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Of the many beautiful destinations in West Virginia, Blackwater Falls State Park is one of our favorite places to visit! This state park located is nestled in Appalachian Mountains and features some of West Virginia’s most popular places to visit. In this post, we’re going over everything you need to know about visiting Blackwater Falls State Park!
About Blackwater Falls State Park
Blackwater Falls State Park is tucked in the Allegheny Mountains of Tucker County, West Virginia. Blackwater Falls State Park is named for the amber-colored waters of Blackwater Falls. This 57-foot waterfall is tinted by the tannic acid from fallen hemlock and red spruce needles. Blackwater Falls State Park is home to some of the state’s most photographed spots!
The area that is now Blackwater Falls State Park has been a sought-out outdoors destination since the 1800s. Blackwater Falls was incorporated into the state parks system in 1937 when the West Virginia Power and Transmission Company donated the land.
Today, Blackwater Falls State Park is one of the top state parks in West Virginia. Here, you can enjoy hiking, camping, and more!
Blackwater Falls State Park Map
When to Visit Blackwater Falls State Park
Fall at Blackwater Falls
Blackwater Falls is one of the top places to visit in West Virginia for leaf peeping! During the fall the canyon turn bright hues of orange, red, and yellow and becomes a photographer’s paradise.
Explore more fall foliage destinations in West Virginia.
Winter at Blackwater Falls
Being in the mountains, you would think winter wouldn’t be a popular time to visit Blackwater Falls, but it’s a very busy time! The falls freeze over in the winter, making for awesome photos and viewing. And Blackwater Falls is home to the longest sled run on the East Coast! This attraction books up every year and is a popular activity.
Summer at Blackwater Falls
Summer at Blackwater Falls is another popular time of year to visit the park. The weather is perfect for a hike, camping, and more!
Spring at Blackwater Falls
Spring is the least busy time of year, mostly because the trees are bare and the snow has mostly gone. Even though it’s not the most scenic season, it is still a great time to get outside and enjoy the park’s natural beauty.
Where to Eat Near Blackwater Falls State Park
Davis and Thomas are the two small towns closest to Blackwater Falls Sate Park. Both towns are home to several great local restaurants! Here are some of our favorites!
Hellbender Burritos: Hellbender Burritos is our favorite restaurant in Davis! Its eclectic vibe and overstuffed burritos & tacos with vegan-friendly options make it a great place to eat after a long day of hiking. ,
Milo’s Café and Restaurant: Milo’s is the restaurant that is associated with the Bright Morning Inn Bed and Breakfast! This local eatery features a range of food on its menu including hardy breakfasts, coffee and bakery items, and sandwiches and entrees. It’s a great place to stop before or after a long hike at Blackwater Falls.
Sirianni’s Café: Sirinanni’s Café is another local mainstay that serves a variety of pizzas & Italian meals with an old-school vibe.
Stumptown Ales: Stumptown Ales is another local brewery in Davis that features “hop-centric” beers on tap!
Wicked Wilderness Pub: Wicked Wilderness Pub is another local eatery that features beers on tap and American fare! If you’re not interested in beers, consider trying some of their craft sodas!
Purple Fiddle: The Purple Fiddle is a popular spot in Thomas for live music! This family-friendly spot serves up sandwiches, appetizers, and desserts.
Mountain State Brewing Company: Mountain State Brewing Company is another favorite of ours because they also have a location in Morgantown! They’re famous for their craft beers and homemade pizzas!
Where to Stay Near Blackwater Falls State Park
Blackwater Falls State Park Lodge
If you’re looking to stay within Blackwater Falls State Park, you have a few options. The Blackwater Falls State Park Lodge is a full-service hotel in the park. The lodge is located on Blackwater Canyon’s south rim and offers rooms with sweeping views of the gorge below.
Cabins at Blackwater Falls State Park
You can also rent cabins at Blackwater Falls through the West Virginia State Park Service. 39 newly renovated cabins offer comfortable accommodations for families and larger groups. All cabins feature water and electricity, fully equipped kitchens, and WiFi. Several of the cabins are pet friendly!
Camping in Blackwater Falls State Park
You can also opt for tent or RV camping at Blackwater Falls State Park. The campground is open late April through October 31 and features both primitive and full-hook-up campsites.
