Gov. Jim Justice announced a major expansion of the West Virginia Waterfall Trail on May 24.
The trail now has nine new stops, bringing the total to 38. Since it was launched in June 2022, the trail has received more than 35,000 participant check-ins, with visitors from 49 states and 15 countries.
The West Virginia Department of Tourism solicited suggestions for new waterfalls to showcase. Those nominations led to the addition of nine new falls.
One of those dedicated “waterfall wanderers” -- as the Department of Tourism calls them -- is Veronica Lewis. A mother of two from Jackson County, Lewis has visited more than 20 falls with her two daughters.
“I’ve had the joy of exploring many of West Virginia’s waterfalls and thanks to the Waterfall Trail, my love of exploring the outdoors is something I’m able to share with my daughters as a family,” Lewis said in a release from the governor's office. “Gov. Justice’s expansion of the Waterfall Trail will be a great way for more families to take advantage of every bit of the natural beauty and wonder available to us throughout Almost Heaven.”
Visitors can now explore 38 cascades throughout the Mountain State while winning exclusive prizes along the way. Prizes include a West Virginia Waterfall Trail branded sticker, water bottle and T-shirt, all exclusively available through this program.
The new waterfalls are:
• Westerly Falls: A short-dropped waterfall that spans Paint Creek in Fayette County. With water plummeting from 5 to 7 feet high, Westerly Falls is one of the more subtle, yet dynamic falls in West Virginia. Tackle the short and moderately steep walk from the roadside pull-off to creek level for a closer view.
• Pipestem Falls: With a 30-plus-foot drop on Pipestem Creek, Pipestem Falls is located along Route 20, approximately 11 miles south of Hinton. Follow the wooden steps by the pull-off.
• Falls Mill: Just off U.S. 19 on Pleasant Hill Road in Braxton County, Falls Mill spans the entire width of the Little Kanawha River.
• Parkinson's Waterfall: Parkinson's Waterfall is located on Bethany College’s campus in Bethany, Brooke County. Visitors can make their way along Campus Drive until they come upon a trailhead sign near the Steinman Fine Arts Center, marking the Waterfall Trail. The Waterfall Trail and Sutton Trail form a loop that is approximately a mile long.
• Mann's Creek Falls: Mann’s Creek Falls in Babcock State Park in Clifftop, Fayette County, starts at the Narrow Gauge trailhead located on the service road below the park’s campground.
• Sugar Camp Run Falls: Sugar Camp Run Falls is one of a handful of waterfalls at Babcock State Park. Parking in the historic Glade Creek Grist Mill lot provides easy access to the Old Sewell Trail.
• Flanagan Branch Falls: Flanagan Branch Falls is tucked away on the Old Sewell Trail at Babcock State Park.
• Tucker Falls: Located at Mason-Dixon Historical Park near Morgantown, Tucker Falls is a 14-foot hidden gem bordering the Mason-Dixon Line. Visitors can stroll along the banks of Dunkard Creek on Green Trail and cross over to Orange Trail for a combined one-mile walk.
• Loopemount Waterfall: Located near Mile Marker 8.1 on the 78-mile Greenbrier River Trail, the Loopemount Waterfall is one of the most remote waterfalls in the state. Visitors can park near the Harper Road trailhead and walk north and continue slightly more than two miles along the rail trail to find the waterfall.
With the addition of these new waterfalls, the West Virginia Department of Tourism has also commissioned Base Camp Printing Company in Charleston to create a limited-edition waterfall art print that will be mailed to the dedicated waterfall explorers who check in at all 38 cascades along the trail.
Checking into the Waterfall Trail is a simple process made possible by Bandwango, a travel technology platform. Visit WVtourism.com/waterfalls and register to have the West Virginia Waterfall Trail passport delivered to your smartphone. Those who have already registered and want to restart their listings can text “resend waterfall trail passport” to 1-888-921-5333 to be connected with a support agent.
“The popularity and recognition our West Virginia Waterfall Trail has received is flat-out incredible, and I’m excited that we’re expanding it today with some really special new falls,” Justice said in the release. “I encourage all West Virginians, and all visitors to Almost Heaven, to get out and explore the trail this summer. You’ll get to experience the unmatched beauty of our great state, all the while making memories that you’ll cherish forever.”
As the first waterfall trail in the country, the West Virginia Waterfall Trail has received national recognition, such as features in top-tier travel publications, including Travel + Leisure, USA Today, Southern Living and Fodor’s Travel.
“We are thrilled to see the West Virginia Waterfall Trail receiving national recognition in top-tier travel publications. It’s a unique offering for West Virginia as we continue to build our reputation as a true outdoor recreation state,” West Virginia Department of Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby said in the release. “I can’t wait to hear more stories and meet more folks out on the trail this summer. It’s an absolutely perfect summer activity for those looking to travel the state.”
For more information on the West Virginia Waterfall Trail, visit WVTourism.com/waterfalls.