CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) – Summer months are right around the corner, which means it is time for the family vacation! Vacations are fantastic and everyone deserves them! If you are looking to spend a little less on vacation this year, or are intrigued about your surroundings in the Mountain State and beyond, here are a few neat local spots to check out! Keep in mind that there are LITERALLY hundreds of waterfalls located in West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky, and hundreds of more trails! If you enjoy good views and enjoy the scenery of our beautiful region, you will find that you can spend several months or years checking out all of the wonderful places our region has to offer. Here are just a few waterfalls:
Location: Fayette County, 1 mile east of Gauley Bridge, WV
Height: Around 60 feet tall
Some Info: Cathedral Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in the Mountain State. It is located right off of US-60 east of Gauley Bridge, with parking available for about six cars. The waterfall is part of Cane Branch, which empties into the Kanawha River. It is thought to be called ‘Cathedral Falls’ because the water falls down a steep series of ledges into a natural amphitheater. The waterfall is VERY EASY to access.
Location: Boone County, Peytona, WV
Height: There are two different falls, the lower about 6 feet tall, the second around 5 feet tall.
Some Info: Drawdy Falls is part of the Drawdy Falls roadside park in Peytona. This beautiful Boone County fall is accessed by taking exit 89 off of I-64 (WV 94/WV 61 exit), driving south on Lens Creek Road (Route 94) and then driving onto Route 3 into Peytona. The roadside park will have a pull-off on the left, and the waterfalls are on the right. The waterfalls are EASY TO MODERATE (depending on if it’s rained) to access. Be sure to be careful crossing WV-94 to access the waterfalls.
Location: Coonskin Branch (located in Coonskin Park, Mink Shoals, WV)
Height: The falls drop down a grotto several feet, with the falls itself a couple of feet tall.
Some Info: This is Meteorologist Joe Fitzwater’s ‘secret’ spot! To access The Grotto, head into Coonskin Park, which is accessible by taking Exit 1 (Mink Shoals exit) of I-79 north, and then driving about two miles north on US-119. Once in the park, drive past Herscher Lake and the tennis courts, and then drive up a small hill. There will be a gravel parking area at the top of the hill where a road juts up a mountain to the left. Park here and you’ll see a sign that says ‘Alice Knight Memorial Trail’, which is the trailhead. You’ll hike that trail for a 1/4 to 1/3 of a mile – this part of the trail is easy to hike. You’ll see another trail that branches off Alice Knight to the left, where you’ll be able to hear the falls. Walk down there and enjoy! This trail is EASY TO MODERATE (depending on if it’s rained) to access. When it rains, the small trail going down to the falls can be slick.
Mill Creek Falls
Location: Fayette County, Ansted, WV
Height: About 20 feet
Some Info: This waterfall is a gorgeous one! With a nice camera, you can capture a whirlpool at the bottom of the falls frequently. To access, drive east on Route 60 into Fayette County, turn onto Page Street in Ansted, turn onto Rich Creek Road and then turn right onto Hawks Nest Road for about 3/4 of a mile. The roadside and trail views are great, however, you can get down to the bottom of the waterfall, too! If you decide to head down to the bottom of the falls, be a little careful, as it can be slick. The roadside view is EASY to access.
Location: Near Hinton, WV
Height: Varies quite a bit, but between 10 and 20 feet
Some Info: Sandstone Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the state! A long boardwalk and bridge system allows for very easy access to several views of the falls. To reach Sandstone, drive to Hinton, WV and drive onto New River Road for about 8 miles to the falls picnic area. Keep in mind that there is roadwork in that area, so expect occasional delays. If you are feeling adventurous, bring mucks and veer off of the boardwalk to get an even closer view! Just be aware that there are creek crossings, and the water is fast moving! The boardwalk and bridge views are VERY EASY to access.
That should get you started! Again, there are hundreds of waterfalls and hiking trails in our region, which can create wonderful memories for you and your family this summer! Here are a few links to view even more parks, hiking trails, and waterfalls!