5 must-see waterfalls to visit this spring and summer

In the heat of the summer, there’s nothing like standing in silence and feeling cool mist from a waterfall wash over you. Or maybe you’re the adventurous type who prefers to take a dip in the pool of water at the base of a waterfall. However you enjoy waterfalls, West Virginia’s state parks and forests are home to some of the best.

Here are a few majestic waterfall destinations you should visit this summer.

Blackwater Falls

At 57-feet, Blackwater Falls is the tallest waterfall in West Virginia and one of the reasons Blackwater Falls State Park is such a popular travel destination. Once you see this waterfall in all it’s splendor, with amber-tinted water tumbling over rocks into the Blackwater River Canyon, you’ll understand why we say West Virginia is Almost Heaven. It’s here and Blackwater Falls is just a glimpse of the state’s beauty.

Observation decks for Blackwater Falls can be accessed from two locations. The first gets close to the falls and includes a short but steep trek down several steps along a trail that starts near the Trading Post parking lot. Access to the second deck is by the Gentle Trail Overlook, a paved, ADA-accessible trail that offers views from across the canyon.

We can stand in awe of Blackwater Falls for hours, but you’ll want to make time to see Elakala Falls during your visit. Elakala is actually a series of four waterfalls on Shays Run. The first fall is the most popular and features swirling pools of water that form at its base. Access to Elakala Falls is by a trail behind the Blackwater Falls lodge.

Upper and Lower Falls at Holly River State Park

One of West Virginia’s more remote parks, Holly River State Park features two breathtaking waterfalls on the Holly River. The 15-foot-tall Upper Falls can be reached via a short walk on a gravel road. The shorter but wide span of the Lower Falls takes a bit more effort to reach and may require some stream crossings and scrambling over moderate terrain.

Valley Falls State Park

Valley Falls State Park features two spectacular waterfalls. The main one consists of a series of falls that tumble over ledges on the Tygart Valley River, just a short walk from the parking area. Then there’s Twin Falls, which tumbles 20 feet down Glady Creek and can be reached from an easy hike on Rhododendron Trail. This waterfall is best viewed in the spring or after a period of ample rain.

Campbell and Mash Fork Falls at Camp Creek State Park and Forest

Camp Creek State Park and Forest is home to two well-known waterfalls that you won’t want to miss. Campbell Falls cascades over a staircase of rock ledges on Camp Creek (and there’s a nice swimming hole at its base). The falls can be reached via a short walk. The low, wide span of Mash Fork Falls can be viewed right from a gravel road that runs through the park.

Twin Falls Resort State Park

The two falls that form the name of Twin Falls Resort State Park can be viewed via an easy loop trail in the park. The shorter, wider Marsh Fork Falls and the taller, narrow Black Fork Falls are best viewed after a rainy period, when the water is flowing fast through the mountains.

Share photos of your favorite waterfall using #WVStateParks. Plan an overnight stay so you’ll have plenty of time to explore the woods and waters of Almost Heaven!

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