We went rafting with Blackwater Outdoor Adventures (www.blackwateroutdoors) and had a blast! The kids loved it and said it was the highlight of the trip. The scenery was spectacular down and along the river. Best trip of the year!
Difficult trails allow experienced hikers to descend to the river, which has dug an impressive canyon through the mountains.
Our group admired the canyon from the top, as our bus was able to park next to a handicap-accessible vantage point. We enjoyed the early morning light, with a bit of rolling mist, before the long drive back home.
Our ranger apologized about the low water volume of the falls following a dry Summer.
My group saw the falls from a handicap-accessible boardwalk. There are some more dramatic viewpoints, but access to those entails numerous steps.
In spite of all these limitations, you can tell from the photos that this is a beautiful spot. If you search online, you can see the falls in their more bountiful splendor.
The trails at Blackwater Falls State Park go through several different habitats, including rhododendron and mountain laurel. None of the vegetation is ancient, because the park was completely burned down in the early XX Century.
One semi-arduous trail leads to a handsome geological formation called the Balanced Rock.
These falls are close to the Lodge. You can reach them via a rather steep trail which contains some steps.
The park is criss-crossed by many well indicated trails. You would have a hard time getting lost here.
The park has several sign posts that will direct you to where to go. Right near a gift shop/sandwich stand will be a fairly good sized parking lot. Down from the parking lot is the trail. They do warn you of the fact that this is a 200+ stair trail down, so the hike up is going to be worse than the hike down, but I didn't find the hike to be all that steep or painful. About 2/3 down will be an observation platform, but you'll get better views between this platform and the bottom observation deck. It's a well maintained staircase. You don't get to get too close to the waterfall, but close enough to admire it's power.
There are many more upscale ski slopes in the area but for beginning or just a day of inexpensive skiing this seems to be a great place. Plenty of rentals, a store, a large cafeteria. A good place just to have fun skiing for a day if you don't want to go all out.
214 steps to the bottom, where you can see Blackwater Falls. It isn't possible to hike all the way down when snow or ice is on the trail. Park Rangers close the boardwalk about half way down because the wood gets very slippery.