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Dec 13

Big Run Falls: The waterfall in WV no one told you about.

Big Run Falls is a locals' secret and Tucker County natives want to keep this gem to themselves.  But fortunately for you, I am NOT a native, and I want you to know about one of the best tucked away places we've come across!

Somewhere along the line Jamie heard about a little known waterfall near Tucker County High School.  Being such big fans of Blackwater Falls, we wanted to see what else is in our backyard.

This trip is a little more adventurous than anything in the State Parks, if only because there are no state-provided aids like signs or trail markers to guide you.  That said, it is still pretty easy to find and relatively safe to get to.

Leave north on Rt 32 from The Golden Anchor Cabins and travel through Davis, then Thomas before crossing the bridge at the end of town.  At this point you will follow 219 South 6.5 miles.  Tucker County High School will pop out of nowhere a mile or so before the next turn off.  Watch for the "National Forest Closed to Off-Road Vehicles" sign on your left and take the National Forest Road 18 turn off.  Then take the first left (4/10th mile) after turning off.  Going straight at this point takes you to the Olsen Fire Tower (another worthwhile destination, but that's another story)

National Forest Road 18 starts out with a reasonably smooth grade, but after a mile or so the road is no longer suitable for low-bellied 2 wheel drive cars.  We brought my XB and quickly decided a 4wd vehicle would have come in handy.  My advice is to drive down 18 until you get to the turn out just before the point where Big Run Creek crosses the road.  By this point the road will have been bad for around a 1/4 mile and you will be looking for a wide spot in the road to turn around anyway.

From here it might be as much as a 1/2 mile hike to the campground.  Follow the road until you see the picnic table and you'll know you are getting very close.  Right about now you'll start hearing the distant sound of a crashing waterfall.  At the end of the campground area there is a rock with an orange arrow.  This marks the trail that takes you to the top of the falls, but don't take that one.  No more than another 50 feet past that is another trail that shoots to the right as well.  This is the one you want.  It is a short path with a steep but comfortable descent that ends right in the middle of the set of three falls.

The top falls, and perhaps the most photogenic of the three, is approximately 15' tall and has a wide, even stance that makes the water spread beautifully across the creek.  The second falls is about half the height of the first.  This falls is interesting because of the rock formation splitting the water into two opposing forces.  The water then crashes back together before continuing to the third visible falls.  This final falls is easily twice the size of the first, including all of the steps the water takes before pooling at the bottom of the ravine.  I see no easy way to get to the bottom of this, so I don't have any idea what is after this.

Rhododendrons surround the entire ravine making the surroundings lush and green even in the gray months leading into and out of winter.  This is an ideal picnic spot, as it is a short hike after you park your car and there is a gigantic flat top rock just beside the second of the falls.  It is a perfect location to bring a packed lunch, listen to falling water and enjoy this natural, secluded setting.  If you didn't pack a lunch, you're minutes from Parsons; CJ's Pizzaria opens at 4:00 and it is phenomenal!

If you want to visit a remote waterfall in a secluded mountain setting and you want it all to yourself make sure you save some time in your next getaway to visit Big Run Falls in Tucker County, West Virginia

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-Daniel

Directions from Golden Anchor Cabins to Big Run Falls

Here's a little clip of the top falls flowing...