From sledding to hiking, Blackwater Falls offers four seasons of fun
Enjoy outdoor recreation, family fun and stunning views at this popular park.
Set on the rim of the scenic Blackwater Canyon in the mountains of Tucker County, Blackwater Falls State Park has been a favorite destination for travelers since opening in 1937. It’s also one of West Virginia’s most visited parks. From sledding and cross country skiing in the winter to boating and hiking in the summer, Blackwater Falls is sure to be a family favorite for both winter and summer activities!
Iconic waterfalls and views
The park is named for its majestic waterfall, which tumbles 57 feet over a rocky outcrop into the dark, swirling waters of the Blackwater River. If you’re wondering why the water has an amber color, that’s because it’s tinted by tannic acid from fallen hemlock and red spruce needles. It’s truly a sight to behold! Once you see it, you’ll know why it’s one of the most photographed locations in West Virginia. Walk right up to the falls, or take in all its splendor from afar. A stairway and several viewing platforms offer unique vantage points of the falls and the Blackwater River.
Blackwater Falls might be the centerpiece of this park, but you don’t want to miss the parks other waterfalls. Elakala Falls might be smaller, but it’s equally beautiful. This series of falls features a sequence of drops where the Shay Run tributary meets Blackwater Canyon. A trail by the lodge leads to a bridge that crosses the first drop in the falls. You can also view this waterfall from across the gorge at Pendleton Point.
Another can’t-miss overlook is Lindy Point. The overlook is set 3,000 feet above the Blackwater Canyon, where the boulder-strewn river cuts a path through the undisturbed woods of the Monongahela National Forest. It can be reached by taking a short hike through a rhododendron-draped path.
Blackwater Falls is a favorite destination for winter sport enthusiasts. It also boasts the longest sled run on the East Coast. Sledders can zip down a quarter-mile of freshly groomed snow, then hitch a ride on the magic carpet conveyor back to the top of the hill. The sled run is crowded on weekends, so if you want to get in a few extra rides, here’s an insider tip. Come on a Friday, when it’s less crowded and sled until closing time. Sledding at night is a completely different experience! Then check into your lodge room or cabin for the evening to get rested for a full day of sledding on Saturday. Toboggans, cross-country skis and snowshoes are available for rent in the warming hut, which also serves snacks and hot chocolate.
More than 20 miles of trails wind through the canyon’s densely forested hills, making Blackwater Falls a popular destination among hikers and mountain bikers. The park hosts several group hikes throughout the year, including spring wildflower and birding pilgrimages and the popular Walk Between the Parks. This 8-mile guided hike from Blackwater Falls to Canaan Valley Resort State Park is a fun way to enjoy both parks.
Kayaks, canoes, paddleboats and standup paddleboards are available to rent at Pendleton Lake. If you prefer to enjoy the water by casting a line, fishing opportunities abound as well. Catchable fish include bass, bluegill, catfish and trout. The nearby Blackwater River is regularly stocked and provides a rewarding experience for anglers of all ages and skill levels.
There’s so much to do at Blackwater Falls, it’s hard to visit for only one day. Guests have several choices for overnight accommodations. There’s the 57-room lodge, which features a full-service restaurant and indoor swimming pool. The lodge restaurant, The Smokehouse, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as holiday buffets. The park also has 39 vacation and deluxe cabins, 10 of which are pet friendly. And if you want to get closer to nature, the park also has a 65-unit tent and trailer campground with shower facilities, laundromat and electric hookups.
Whether you’re looking to take the perfect winter trip or enjoy a summer vacation, Blackwater Falls is the ideal getaway. Start planning your trip today!