Theirs a reason they say West Virginia is "almost heaven," and it's not because of John Denver, well maybe a little; there is that song Country Roads. No, it's because of locations like Sandstone Falls, the largest waterfall along the New River, spanning 1,500 feet with drops between 10-25 feet. It is one of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve's most beautiful locations. I have traveled all over the Appalachian region, capturing the beauty many take for granted. This is one of our country's most beautiful spots, especially in the Appalachian region.
Sandstone Falls was created by erosion from the flow of the New River, which washed away the soft conglomerate rock layer, leavingthe sandstone rock where the falls got its name. If you plan on making a trip to Sandstone Falls, be prepared to drive a little. Just up from the town of Hinton, which is a beautiful mountain town overlooking the New River, you will follow New River Road for roughly nine miles, following along the banks of the New River. If you are coming from the Sandstone Visitors Center, it will be an almost twenty-mile drive, don't worry; it's very scenic and offers up a view looking down onto Sandstone Falls and the New River. You will also go through the town of Hinton, which I recommend stopping in to eat at the Market; it's just fantastic. And that's from a lived experience, which I plan to live again; you never forget really good food.
Once you arrive at Sandstone Falls, you will find it to be an easy walk along the boardwalk. There are also plenty of places to veer off the boardwalk to explore, like the half-mile Island Loop Trail. The boardwalk is handy cap accessible and very easy to navigate. As you explore the area and take in the heavenly beauty you are surrounded by, keep an eye out for the many different varieties of animals that inhabit the area. Great blue heron and many other different species of birds, deer, beavers, river otters, turtles, and so much more call this place home.
Sandstone Falls is one of those places that just feels magical, it feels special, and should be on everyone's bucket list of places to visit. In addition, Sandstone Falls is open year-round, providing many different opportunities to view the falls, and if you're a photographer like myself, you will want to come back each season for a sunrise or a sunset or to relax and unwind. As West Virginia’s motto states, it’s almost heaven.
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