I decided to cut out of lazy Sunday and take the drive to to Blackwater Falls State Park, in West Virginia. I had always seen the signs on my way to Timberline/Canaan Valley to ski, but never took the right turn during the winter. Here in the Laurel Highlands, the leaves are still pretty great, but with the higher elevation of the Allegheny Mountains around Canaan Valley… we missed it by a week.
According to the State Park’s site, the “black” water is caused by fallen hemlock and red spruce needles creating tannic acid. It was a dark scene all around, from the bare trees to the black water, but of course, every waterfall is gorgeous when you are right there. This is also the most photographed sites in the entire state.
There are two more falls in the state park, so of course we had a mapped out plan, but who follows those? We missed Pendelton Falls, but we did walk the trail from the Pendleton Overlook, which lead about 1.5 miles to another view point and gave us just a tiny section of still-leafed trees so we could pretend to be there in time for some gorgeous foliage. All the same, the gorge was pretty, again, as they all are, when you’re there. Note to Self: Nothing ruins standing on a cliff that falls into a gorge like a cell phone ringing – the silence button was created for that reason. Hikes. So, I have made it to the PA Grand Canyon this summer, shall we consider the gorge created by the Blackwater River the Grand Canyon of West Virginia? Also, from the Pendleton Overlook, you can see the upper and lower sections of Elakana Falls, pictured below. There is a perk to bare trees!
Even thought it was a rainy day and the leaves had run their course here, the hiking was good and there are plenty of overlooks, viewpoints and other waterfalls to get your fill of the entire day. Plus, the park rests between the small towns of Thomas and Davis, where you will get your mountain-town fill of breweries and burritos.