As we were checking out of the Lodge on Monday morning, we asked for directions to Douglas Falls because we really couldn't find much of anything on the web and nothing on Maps or the Garmin. One of the women at the desk gave us a sketch of how to get there, but the landmarks were a little crazy and some even suspect, her directions quite rambling.
Sketch in hand, we left the park for nearby Thomas WV. Our first try found us making a big circle through Thomas. On our second loop through, I found a turn that I misinterpreted the first time through and we ended up even further out in the boonies, still really unsure of where we were or where we were headed. Then we crossed a bridge over what I guessed was the North Fork of the Blackwater, and I decided to turn left on the dirt road beside it, for not much of any reason except I guess I thought I would follow the water. And I'll be damned if we didn't find first the coke ovens that were a landmark on our sketch and a railroad bridge that was another landmark on our hand-scrawled map from the Lodge. As we pulled into a makeshift parking lot, another couple was heading towards us and they confirmed that we were in the right place. Talk about getting lucky!
The long and short of it is head through Thomas on Douglas Road. Once you cross the river, turn immediately left on Rail Falls Road, a dirt road. Follow the dirt road just over a mile. You will come to an old railroad bridge and then it may dawn on you that you are driving on an old abandoned railroad bed. While there is a parking area on the far side of this bridge, if you're not in a 4x4, you would be best served to stay on the near side: this bridge is not in awesome repair and was quite rough, even in our Jeep. The falls are just a bit further down the road past a gate, on the left.
Driving along the river on the dirt Rail Falls Road (also listed on Google Maps as Blackwater Canyon Trail, for the road peters out into a hiking trail just at Douglas Falls), I had no idea what was beside us until we drove past this clearing and I got a sight of this aquamarine pool. I had no clue whatsoever. Stunning, just stunning!
|Imagine Driving Along and Seeing This|
|Second Little Falls|
|Postcard Pretty Douglas Falls|
|The Water Was Brisk|
|Bouncing Bet/Soapwort by the River|
|Appalachian Gentian, Gentiana austromontana|
|Elderberries Ripe for the Picking|
|Abandoned Beehive Coke Oven|
|Never Seen Bell's in a Can Before|
For future reference (and for anyone else reading this), Google has Douglas Falls on its maps:
We had a wonderful overnight at Blackwater Falls. I can truly say that West Virginia gets a really bad rap. It is one of the most phenomenally beautiful states in the country and there's an argument to be made that it is the most beautiful state in the country. Almost heaven is pretty appropriate. Our trip to Blackwater Falls and Douglas Falls only reinforced that it is a really special place.
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