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Blackwater Canyon Trail in Blackwater Falls State Park

In Tucker County, nestled in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia, you can find the beautiful 2,358 acre Blackwater Falls State Park. The centerpiece of the Park is the majestic waterfall for which the area is named, a 62-foot drop in the Blackwater River that is one of the most photographed sites in the state.

The falls are spectacular year-round, and they can even freeze over during the frigid winter months. They are the largest above-ground waterfall in West Virginia. Hundreds of thousands travel to see them each year.

Tannins in the surrounding eastern hemlock and red spruce trees darken the water of the river, giving it the distinctive coloration of its name. The Blackwater River is a principal tributary of the Cheat River. It runs 34.3 miles, although most of its length is outside the state park.

Below the falls, visitors will find Blackwater Canyon. The canyon is carved by the river as it descends 1,200 feet in elevation from the falls to its confluence with the Dry Fork near the town of Hendricks, West Virginia.

There are several trails in the park. Many of them allow access to areas where the falls can be viewed. Others, particularly in the canyon, offer stunning views of smaller cascades. Some of the trails are challenging, for the more advanced hiker or mountain biker. There are also more widely accessible options open to those in wheelchairs.

The area was first publicized by travel writers in 1853. In the decades after the American Civil War, it became a popular tourist attraction. In the 1930s, the local power company, which owned much of the area along the river, donated the area around the falls to the state of West Virginia, which has continued to expand the park to this day.

Over the past sixty years, the park has been complemented by several features added for visitors. These include a nature center, a 54-room Park Lodge, 39 cabins, 65 campsites, a dammed lake for fishing and skating, and a restaurant. (Cabins and campsites are available with both modern and rustic amenities, so be sure to specify what sort of experience you’re looking for.)

Dogs are welcome at the park’s campsites and on the trails, but be sure to keep them leashed and to clean up after them. There are no pet fees for the campsites. Don’t leave your dog unattended (not that a responsible person like you would do that).

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