Gov. Jim Justice announced a major expansion of the popular West Virginia Waterfall Trail. The trail now has nine new stops, bringing the total up to 38 for those looking to explore cascades across the Mountain State. Since its launch last June, the statewide wonder has received over 35,000 participant check-ins with visitors from 49 states and 15 countries.
The trail has received rave reviews which inspired the Department of Tourism to ask West Virginians to help identify new waterfalls. Those nominations led to the addition of several new falls, which will allow those who have already started their adventures to keep exploring.
One of those dedicated “waterfall wanderers” – as the Department of Tourism calls them – is Veronica Lewis. A mother of two from Jackson County, Lewis has visited more than 20 falls with her two daughters.
“I’ve had the joy of exploring many of West Virginia’s waterfalls and thanks to the Waterfall Trail, my love of exploring the outdoors is something I’m able to share with my daughters as a family,” said Lewis. “Governor Justice’s expansion of the Waterfall Trail will be a great way for more families to take advantage of every bit of the natural beauty and wonder available to us throughout Almost Heaven.”
Visitors can now explore 38 jaw-dropping cascades throughout the Mountain State while winning exclusive prizes along the way. Prizes include a West Virginia Waterfall Trail branded sticker, water bottle, and t-shirt – all exclusively available through this program. With the addition of these new waterfalls, the West Virginia Department of Tourism has also commissioned Base Camp Printing Company in Charleston to create a limited-edition waterfall art print that will be mailed to the dedicated waterfall explorers who check in at all 38 cascades along the trail.
Checking into the Waterfall Trail is a simple process made possible by Bandwango, a travel technology platform that makes checking in at each location quick and easy. To get started, visit WVtourism.com/waterfalls and register to have the West Virginia Waterfall Trail passport delivered straight to a person’s smartphone. Those who have already registered and want to restart their adventures can text “resend waterfall trail passport” to 1-888-921-5333 to be connected with a support agent.
The nine new waterfalls added to the trail are as follows:
•Westerly Falls –– This charming, short-dropped waterfall spans Paint Creek in Fayette County. With water plummeting from 5 to 7 feet high, Westerly Falls is one of the more subtle, yet dynamic falls in West Virginia. Tackle the short and moderately steep walk from the roadside pull-off to creek level for a closer view.
•Pipestem Falls –– With a 30+ foot drop on Pipestem Creek, Pipestem Falls is a hidden gem located along Route 20, approximately 11 miles south of Hinton. Follow the wooden steps by the pull off and let the roaring waters guide the way, as the summer leaves hide the falls from the road.
•Falls Mill –– Just off U.S. Route 19 on Pleasant Hill Road in Braxton County is a photogenic and wide cascade spanning the entire width of the Little Kanawha River: Falls Mill. Embrace the view from the roadside overlook to catch a truly panoramic snapshot of this expansive waterfall.
- Parkinson’s Waterfall –– Nestled in Bethany College’s leafy and historic campus, this waterfall is a familiar feature to students and a delightful surprise for visitors. Make one’s way along Campus Drive until one comes upon a trailhead sign near the Steinman Fine Arts Center, marking the Waterfall Trail. The Waterfall Trail and Sutton Trail form a loop that is approximately one-mile long.
- Mann’s Creek Falls –– Enjoy sightseeing the many layers of cascading waters at Mann’s Creek Falls in Babcock State Park. Begin the journey at the Narrow Gauge trailhead located on the service road below the park’s campground. The splashing of the tiny, but mighty, plummeting falls make for a soothing experience after getting some steps in on the Narrow Gauge Trail.
- Sugar Camp Run Falls –– Sugar Camp Run Falls is one of a handful of beautiful waterfalls at Babcock State Park. Water rushes between several angular boulders, creating a unique flow – especially after heavy rainfall. Babydog visited the waterfall earlier this spring and word has it that this is the English Bulldog’s favorite cascade. Parking in the historic Glade Creek Grist Mill lot provides easy access to the Old Sewell Trail.
- Flanagan Branch Falls –– Flanagan Branch Falls is tucked away on the Old Sewell Trail at beautiful Babcock State Park. A person can park near the historic Glade Creek Grist Mill and begin the waterfall venture on the Old Sewell Trail.
- Tucker Falls –– Located at Mason-Dixon Historical Park near Morgantown, Tucker Falls is a 14-foot hidden gem. This park borders the Mason-Dixon line, making Tucker Falls one the most northern waterfalls in Almost Heaven. Take a stroll along the banks of Dunkard Creek on Green Trail and cross over to Orange Trail for a combined one-mile walk.
- Loopemount Waterfall –– Located near mile-marker 8.1 on the 78-mile Greenbrier River Trail, the Loopemount Waterfall is one of the most remote waterfalls in Almost Heaven. Park near the Harper Road trailhead and walk north. Meander for a little over 2 miles along the lush rail trail to find this Greenbrier County gem. This wide waterflow is the strongest during the springtime, but one can discover a gentle stream during the warmer months.
“The popularity and recognition our West Virginia Waterfall Trail has received is flat-out incredible, and I’m excited that we’re expanding it today with some really special new falls,” Justice said. “I encourage all West Virginians, and all visitors to Almost Heaven, to get out and explore the trail this summer. You’ll get to experience the unmatched beauty of our Great State, all the while making memories that you’ll cherish forever.”
As the first waterfall trail in the country, the West Virginia Waterfall Trail has received tremendous national recognition, such as features in top-tier travel publications, including Travel + Leisure, USA Today, Southern Living and Fodor’s Travel.
“We are thrilled to see the West Virginia Waterfall Trail receiving national recognition in top-tier travel publications. It’s a unique offering for West Virginia as we continue to build our reputation as a true outdoor recreation state,” Chelsea Ruby, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Tourism said. “I can’t wait to hear more stories and meet more folks out on the trail this summer. It’s an absolutely perfect summer activity for those looking to travel the state.”
For more information on the West Virginia Waterfall Trail, visit WVTourism.com/waterfalls.