in the park, such as Falls Run, Elakala Falls, and Pendleton Falls. These are also accessible by trails in the area. The state park also has the longest tobogganing magic carpet on the East Coast, as well as a cozy lodge.

Visitors can walk along a wide path from the parking lot to a wooden walkway and overlook. This trail descends 320 feet. For the more adventurous, there is another, steeper trail that extends to the base of the falls.

  • Viewing platform: There is a viewing platform for Blackwater Falls

While you’re there, pop into the Smokehouse restaurant. It is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Its hours vary daily, so check the West Virginia State Park website for more information.

Related: What to do in Point Pleasant, WV (including the annual Mothman Festival)

Trails in Blackwater Falls State Park

The park has over 20 miles of hiking trails – most of them quite short – although some are challenging as well. There are too many hiking trails in Blackwater Falls State Park to list here, but here are a few.

Blackwater Falls Boardwalk Trail:

The Blackwater Falls Boardwalk Trail is the main viewing trail. It starts at the trading post and descends 200 steps to the observation deck next to the falls. For an easier ride, consider taking the Gentle Trail.

  • Distance: 0.25 thousand
  • Difficulty: Easy to Fairly Difficult

Lindy Point Trail:

The Lindy Point Trail is the trail to take to forget. Admire 3,000 feet above the Blackwater Canyon. In winter, it is possible to ski to the belvedere.

  • Distance: 0.3 thousand
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Soft course:

The Gentle Trail is the short, paved path that leads to the observation deck that overlooks Blackwater Falls. He leaves the parking lot.


  • Distance: 0.25 thousand
  • Difficulty: Easy

Allegheny Trail:

The Allegheny Trail begins at the north entrance to the park and goes south from the riding center.

  • Distance: 1.2 thousand
  • Difficulty: A little difficult to difficult

Balsam Fir Trail:

The Balsam Fir Trail crosses beech woods, maple stands and a stand of balsam fir trees. This is a loop that starts from the Harold Walters Nature Center.

  • Distance: 1.5 thousand
  • Difficulty: A little difficult to difficult

Cherry Lane Trail:

This trail can be used in winter for cross-country skiers. As a hiking trail it’s easy, but as a cross-country trail it’s a little to difficult.

  • Distance: 1 thousand
  • Difficulty: Easy

Dobbin House Trail:

The Dobbin House Trail connects to the Monongalia National Forest Trail System through the Pendleton Lake Dam.

  • Distance: 0.75 thousand
  • Difficulty: Easy to Fairly Difficult

Next time you’re in West Virginia, stop by and experience one of the state’s most beloved attractions.

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