Frozen Falls: The New River Gorge’s Best Winter CascadesDecember 6, 2018
Winter is one of the best times to search for waterfalls. The wetter the season, the bigger the cascade. Freezing temperatures make them even more beautiful. It’s a two-for-one deal from nature!
Search the New River Gorge for these favorites:
Majestic and imposing, this cascade lives up to its name. It falls more than 60 feet into a grand amphitheater, which soars above you like a Gothic monument. Cathedral Falls becomes even more glorious in winter. Extra precipitation ensures a continual flow from top to bottom. The effect resembles a lace veil. When frozen, the cascade solidifies into a dramatic curtain. Fanged icicles sometimes form on the sides, too.
Directions: Cathedral Falls is right off Route 60, roughly a mile from the town of Gauley Bridge.
Mill Creek Falls
This picturesque cascade plunges 20 feet into a wide basin. When fed by extra rain, Mill Creek Falls gets stormily powerful. It’s wide and compact. Like a romantic painting, dark woods and mossy boulders surround the churning water.
Directions: Mill Creek Falls is best reached via Hawks Nest State Park in Ansted. Once there, hike on Hawks Nest Rail Trail; it’s an easy 1.8 miles from start to finish. You’ll see several cascades along the way. Mill Creek is roughly a mile into the walk from either side.
Dunloup Creek Falls
Pleasingly frothy and vigorous, this cascade makes quite a show. It hurdles 20 feet over a ledge before pounding into the creek. When conditions are right, you’ll see layers of frozen foam.
Directions: To reach Dunloup Creek Falls, head to Thurmond. It’s on the side of Route 25, before you reach town. There’s a turnoff but no visible sign for the waterfall.
Wolf Creek Falls
Set near the New River Gorge Bridge, this 15-footer is accessible and striking. Dark boulders add pleasant contrast and drama. Wolf Creek Falls is visible from Fayette Station Road—but mostly during the wet season. Now’s the time to check it out!
Directions: Head north past Fayetteville on Route 19 until you see Lansing-Edmond Road. Turn right, drive .25 miles, then turn right on Fayette Station Road. There’s an immediate fork, so keep left. After that, follow the road. Wolf Creek Falls appears after you cross the river and start to climb up the mountain. You can also get directions from Canyon Rim Visitor Center; it’s off Route 19 and immediately after the New River Gorge Bridge.
Note: Fayette Station Road is potentially hazardous in winter. Please drive carefully and be on the lookout for ice.
What’s your favorite New River Gorge cascade or winter scene?