Stay in Davis or Thomas, West Virginia
If you’re not interested in staying within the park, you can stay in Davis or Thomas by staying in one of the local hotels or renting an Airbnb or Vrbo. When we stayed in Davis, we stayed at the Bright Morning Inn Bed and Breakfast.
Lodging in Davis and Thomas, West Virginia
Best Things to Do in Blackwater Falls State Park
See Blackwater Falls
If you’re visiting Blackwater Falls State Park, its a no-brainer that you need to see the waterfall the part is named after! Blackwater Falls is an impressive 57-foot cascade waterfall that plunges into the Blackwater Canyon.
Thankfully, Blackwater Falls is easy to access via a 0.4-mile round-trip trail. The trail is mostly a boardwalk and has an observation deck for viewing. The boardwalk has 200 steps, so be cautious on rainy and snowy days.
At the end of the boardwalk, you’ll get an amazing view of the falls! The entire experience is one for all of your senses. Usually, you can see and feel the mist from that waterfall. Look closely at the water and take a minute to observe the amber color. Listen to the roar of the water as is hits the rocks below and breath in the fresh mountain air.
If you cannot navigate the stairs, you can view Blackwater Falls via the Gentle Trail, located on the other side of the Gorge. This short paved trail will take you to another observation deck where you can view the waterfall.
See Elakala Falls
Elakala Falls is another gorgeous waterfall at Blackwater Falls State Park. This waterfall is located on the opposite side of the gorge near the Lodge. The waterfall can be accessed by hiking 0.2 miles along the Elakala Trail. You will come to a bridge where you can see the falls from above.
Elakala Falls is one of our favorite waterfalls to photograph!
The waterfall that is visible from the trail is the most popular to visit, but there are lower falls if if rock scramble down below the main falls. It is difficult to reach the lower falls, so proceed with caution!
Hike to Lindy Point
Lindy Point is the best scenic overlook at Blackwater Falls State Park during all season. This spot is a favorite for photographers. The hike to Lindy Point is only 0.4 miles and is very easy, making it great for individuals of all skill levels.
Park at the parking lot and take a short walk to Pendleton Point, which provides a broad view of the canyon. There are spots you can visit, including a more accessible one that follows a short trail from the parking lot and a flat stone overlook.
Located near the Pendleton Point overlook is Pendleton Lake, a great place to relax and recreate. There is a small beach and boat launch where you can rent kayaks, canoes, paddleboats, and stand-up paddle boards. Near the lake is the Harold S. Walters Nature Center, which has some natural history exhibits and programs. The lake is a great place to fish for bass, bluegill, catfish, and trout.
Hike to Balanced Rock
Blackwater Falls State Park has a network of intersecting trails directly across the road from the Lodge. These trails are easy to moderate trail and take you through the spruce and hemlock forest. The easiest way to access these trails is by parking at the Lodge and by crossing the road. If you’re interested in hiking these trails, consider hiking to Balanced Rock! This rock is exactly as it sounds, it appears to be carefully balancing on its side.
Why is Balanced Rock balancing? The two sandstone boulders making up balance rock ended up this way because of differential weathering. Each rock is undergoing erosion at a different rate. If you look around at the ground below you, you’ll see little sandy-like pieces of the rocks on the ground.
To get to Balance Rock, start at the Lodge and either hike the Water Tank Trail or the Elakala Trail to access Balance Rock Trail. The recommended loop is linked here and below!
Go Sledding in the Winter
Like we said earlier in this post, Blackwater Falls features the longest sled run on the East Coast! It is more than a quarter mile long! To get to the top, you’ll ride on the longest “magic carpet” ride through the trees.
Blackwater Falls State Park features an 18-hole disc golf course! This is located on Pendleton Lake Road.
Things to do near Blackwater Falls
If you have more time to spend in the Blackwater Falls area, there is plenty more places to explore! Here are some of our other favorites.
Canaan Valley State Park
Canaan Valley State Park is another park located just 20 minutes away from Blackwater Falls. This park also features a resort, extensive hiking, and scenic views!
Dolly Sods is one of the most unique places in West Virginia. Dolly Sods is a high altitude plateau, so the plants and climate that exist here are more of what you would expect to see is Northern Canada!
Seneca Rocks is another popular destination to visit near Blackwater Falls. These rocks are an awesome scenic attraction and are popular with rock climbers. You can hike to the top of the rocks as well!
Recommended Reading for Blackwater Falls State Park
Check out our book recommendations from Bookshop.org, which supports local bookstores!