Fun & Weird
The Canyon & Waterfalls of Blackwater Falls State Park
There’s a breathtaking canyon not 3 hours from Washington, DC.
A friend and I were looking for a last minute getaway on Memorial Day weekend. We didn’t want to mess with planes or crowds or having to spend more than one night, and she came up with Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, West Virginia.
It wound up being a perfect getaway for nature lovers not in the peak of conditioning. The intersecting trails are tend to be less than a mile in length, so it’s convenient to head back to your car after a short stint or to keep going. Best of all, the trails feel very different — some meander by burbling water, others through stretches of grassy forest, some feel like bushwhacking in rhododendrum.
So even the most demanding won’t get bored of the scenery.
Blackwater Falls is the major attraction and easy to access with a series of boardwalks and shallow, though extensive, steps from the parking lots. Go early in the morning if you want to avoid the crowds!
We packed a picnic, but the Trading Post adjacent to the picnic tables has a reasonably priced snack bar with pizza, BBQ, etc.
The Falls of Elakala are definitely worth a visit. They’re right next to the Blackwater Falls Lodge and are an easy, though muddy trail down to see the first falls.
The best view of the Elakala Falls though is actually across the canyon at Pendleton Point Overlook, where you can see the 3+ waterfalls cascading down the side of the cliff.
Pendleton Point Overlook is also a great place to picnic.
The lake is rather small, but quite charming.
We went in search of Pendleton Falls. I think we found it, but it required a bit of going off trail and they weren’t that impressive. So save your time for other things!
But to me the highlight was Lindy Point. The trail was easy and then suddenly we were out at the end.
And my mind was blown.
A beautiful view of the canyon with hills that seemed to disappear into the horizon in varying shades of green. I could easily have spent all afternoon just sitting there.
What isn’t worth the hike (unless you just want the exercise) is Balanced Rock.
We set out in the morning and about a 1/2 mile down the trail we started seeing cairns. I joked about one of them being the “balanced rock” but as we kept going with nothing interesting in site, we started to wonder.
And when I saw the one in the tree, I was a little worried.
Turns out that was actually more interesting than the real attraction. Two large rocks on a slight rise in the middle of rhododendrum. Eh.
The park was full of people the whole time we were there, but the trails weren’t crowded and it was a lovely experience I highly recommend. And if you don’t mind the drive, you can easily do Blackwater Falls State Park in a day. All in all, including time for the picnic, it only took us about 3-4 hours to see everything and that was walking at a leisurely pace.
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