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Gov. Justice announces popular West Virginia Waterfall Trail surpasses 75,000 check-Ins

May 30th, 2024 by WCBC Radio

Gov. Jim Justice announced over the Memorial Day weekend, the West Virginia Waterfall Trail surpassed 75,000 participant check-ins. The popularity of the nation’s first statewide waterfall trail continues to grow, with data showing that visitors from all 50 U.S. states and 41 countries are now joining the fun. As the summer season kicks off, the Department of Tourism is adding three more falls, bringing the total number of stellar stops along the trail to 43. "It is absolutely beyond belief that our West Virginia Waterfall Trail has reached over 75,000 check-ins. We're talking about West Virginians and visitors from all 50 states and 41 countries who have explored these trails," said Gov. Justice. "I couldn't be more excited that we're adding three more incredible waterfalls to this trail. It opens up even more opportunities for folks to get out there and experience the breathtaking beauty right here in Almost Heaven."

The West Virginia Waterfall Trail has been nationally recognized by major travel publications such as Travel + LeisureUSA TodaySouthern Living and Fodor’s Travel. The trail continues to receive remarkable participation, as more than 10,000 prizes have been awarded to visitors for their adventuring efforts. Iconic favorites such as Cathedral Falls, Kanawha Falls and Blackwater Falls remain some of the most visited falls. The trail also features lesser-known hidden gems, including Seneca Creek Falls, Parkin’s Waterfall and Loopemount Waterfall. “We are absolutely thrilled to see the West Virginia Waterfall Trail receive 75,000 check-ins,” said West Virginia Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby. “Our beautiful state is home to the most abundant collection of falls, and we are thankful to be able to share that with the rest of the world in a fun and engaging way. Whether you’re just getting started or already completed the old list, there’s another waterfall just waiting to be explored in Almost Heaven, West Virginia!”


Three New Waterfalls
Today, the Department of Tourism added three new falls to the trail. Each of these waterfalls has been made more accessible for visitors in recent months due to trail infrastructure improvements: 

Clear Fork Rail Trail Waterfall
To find this deceptively unassuming beauty, watch for rail Clear Fork Rail Trail signs along WV Route 1, also known as Clear Fork Road. The closest access point to the rail trail allows for an easy walk to the base of the waterfall. Navigating toward the waterfall, GPS driving directions will take you to the parking area, just adjacent to the Larry Allen “Crocky” Holstein, Jr. Memorial Bridge. Once parked, head to the trail kiosk from the road and turn left to follow the wide gravel path – just under a quarter of a mile upstream. Since there is limited cell service in the area, be sure to download your route ahead of time.

While hikers and cyclists will hear flowing water as they pass by along the Clear Fork Rail Trail, you may not see the full majesty of this waterfall unless you take a moment to peer up into the canopy. From this perspective, you can appreciate the multi-tiered waterfall that extends like stairsteps at least 40 feet up the mountainside into dense forest cover. In spring or after a heavy rain, you will spot multiple smaller falls along this section of the trail.

White Oak Falls
Nestled within the lush forests of Mercer County, White Oak Falls can now be accessed with a 4-mile total out-and-back hike through a scenic valley along the Bluestone River. A partnership between the Mercer County Commission, the Nature Conservatory and Camp Creek State Park has led to trail expansions and improvements beyond Brush Creek Falls, giving way to the additional two miles connecting to the beautiful White Oak Falls.

After parking at the access point for Brush Creek Falls, continue down the trail past Brush Creek’s rushing waters, another 1.75 miles to reach the more delicate White Oak Falls. This gentle cascade tumbles over tiered rock formations – where the White Oak Branch meets the Bluestone River. As you make your way back to the Brush Creek Falls parking area, you’ll round out your hike at about 4 miles total, through both State Parks and Nature Conservancy land. 

Devil’s Sawmill
Head to Clay, West Virginia to explore the beauty of Buffalo Creek. Driving to the location of this waterfall, you will find yourself in the parking area of Rail Explorers, where – starting on June 8, 2024 – you can purchase tickets to ride the rails on their state-of-the-art railbikes. Enjoy the views and scenery for about 5 miles until you approach the striking sight of Devil’s Sawmill, which is a local gem. 
Waterfall wanderers hoping to check-in before Rail Explorer’s grand opening on June 8, will need to hike or cycle to the site, which is also feasible, by parking at the Rail Explorers headquarters and traveling approximately 5 miles along the railroad to come upon Devil’s Sawmill. Watch for rail bikes and wildlife along the tracks, as you trek or ride 10 miles total to see the falls.