Blackwater Beauty – Davis, WV

Steve saw an article in Motorhome magazine about a picturesque falls nestled high in the Allegheny Mountains in West Virginia and he was excited to see it.  The campground at Blackwater Falls State Park, located in Davis, WV could not accommodate Betsy – she is a little too big.  We found the nearest available RV park in Moorefield, WV called Riverside Cabins and RV Campground,  a spacious park by the river with a separate lot area designated for transients like us.  Getting into the campground was not a walk in the park, however. Click here if you want to see Steve’s review.

Riverside Cabins RV Park
Riverside is nice – once you get in!

Blackwater Falls is about 57 miles from where we were parked, so we set aside a day to see for ourselves if it lived up to its billing.  Well, it did!  For one thing, it has its own distinctive characteristics.  The name Blackwater comes from the dark reddish-brown appearance of its water, which has a color sort of like tea.

Blackwater Falls
Note the tea-colored water

The river is fringed by red spruce and eastern hemlock, and the tannic acids from their needles and branches leach into the streams after falling to the ground and receiving a pelting of rain and snow.  The waters plunge 57 ft over Blackwater Falls and then flow through an 8-mile long gorge within the Alleghenies.

Blackwater Falls
Blackwater Falls

Access to Blackwater Falls is thru a 214  steps boardwalk that follows the natural contours of the waterfall.

Boardwalk to Blackwater waterfalls.

Though Blackwater Falls is the centerpiece of this park, there are two other waterfalls – Elakala Falls and Pendleton Falls – that we came across during our 8+ miles of hiking.  We enjoyed hiking in this neck of the woods because despite the humidity, the trails are shaded and it stays fairly cool under all the lush greenery.  Several trails intersected and we got a good workout following seven of the many trails.  And once again the rain did not fail to drench us just as we were heading back to our car!

The article mentioned one more hike with a view at the end that we wanted to see – Lindy Point.  It showcases stunning mountain views and a large section of Blackwater Canyon.

Lindy Point Outlook
Lindy Point overlook

Steve also likes riding on trains (although we don’t like the noise they make passing by our RV parks).  We hopped on a vintage passenger train, the historic Potomac Eagle, which rolls through a scenic section of West Virginia and is considered one of America’s most beautiful train rides.

For three hours we enjoyed a narrated excursion through a tranquil and pristine mountain valley, historic farms and lush mountain greenery.  Around every curve we were rewarded with the blooming wildflowers, evergreens, and mixed hardwoods in this unspoiled countryside environment.  Bald eagles were soaring above as we enjoyed a yummy lunch and then sat outside in an open car for a portion of the trip.

Mountain Greenery, Potomac Eagle
View from train

The train briefly stopped at “The Trough”, a spectacular narrow mountain valley.  Below us ran the South Branch of the Potomac River, where the water was so clear that we could see fish as they lie resting in the shade.

The Trough, south Potomac River
The Trough

We saw a young eagle perched high up on a tree, and according to our guide the area is the eastern home of the American Bald Eagle.  Our lunch consisted of “comfort food” and was very filling.  We felt the trip was a bit pricey for 3 hours but we really enjoyed it.

Bald Eagle
Young Bald Eagle – no white on his head yet

These wildflowers brought color to the lush and green background scenery.





  1. Your hikes have taken you to some beautiful spots…Backwater Falls is gorgeous! We have not explored the South very much…and we are from Georgia! Your posts sure make it inviting! As much as we like to be ” up close and personal” with nature on our hikes, the train ride would be so much fun! I enjoy your wildflower picture….the purple iris(?) is so delicate! And happy to see the immature bald eagle!

    Riverside looks nice too…wonder how many folks would turn around at the site of those run down trailers?

    • The run down trailers is about 3 miles down the road and by that time you reach there you are already committed 🙂 But the place by itself was actually beautiful for we are separated from the other perms. Virginia and WV are really beautiful states!

  2. Wonderful waterfall! I love any hike that includes a waterfall. Great find but too bad you had to stay so far from it. You got your exercise…8+ miles makes for a super day. Glad you had some clouds to help with the heat. How were the bugs? With all that moisture and heat, I would think the bugs would be bad but you didn’t mention them!?

    The train ride looked like a fun time. Your photos definitely shared the extreme beauty that surrounded you.

    Glad you are enjoying the east coast. Try to stay dry…haha!

    • Pam, thanks for mentioning about access which I overlook in my post. There is actually a 214 steps boardwalk that led to the waterfall for viewing and enjoying it up close. I just updated my post to show it.

  3. I grew up in Thomas, WV which is only two miles from Davis, WV where Blackwater Falls is located. If I had a dollar for everyday I spent in Blackwater Falls State Park, well, I’d have a good chunk of change.

    My brother used to work at the lodge and we have hiked every trail there is in the park. We have fished from the falls down the canyon seven or eight miles and climbed straight up the canyon walls to get out.

    We grew up with the sons of one of park’s superintendent, so we sort of ran wild in the park back in the 1980s and probably did some things, that we should not have.

    My friends and I had a hunting cabin we built just off the park between it and the town of Davis, and spent about every weekend in it, when we were in high school.

    You should also see the falls in February when the water has frozen, it is a sight to see.

    While you were in Davis, did you happen to eat at Sirianni’s Pizza? It is some of the best pizza and Italian food you will ever find. We are longtime friends with its owners, who are great people. While driving to DC we would detour through Davis, WV just to eat there.

    If you drove through Thomas any, then you probably drove right past our old house since it sits right on Route 32, the main road that connects Thomas and Davis, WV.

    It is nice to see someone travel through where I grew up and spent most of my childhood. Thanks so much for the memories!


  4. Looks like a park to add to our list, even though it will likely be a couple years before we get back east with the Phaeton once we leave for the west at the end of this year. I sure hope they trim the trees at the entrance to the RV park as it looks like a very nice one to stay in since we too would be unable to get into Blackwater. We did the train ride back in the early 90s after we moved to the DC area from Utah. I remember enjoying it, but like you, found it to be a bit pricey. Still, it was a nice way to see a bit of the area that we might not have seen otherwise.

    • According to the park owner, the “State” was suppose to be trimming the willow. But who knows he must be saying that to all big rigs that passes by. It was really overgrown and hanging down!

  5. I love the hikes you two do! I am collecting these in a notebook for future reference. The train is going in the bucket list book too!

  6. Looking good guys……that waterfall sure looks pretty. We are on day 3 as official “full-timers” and are keeping super busy – too busy for blogging….lol.

  7. I didn’t see an email contact for you … so to answer your question about our shade curtain (feel free to delete the comment after you read my response).

    The top piece (which, in our case is a 3-foot drop) is permanently installed via the slit on the back side of the roller tube. It rolls up with the awning. The 6-foot additional piece zips into the permanently installed piece. I think it takes us 3-4 minutes, if that long, to zip or unzip the additional 6-foot piece into place (and that includes removing the bungy cords we opted for in lieu of the guy ropes that came with the purchase, and folding the removable piece (which stores flat in a bag that came with the purchase). Even though we are stationary in one place, we never leave the awning open overnight, so we’ve been removing the 6-foot piece every night. It’s not a cumbersome process Would I install it for just a couple of hours if we were on the move? I think that would depend on whether we would be spending those hours relaxing outside or not.

  8. Looks like more beautiful country you two are finding. We experienced this type of waterfall during our first year out in MI, with tannic acids creating tea-stained falls. Safe travels. 🙂

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