Blackwater Falls State Park is located in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia between Thomas and Davis. The focal point of the park is Blackwater Falls, a 62-foot high waterfall that transforms the river from a meandering stream through wetlands of Canaan Valley into the isolated Blackwater Canyon. Other waterfalls include Flakala Falls with a 40-foot descent, Falls Run with a 30-foot multi-ledge drop and Pendleton Falls with a 20-foot drop with additional cascades.
The river was named for its color, which is tannic acid-darkened from fallen hemlock and red spruce needles, and was first described by David Hunter Strother who published “The Virginia Canaan” in regards to his adventures in Canaan Valley and the Blackwater River region. The first lodge, the Dobbin House, was constructed in 1858 and soon Blackwater Falls was a popular tourist site.
The West Virginia Power and Transmission Company (WVPTC) leased and donated land to the state beginning with a 446-acre lease for the establishment of a scenic overlook at the head of the canyon, which included a view of Blackwater Falls. A formal park was established in 1937. Additional land was donated in 1953 and 1955 by the WVPTC, and by the U.S. Forest Service in 1957. Amenities such as a cabin, lake and lodge were constructed from 1956 to 1957, greatly increasing the number of visitors to the park. Additional land was sold or donated to the state in 2000 and 2002.