Blackwater Falls State Park - Hiking

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About

Summary

Perfect for beginners and families, Blackwater Falls State Park has waterfalls, historical relics, and easy-to-hike trails.

Written by

Allison Pugh

Distance

20.0 miles

Most of the trails are out-and-back or point-to-point, and less than 3 miles round-trip, except the Blackwater Canyon Trail, which is more than 10 miles.

Destination Distance From Downtown

125.3 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

The hiking trails at Blackwater vary in difficulty. Some are short and easy, while others are longer and more physically demanding.

Time To Complete

1 hours

Most of the trails here are less than 3 miles round-trip and shouldn’t take more than an hour to complete. The one exception is Blackwater Canyon Trail, which is more than 10 miles.

Seasonality

Spring, Summer, and Fall

The park is a great place to hike between April and early November, but be careful if you plan on hitting the trails during the winter, unless you are cross-country skiing. Snow accumulation can exceed 2 feet by December.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

Blackwater Falls, in West Virginia’s eastern mountains, is great for hiking and has more than 20 miles of trails, all suitable for any level hikers. Most of the trails are less than 3 miles round-trip and range from beginner to intermediate. The park’s most popular trail is the 10.5-mile Blackwater Canyon Trail, a converted rail trail that runs from Thomas to Hendricks.

What Makes It Great

If you are in search of waterfalls, then this is the place for you. The famous Blackwater Falls is at the end of the park’s easiest trail, which takes you down a set of wooden stairs to various platforms, and directly to the famous 5-story-high falls. The Elakala Trail, a 1-mile round-trip, begins at the south end of the Blackwater Lodge and heads to the upper section of the park for a breathtaking view of the park’s smaller Elakala Falls. It then continues on to the canyon rim.

One of the most breathtaking views of Blackwater Canyon is at the end of the Lindy Point Trail. This intermediate out-and-back trail is just less than a mile round-trip, and brings you to the panoramic Lindy Point at 3,047 feet.  

The most popular and longest trail in the park is the Blackwater Canyon Trail. It goes through some of the most scenic and isolated sections of Blackwater Canyon. Start in Thomas Park; if you start in Hendricks, it is an uphill hike. The trail will take you past abandoned coke ovens , preserved railroad viaducts, and the impressive, cut-stone Big Run Archway tunnel. You will also hike past Douglas Falls at about 6 miles into the trek. While the overall descent is gradual, the hike is still physically demanding.

Who is Going to Love It

Because of its short trails, Blackwater Falls State Park is perfect for beginners and families. While most of the trails are easy, hikers of all levels will love the breathtaking views. Nature-lovers and photographers will enjoy the waterfalls and panoramic views, which are some of the most highly photographed locations in the state.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

The park is located at 1584 Blackwater Lodge Road in Davis, WV. For directions visit www.blackwaterfalls.com or call 304-259-5216. 

There are no fees to enjoy the park. You can park at the Nature Center, Main Lodge, and the Sled Run area. Smaller parking lots are throughout the park.

Hikers should stay on marked trails and carry a flashlight past 4pm May through September, and from past 3pm October through April.

Location

Blackwater Falls State Park

1584 Blackwater Lodge Road
Davis, West Virginia, 26260
39.1089, -79.4961

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