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Douglas Falls

Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia

Douglas Falls, a 35 foot cascade along West Virginiaís scenic North Fork Blackwater River, is quickly becoming a sought after destination for explorers of the Mountain State - this beautiful waterfall, which is often overshadowed by the nearby spectacular Blackwater Falls, definitely commands respect in its own right.

Once a hidden gem, the falls have indeed stepped into the limelight - its picture-perfect setting and accessibility lending to its popularity. An easy hike leads to several possible vantage points from which to view the aquamarine waters plunging into an emerald pool - the blue-green waterfall-filled stream (cascade after cascade decorate the river as it makes its descent into Blackwater Canyon) is strewn with sandstone boulders stained orange by tannins and acid from past mining days.

To get to Douglas Falls, head to the town of Thomas in Tucker County, West Virginia - a great destination in and of itself. On the outskirts of town, turn onto Route 27/Douglas Road and follow it for 1 mile, then take a slight left onto Rail Falls Road - about halfway down the bumpy, gravel road you will find Albert Falls, a small roadside cascade, and the trailhead for the waterfall at the end. The terminus of the road is blocked off with a gate, allowing only foot traffic beyond that point.

A short hike beyond the gate, approximately 0.1-mile, will take you to a spur trail that leads to the base of the falls - the 35-foot scramble down the riverbank to the plunge pool is made easier by the presence of a rope.

Exploration around the base of the falls and further downstream will lead to numerous different perspectives - after enjoying the colorful landscape to your heartís content, simply return to your car via the same path.





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