Tucked away in a narrow gorge just off the Highland Scenic Highway is a hidden treasure known as the Falls of Hills Creek Scenic Area. This popular 114 acre area contains three waterfalls - 25 feet, 45 feet, and 63 feet. The lower falls, at 63 feet is the second highest waterfall in West Virginia.
At a Glance
Camping is not permitted in the Scenic Area.
Dogs are welcome if they are leashed.
Horses and motor vehicles are prohibited on the trail.
Picking flowers and removing rocks are prohibited.
The Cranberry Mountain Nature Center is located 5 miles east, has maps, guidebooks and information on nearby attractions and campgrounds.
Two accessible toilets
For more information during the summer months contact the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center at (304)653-4826 (voice and TTY) and during the winter months contact the Gauley Ranger District at (304)846-2695 (voice and TTY).
There are no trash cans along the trail, so please carry out all trash when taking snacks and drinks into the Scenic Area.
Short cutting trails causes erosion and kills vegetation. Stinging nettle is common along the trail. Please stay on the trails.
A three quarter mile trail leads visitors to spectacular views of the three waterfalls as Hills Creek descends 220 feet between the upper and lower falls. The first 1700 feet of trail is a paved, wheelchair accessible path to the upper falls viewing platform. The remainder of the trail is more strenuous with stairways and boardwalks leading to the lower falls. The complete trip takes about an hour, or longer, if you want to rest often or just enjoy the scenic beauty.
Here in the Hills Creek area, there are exposed layers of hard sandstone rock over very soft layers of red shale. Water running down these alternating hard and soft layers began to cut rapidly in the soft shales and much slower in the hard sandstone. As a result, the shale was eroded from underneath the sandstone causing blocks of stone to break off when the shale no longer supported them.
Because of the steep, narrow gorge, there are few hours during the day when sunlight hits the waterfalls. The best time for photographs is mid-day when the sun is highest. In summer months, the water flow can be quite low, so the best viewing times are after heavy rains.
As well as the scenic beauty of the gorge and waterfalls, the trail offers an abundance of spring wildflowers. Over 40 different species have been recorded and many can be easily viewed and photographed from the trail. Please remember this is a unique and fragile area with steep slopes and easily erodable soils. Remaining on the trails and boardwalks will assure that the soils and delicate plant life will be protected. Picking wildflowers is prohibited in the Scenic Area, so please take only pictures!