Places can say different things at different times. Coming out of winter, in the days where the snow is melting and some green is reappearing here and there, Blackwater Falls State Park’s titular attraction might have the most to say this time of year.

Throughout the Allegheny Mountains of Tucker County, the roar could be heard all the way back from the park’s main lodge. A 57-foot force of nature that has the added power of melting snow in its cascade.

It’s a sight that Amanda and Larry Duckworth know well. The pair have been coming to the park for 18 years and want to come back for more at the conclusion of each visit.

“This time of the year is best, the falls are so big,” Amanda Duckworth, who resides for most of the year in Barbour County, said.

Named for the dark pigment the water adopts from pine needles and hemlock swept up in its wake, Blackwater Falls and its surrounding area was formally named a state park in 1937. For decades before then though, word of the natural scenery and awe-inspiring natural formations drew people in.

Liz Gonzalez made a three-hour car ride to come to the park for the first time in February. Gonzalez is a bit of a hiking enthusiast, and has visited so many parks with her dog that she has lost count. Upon hearing about Blackwater Falls though, her well-tuned interest was piqued enough to commit to the trip.

{p dir=”ltr”}“I love waterfalls,” Gonzalez said. “And how in the winter time, half-frozen, it’s almost glowing. That caught my interest.”

{p dir=”ltr”}A combination of long-time locals and first-time visitors from afar populate the park, which is open year-round. And while the falls are without a doubt the crown jewel, the park offers so much more.

Along with Blackwater Falls, Elakala Falls, Lindy Point and Pendleton Point Overlook call the park home. Hikers can enjoy 20 miles of hiking on the park’s 21 trails.

Beyond what the land itself has to offer, the park has boating, skiing, fishing and other recreational activities, including claiming “the longest sledding magic carpet on the East Coast in the winter.”

“It’s gorgeous, so many great trails around here, around the falls,” Cynthia Ellis, who came to the park in a group of three, said. “Even something we saw, there was a kind of “soccer-golf” for the kids to do. Just being able to bring kids outside, take them down to the river and throw rocks in the water, those simple kind of things is nice.”

{p dir=”ltr”}“We checked out another state park yesterday, and even though in some ways you could say it was fancier, the units might’ve been fancier, because this area provides more to do, it does make a difference.”

Ellis, who grew up in Tucker County, pointed to more than just the strict limits of the park as worthy of praise.

While the forest and formations of Blackwater Falls State Park attract folks of different kinds for its beauty, there’s more to be found on the other side of the welcome sign.

Indeed, even the drive to Blackwater Falls — country roads stretching up and down hills and farms and creeks and fields — and through towns like Thomas and Davis, make for a worthwhile sight.

The entire area itself comes with high regard. Tucker County comes recommended by Kit Letchworth of Williamsburg, Virginia, who’s had a cabin in the park for 30 years.

“This is one of the first places we bring friends to see just because it’s beautiful to be around,” he said.

“The scenery, the people — the locals who live around here are just fabulous people,” Amanda Duckworth said.

Letchworth enjoys skiing at the park. The Duckworths said they never miss an opportunity to go snowshoeing. The park has modern amenities in its for-rent cabins, and even a Smokehouse Restaurant in its lodge. But for many of the visitors to Blackwater Falls State Park, the allure of the site comes from the nature at its heart.

“The whole area is wonderful,” Letchworth said. “’Wild, wonderful West Virginia’ is certainly accurate.”

Reach Nick Henthorn at 304-367-2548, on Twitter @nfhenthorn_135 or by email at

Reach Nick Henthorn at 304-367-2548, on Twitter @nfhenthorn_135 or by email at

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