August 20, 2015.
On a rainy August day, we set off for a sight-seeing extravaganza. We started our day with the Freeland loop, which is the first place you’ll come to if you’re heading toward Davis from Harman. Take the right onto Freeland Road and follow the road until you see the parking area and trail on the left. The Freeland Loop is .48 mi and it’s a boardwalk, so it’s an easy, short hike – and it’s even handicap accessable.
The trail begins like this and winds its way in a loop through a wetland and beside 2 ponds. It has a few overlook areas and passes alongside a fenced-in stand of Canaan Fir. The fields burst into color in the fall. Most of the trail looks like this; one half is more wetland heavy and the other more tree heavy.
The next stop along the road was Blackwater Falls. Be careful if you go on a wet day and as you get closer to the falls on a normal day – the stairs do get slick! There’s a viewing platform and a bench at the top of the steepest section of the stairs as you hike back out.
Two viewing platforms exist in front of the falls. This photo was taken from the lower platform, which is closest to the falls. The other is higher up, but further away from the waterfall.
If you head back to the highway and continue on toward the town of Thomas, you’ll come upon Douglas road right before you get into the town of Thomas. Take this road and follow it until it starts to take a steep uphill section. Turn left onto Rail Falls Road, which is a gravel road. You’ll pass the Coke Ovens and an old railroad bridge before you come to a parking area. We had planned to walk across the bridge….until we saw this.I am not a fan of yellow jackets. Instead, we drove across the bridge and parked in the parking area. Follow the road and pass around the forest service gate; you’ll pass a path that goes to the top of the falls. The path to the bottom is very rocky and somewhat washed out, so be careful as you make your way to the falls.
After we finished exploring around Douglas Falls, we headed back to Davis to go to Hellbender Burritos. This is definitely my favorite place to grab a bite in North Central West Virginia- I’ve never had a burrito that I didn’t like.
GoPro for scale. These things are massive.