Editor’s Note: Our friend Mary Elliot is setting out this summer with her family to become a “Very Important Parks Person.” If you visit 15 mandatory parks and forests and five more of your own choosing, you get a $25 gift card, a patch and bragging rights. She’s blogging about her experience and has agreed to let us post her stories here on WeHeartWV.
For our first trip we decided to check out Blackwater Falls State Park with a quick stop by Fairfax Stone State Park. Coming from our home in Harrison County, we decided to take U.S. Route 50 to our destination, a choice my stomach would later regret. Also the weather man made claims to a sunny day with cool temps; I should have known the mountains have a very separate forecast. The fog was so thick even the Hounds of Baskerville would have been taken aback.
Visiting the Fairfax Stone(s)
We made it to our first stop at the Fairfax Stone, a fitting start to our journey as the stone was an important marker in West Virginia. It was a “determining factor in the state boundary between West Virginia and Maryland.” I was a little confused however when we showed up and found two stones. Turns out I should have payed more attention in West Virginia History.
The deets: Although the park is small (4 acres) and is outfitted with only a parking lot, trash can and picnic table, it was cute and well kept.
My son, when showing him the stone let out an “ooooh” that I can only assume meant he was impressed. We left the stone to continue our journey to the falls.
The Main Event: Blackwater Falls
Blackwater Falls is only a short twenty minute drive from Fairfax Stone. We decided to stop at the lodge first to get our stamp for our VIPP passport. The employees working the desk were very nice and provided a map and directions to some trails. We opted out of the harder ones (because #toddler) but an outdoor enthusiast could hike and explore for days.
Sadly the petting zoo was not yet open this time of year, so we started with the gentle trail first. This trail can accommodate strollers and wheelchairs and has a parking lot at the very start of the trail. I recommend anyone take this trail just because the view is so incredible from this upper vantage point.
We got back in the car and drove to the other side to get an even closer look at the falls. Across the road we found a parking lot, restrooms, a snack bar and 214 steps to the best view in the park.
Although a lot of steps, the trail is not bad (this is coming from someone who is terribly out of shape). Of course, the way back was harder but by that point you know that its worth the hike.
The falls were truly awe inspiring. The beauty can’t be captured with cell phone pictures. I would definitely go again. (I would love to have added to this blog about a local restaurant we visited but unfortunately my stomach didn’t get any better so we made a speedy retreat back home.)