Welcome to West Virginia: The Birthplace of Rivers

One-thousand feet deep, Blackwater Canyon, in the heart of West Virginia includes public, state and private land. The canyon is home to the cheat mountain salamander and the West Virginia flying squirrel.

Outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs follow the historic railroad grade through the canyon from Thomas to the Limerock trail, seven miles away and beyond. A lush forest of red spruce, sugar maple, eastern hemlock and yes, poison ivy, surrounds the trail.

In the North Fork, a major tributary to the Blackwater, beautiful orange and red river rocks line the bottom of the canyon resembling a landscape of Arizona sandstone, but these are actually the stain of iron rich waters from legacy coal mining.

Friends of the Blackwater is group of dedicated individuals who have been working with the U.S. Forest Service with funding from the National Forest Foundation to enhance the recreation opportunities in the canyon. Their work will restore the old railroad grade for hikers, bikers, and kayakers who access the forest and river.

In the next year their work will continue along the Canyon Rim Trail of the Blackwater Canyon, extending and improving another five to seven miles of trail.

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