Valley Falls State Park, WV
Valley Falls State Park is south of Fairmont on WV Route 310 (I-79 exit 137).
Amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in West Virginia, you'll find Valley Falls State Park. The drive itself makes this trip worthwhile, but the waterfalls at the destination are also a great reward.
Valley Falls State Park is located along the Tygart Valley River. At the park, a half-mile stretch of the river includes two 10-foot falls. You can't (and shouldn't) swim in the water, but with some caution, you can walk out onto the giant rocks in the middle of the river.
These rapids are popular with kayakers. There's an Army Corps of Engineers dam 10 miles upstream that controls the flow of water, so most of the time the falls are passable by anyone with intermediate kayaking skills.†
In the late 1800's, there was a lumber and grist mill here, powered by the river. A small channel breaks off from the rest of the river, and flows around an island, ending at this waterfall.
It was here that the old wheel turned, powering the mill. All that remains of the grist mill is one column of rocks.
Not far from the site of the old mill, the old grist mill stone is still on display.
A saw mill was the first to be built at this location, in 1827. 20 years later, the grist mill was built. At its peak, the grist mill could produce 70 barrels of flour a day, under the "Pride of the Valley" brand. The mill closed in 1905.
Earlier, I mentioned that the drive was worth the trip. This is one picture, taken along the road that leads from WV 310 into the park. The road passes through hillside meadows, then dips down into a valley and circles a private lake, before entering the park.
As I took this picture, I got to meet one of the local residents who, before seeing my camera, thought I was drunk.
After leaving the park, drive back to Rte. 310 and head south, towards Grafton.
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