The description of Elakala Falls is again deceiving…well, depending on who you are. There are actually 4 “major” drops on Shay’s Run. Various explanations of the hike to the falls made me wonder whether I would be able to handle seeing the falls. Sources suggested that the hike was difficult.
Well, the hike to Falls #1 is pretty easy. I admit that the hike to falls #2 and #3 is not “easy”, but I wouldn’t call it difficult either. Likely due to higher traffic, there is now a pretty clear trail that passes by those two waterfalls. It is steep at points, but it’s very redeeming quality is that the whole hike is pretty short. I wouldn’t suggest doing the hike in slippery tennis shoes. Hiking shoes will work better because of the steepness. Still, I don’t remember it being a difficult hike.
One thing to note…I did NOT attempt to go to the 4th falls. I say it wasn’t difficult to visit the first three falls, but there was absolutely no clear way to hike down view the 4th falls, so I decided against trying to view it.
1) Head toward Davis/Thomas, WV on WV-32. Once in either town, you should see signs for Blackwater Falls State Park. Follow the signs!
2) Instead of heading toward Blackwater Falls proper, head toward the Blackwater Lodge.
3) Park in the parking area for Blackwater Lodge near the left edge of the lodge (if you’re viewing it from the front). If you walk just a few feet from the parking lot, you should find the trail leading to the falls.
4) After a short distance, you will find a bridge crossing Shay’s Run, and you’ll be able to see the first falls. Cross the bridge. It is much less complicated to hike down that side of the river, as there is a clearer trail there.
5) Heading downhill, you should be able to get a good view of the first falls after a short distance. Keep heading downhill on what appears to be a somewhat well worn trail to see the 2nd and 3rd falls. Bug spray and hiking shoes are essential.
Accessibility: 5/10 (to 2nd falls)
Where in the World is Elakala Falls #2?: map