Blackwater Falls State Park is nestled high up in the Allegheny Mountains in Tucker County, WV. The land that the park sits on was first donated to the state parks system during the 1930s. Blackwater Falls State Park was opened in 1937 and over the years the park has grown in size. In 1955, additional facilities and activities were added like cabins and fishing facilities.
This West Virginia park is most famous for the Blackwater Falls that lie within its borders. The water flowing down this 57-foot waterfall is not actually black, but rather an amber color, created by the tannic acid from fallen trees like hemlock and the needles of red spruce trees. The falls are fed by the mighty Blackwater River which flows through the middle fo the park before cascading down the falls.
The rushing Blackwater Falls are not the only falls in the park. There is also the Elakala Falls, a sequence of four waterfalls fed by the Shays Run as it flows into the Blackwater River. The park's different falls and its lookout points, like Pendleton Point Overlook and Lindy Point, feature some of the most popular views that are photographed in West Virginia. Apart from visiting the different falls and lookout points, you can enjoy other outdoor activities like hiking, sledding, geocaching, and swimming.
When you visit this 2,358-acre park, you can also stay a couple of days to fully enjoy all that the park has to offer. The park has several different accommodation options including cabins, RV or tent campsites, and individual rooms at the park's lodge. The lodge restaurant is open daily and visitors can enjoy a meal there during their visit. The park is roughly 260 miles from both Pittsburgh and Washington D.C. and is close enough for a weekend getaway.
Blackwater Falls State Park is just off the Appalachian Highway and is very easy to locate. RVers traveling to the park may encounter several steep grades and should drive accordingly. The town of Davis is roughly three miles away, and if you need to fill up on gas or purchase any supplies, you can most probably find it there.
Once inside the park, the roads remain paved and are clearly marked for RVers and other campers to drive along. Make sure to maintain a cautious speed and keep an eye out for pedestrians, cyclists, and wildlife. Activities and facilities are quite spread out, so you may want to drive to the different sides of the park to get to them. If you are feeling brave, you can reach them on foot or by bike along the paved roads.
You will find suitable parking for your vehicles and rigs at the park. There is usually parking near a facility and most trailheads feature a parking lot.
If you decide to stay a couple of days at Blackwater Falls State Park with your RV, then you're in for a treat. The park has 65 RV and tent campsites available, 30 of them with electric hookups. None of the sites have water hookups, but there are water stations located throughout the campsite a short distance from your site.
Each site is equipped with a picnic table, fire ring, and a garbage can. Other campground facilities include a dump station, a laundromat, and centrally located restrooms with flushing toilets and hot showers. The campground can accommodate RVs with lengths between 25 feet and 70 feet. Blackwater Falls State Park is a pet-friendly park, and you are welcome to bring along your pets, as long as they are kept on a leash at all times.
The campground is open from late April to end of October. From the beginning of November, the non-electrical RV sites and the showers are closed for the winter. The remaining sites are open for primitive camping with restroom facilities.
If you really want to treat yourself during your stay at Blackwater Falls State Park, then you can stay in one of the park's 54 rooms. This lodge was built during the 1950s and features stunning views of the surrounding forested area and the breathtaking Blackwater Canyon. In recent years, all the rooms have been renovated but still retain the midcentury design and architecture amidst its more modern finishings.
You can choose between a variety of different bed sizes when you stay at the lodge, including rooms with a queen, king, two doubles, or two singles. There is something to suit your needs. Guests at the Lodge can enjoy facilities like a fitness room, tennis courts, indoor pool and hot tub, and kayaks and paddleboards.
Blackwater Falls State Park also has 13 vacation cabins available year-round for visitors to reserve. You can find these cabins a short distance from the RV campgrounds. The wooden cabins each have four bedrooms and two bathrooms with showers. They offer roughly the same features as the other cabins but have several unique features of their own. These features include a dishwasher, washer-dryer, porches with forest views, and a gas fireplace.
If you decide to visit the park in the winter, and would prefer not to do primitive camping in your RV, you can rent one of the parks fully-furnished cabins. Twenty-seven of the park's cabins are located on the other side of the Blackwater River near the Lodge. These cabins are available all year-round, and you won't be far away from fun outdoor activities. If you are traveling with your furry friend, you can reserve one of the 10 pet-friendly cabins available.
The 27 cabins are made using the classic wooden frame construction. They are fully furnished and equipped with a complete kitchen, open fireplaces, bath and bed linen, and bathrooms with showers. You'll have a TV, Wi-Fi, a phone, and HVAC units as well.
Pack your swimming gear in your RV when you plan to visit the park. During the warmer summer months, it's incredibly refreshing to enjoy a dip in the Pendleton Lake. Swimming is available from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and if you visit during that time, you can enjoy swimming in the lake.
If you are staying at the Blackwater Falls Lodge, you can enjoy swimming in the indoor pool for cabin and lodge guests. Campers can also enjoy the indoor pool for a small fee.
If you own a kayak, canoe, paddleboard, or boat, bring it along when you visit the park. If you don't have your own, you can always rent a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard from the park. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, boat rentals are available at the lake. After Labor Day, boat rentals are only available on the weekends.
Lake Pendleton offers lovely still waters for you to paddle and sail along. The lake is full of a variety of fish, and, if you bring your fishing gear along, you can enjoy fishing on the lake. If you bring your own boat, make sure to have the proper licensing.
Many visitors to the park are drawn to see the infamous Blackwater Falls. You can hike to both the Blackwater Falls and Elakala Falls by climbing a series of steps to the top. The views you will get to enjoy of the falls are well worth the climb up and will leave you breathless. Make sure to bring along cameras and binoculars to take some pictures and hone in on the beauty of the falls. There are also several different lookout points throughout the park that provide stunning views of the Black River Canyon and the Falls.
Visitors can enjoy exploring the park along the 20 miles of trails available. The 20 miles are divided between 20 trails ranging in length. They are all pretty moderate, with some more challenging than others, and are suitable for children and senior citizens as well.
Geocaching is an exciting activity similar to a treasure hunt. The aim of the game is to track down hidden "caches" using a GPS-capable device. Once you find the caches, you can trade some of your own trinkets and treasures with those within the cache. This family-friendly pastime is a perfect way to enjoy the outdoors together. Make sure to leave the caches in the same place you found them so that others can enjoy finding them after you.
Anglers, make sure to bring along your gear. At Blackwater Falls State Park, there is a variety of fish for visitors to try and catch. At Pendleton Lake there is trout, bass, catfish, and bluegill for you to snag. The Blackwater River is often stocked with trout during the spring and summer months. If you bring along your own boat or rent one from the park, you can enjoy fishing on Pendleton Lake. Make sure to have a valid West Virginian fishing license in your possession before casting your line.
During the wintertime, a whole different variety of outdoor activities are available. The park is home to the longest sledding magic carpet on the East Coast. The sled run is a quarter-mile long and is open from the middle of December to the end of February. This is a great way to enjoy the outdoors in the winter for the whole family!
You can also rent some snowshoes or cross-country skis and explore the 10 miles of trails open during the winter for visitors to enjoy. Make sure to wrap up warm before you venture out of the campervan and on to the trails.