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Free falling at Valley Falls State Park

by Gabby

One waterfall is fun to see in nature but several all at once is truly a special sight. Valley Falls State Park in Fairmont, West Virginia boasts four waterfalls in close proximity to each other on the Tygart Valley River.

The 1,145-acre park was first acquired in the 1830s by a trader who built a lumber mill and grist mill onsite. Workers used the churning waters to bring life to their machinery.  

In 1853, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad completed a line from Wheeling to Grafton which caused the area to boom with shops, a ferry, schools and a factory. 

More than three decades later, a fire and several floods destroyed a majority of the town and it never recovered. The state’s park system acquired the land including the falls in 1964 and decided to turn the area into a destination for locals and travelers.

 Photo Credit: West Virginia Department of Tourism

Today, the park hosts 18 miles of hiking and biking trails as well as playgrounds and picnic areas. Many visitors head to the area to fish or to take on some whitewater rafting, kayaking or paddling. Tracks from the active Cass Scenic Railroad run by trails to the falls.

Large boulders on the side of the river allow visitors to get closer to the cascading waters. These spots make for excellent picture-taking opportunities (Hello, Instagram!) but be warned — there are gaps that phones and other items can fall through if you are not careful. 

While views are always beautiful at the park, the area is especially popular during fall foliage season.

By Gina Gallucci-White

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