Adventure Us: Brush Creek Falls and Preserve, WV
If your family is looking for a new outdoor adventure and you’re up for a drive, here’s an option our family discovered recently: Brush Creek Falls, near Athens, WV.
A few miles north of Princeton, only a couple minutes off I-77, yet secluded and beautiful, Brush Creek Falls is a perfect day trip destination for an adventuring family. It offers multiple options to fit the weather and your family’s preferences, energy, and time constraints.
The trailhead, just beside the creek bridge and a small shelter and parking area, takes you down a gravel path a quarter mile to the falls. Here, you can shimmy down the hillside to a rocky area at the base of the falls, where there is a wide natural basin perfect for wading when it’s warm. The falls itself is impressively wide and striking, and you can get another fun angle by (carefully) making your way around the edge of the rocks right under the overhang. This scenic, accessible spot is by far the most popular place on the trail.
But the preserve (property of the Nature Conservancy) has more to offer. Beyond the falls, the path narrows to a trail and continues to follow the creek along its gorge. The trail has much to enjoy: it skirts along through pleasant woods, cutting under some massive sandstone cliffs on one side, while on the other side you get a great view of the creek below you. The trail is mostly level, making it enjoyable for the whole family, and much less trafficked than the first section. Finally, after about a mile and a half, Brush Creek empties into the beautiful Bluestone River. The trail continues beyond this, but our family stopped at another scenic spot: just before the creek converges with the river, a second waterfall cascades off the side of the gorge into the creek. This is White Oak Falls, and it’s a great place for (careful) exploring! There are crannies in the rocks that are fun to climb, or sit on and eat a picnic lunch. When there’s been plenty of recent rainfall, these falls, though small, are fun to watch.
Cap off your adventure with a visit to one of the museums or restaurants of Princeton on your way home.
The Bluestone and New River valleys are well known for their scenic beauty. Brush Creek Falls gives you one more reason to make a trip this direction – whether it’s a day trip or an overnight adventure!
One note of warning: the road leading to the Brush Creek Falls trailhead is a narrow, winding mountain road; use caution on the blind curves!
Name: Brush Creek Falls, Athens, WV 24712 (take I-77 Exit 14: see directions here)
Time from Roanoke: 1.5 – 2 hours
Activity Options: Hiking, waterfalls, wildlife, swimming
Nearby Food: Many options in Princeton and Beckley
Nearby Attractions: Pipestem Resort State Park, Winterplace Ski Resort, Camp Creek State Park, Brushcreek Falls RV Resort, Resort at Glade Springs
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