The state of West Virginia has long been lauded for its beautiful mountains.
Viewing a sunset on top of Spruce Knob or Beauty Mountain is a sight never to be forgotten.
Flowing in the valleys of the sharp rising peaks of the Mountain State are numerous renowned rivers and streams that have been key components for mills, coal production and electric power over the years.
Nestled amongst those rivers and streams are hidden gems flowing right in our back yards in total oblivion to many visitors and state residents.
Along with its beautiful mountains, West Virginia has a collection of over 200 breathtaking waterfalls.
To help residents and visitors discover and explore some of the majestic waterfalls across the state, WV Tourism has established a West Virginia Waterfall Trail (https://wvtourism.com/west-virginia-waterfall-trail/).
The website will walk you through the sign-up process for a Waterfall Trail Passport and your digital passport will be delivered to your phone via text or email.
Once you are signed up, let the exploring begin!
Open the passport on your phone to find locations and directions to waterfalls all across the state and check-in when you get to your locations.
Now, we all know, cell service in some of the remotes parts of the state can be a challenge, but as long as you are within a five-mile radius of your location, you will be able to check-in with no problem.
Along your journey, you can unlock prizes like an official Waterfall Wanderer sticker after three visits, a Waterfall Trail water bottle after 10 stops and an official T-shirt with 20 visits around the state.
The great part about waterfall chasing in beautiful West Virginia is there are many other great stops along those scenic drives that you can explore as well.
As if that wasn’t enough to get you in your car at record speed, a good number of the waterfalls are also located inside West Virginia’s state parks which provides many other options for family fun and entertainment, as well as lodging.
Over the next few weeks we will take a look at some of the stops on the West Virginia Waterfall Trail and give you a brief explanation about each destination.
The initial journey starts in Mercer County which has three waterfalls within a 10-mile radius of each other that are easily accessible to boot.
The first two waterfalls sit inside Camp Creeks State Park just off I-77 or Rt. 19 depending on your travel preferences.
As you enter the park, Mash Fork Falls is just off the main road towards the campground to the left. The road to the falls is mostly a one lane gravel road, but there are areas to pull off for cars to pass each other.
The nice feature about Mash Fork Falls, which eventually empties into Camp Creek, is that you can drive right up to the falls and it has a handicap parking area.
Mash Fork Falls stands about eight feet high and plunges over a sandstone ledge forming a water pool at the bottom where you often see people enjoying a swim.
Campbell Falls is a little deeper into the park, but also easily accessible. The parking area is roughly three-tenths of a mile from the falls which is reached by walking up an access road that is relatively flat.
The walk is very peaceful as you stroll along the creek that meanders its way through the forest.
Campbell Falls features a picturesque backdrop with numerous shelves that the water plunges over. The pool at the bottom is also a popular swimming and fishing area.
Just like its neighbor, you can walk right out on the rocks where the water makes the 15-foot drop to the pool below.
Campbell Falls is extremely hard to pull yourself away from as it provides the peace and serenity that only nature can offer and West Virginia specializes.
Brush Creek Falls is approximately six miles from the Camp Creek just off of the Athens exit. Take Eades Mill Rd., which runs past PikeView High School, for a little over three miles before turning down Brush Creek Falls Rd.
If you want a little more adventure, you can cross Rt. 19 coming out of Camp Creek State Park and pick up Eades Mill Rd via a one-lane road that twists and turns into the valley underneath the Bluestone River Bridge crossing high above on I-77.
The road is a little rough in places, but the trip under the bridge and up the mountain is a fun experience.
Brush Creek Falls Rd. is also a little narrow and one should proceed with caution in case you meet a fellow traveler. The parking area is small, but adequate, and has a shelter that sits alongside the stream.
This trail is a little more tricky than what you will find at Camp Creek. There are no real steep inclines to the trail, but it is a little rocky and good footwear is highly recommended. Water crosses the trail in places coming out of the mountains, so the the trail can be muddy in places and the rocks can be slippery.
If you use proper caution, you should have no problem.
The hike to Brush Creek Falls is about .25 mile from the parking area. For those that want a little more adventure, White Oak Creek Falls is about 1.5 miles on down the trail.
Brush Creek Falls plunges over 30 feet and eventually flows into the Bluestone River after beginning as a small stream in Princeton. The area also has a rich industrial history dating back to nearly 1850.
The trail provides a nice overlook for the falls and there are other trails that lead down to the river and the the base of the falls, but proceed with extreme caution if you journey off of the main trail.
A short journey to Mercer County will provide three stops and unlock your first prize as a West Virginia Waterfall Wanderer.