Autumn Waterfalls in West Virginia
My wife and I spent Columbus Day weekend in Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia. I'd seen some impressive photos of Blackwater Falls and hoped to capture the falls myself with some nice fall foliage. We arrived just after peak season, so there was still some great color. The summer drought eviscerated the falls, but recent rainstorms restored the falls to a portion of its usual glory.
It turns out that in autumn, Blackwater Falls State Park is a very popular destination for photographers. I met several photographers while I was there and learned about some other scenic locations. One of my favorites was the Falls of Elakala on Shays Run, which it turns out was only a short hike away from the lodge where we stayed.
The best color we found Columbus Day weekend was at Douglas Falls. It's only a short drive from Blackwater Falls, and while it is smaller and lesser known, Douglas Falls is arguably more beautiful. Located by an abandoned coal town called Douglas, the only way to get to the falls is by way of a rough dirt road and then a short but very steep hike. The bright red color of the rocks comes from years of pollution and acid drainage from the mines and coke ovens in the area.
The weather over Columbus Day weekend was pretty rotten for the the most part, as it was cloudy and rainy. However, overcast skies can be good for river and waterfall photography because it reduces glare and specular highlights. So, in some respects, the bad weather was a blessing in disguise.
Keywords: Blackwater Falls, Douglas Falls, Elakala Falls, Shays Run, West Virginia, autumn, waterfall
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