The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Blackwater River

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Falls of the Blackwater River at Blackwater Falls State Park
The Blackwater River drains the Canaan Valley and surrounding Allegheny Mountains region of northeastern West Virginia. The river joins the Dry Fork at Hendricks, WV, to form the Black Fork of the Cheat River. The Blackwater takes its name from the darkness of its waters, stained by green-brown (rather than black) by tannins born in vast pine and spruce forests.

The upper river and its tributaries meander across the Canaan Valley, creating large areas of wetlands. Much of the upper drainage is protected as part of Canaan Valley State Park, the Monongahela National Forest, and the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

The lower river descends over the landmark Blackwater Falls, centerpiece of Blackwater Falls State Park, into a steep-walled canyon, "The Blackwater Canyon," through which it twists and tumbles. This lower stretch of the river is a popular-but-dangerous whitewater run for kayakers, and features a ladder of Class IV to V+ rapids that drop over 2.4 miles. The put-in for paddlers begins just downstream of the falls, and paddlers should register with the state park.