Kanawha Falls

May 2, 2009

State: West Virginia

Location: Glen Ferris, in Fayette County

Height: 15

Crest: 1000+

Water Source: Kanawha River

Waypoint: 38.1511N 81.2125W

Summary: A wide, wide falls on the Kanawha River. Easy to visit, and impressively wide, if not very high. In wet weather, some high skinny falls can be found nearby.

Kanawha Falls is located on the Kanawha River alongside US 60. The falls is only 15' high, but it is very wide. The falls is broken into a number of distinct sections, depending on the water levels. There is a low dam above the falls. Unless you have a boat, you will have to settle for distant views of most of the falls. You can get somewhat close to the western edge of the falls, where an old power plant is located. I do not know if there is any access to the eastern shore of the river.

Wide waterfalls like this do not make the best photo subjects, as you cannot really capture its size in a photo. It is an impressive falls, and definitely worth a stop if you are in the area. Unlike many of the falls in West Virginia, this one will have water year round. The dam does divert water towards the power plant, so the falls will not be nearly as wide during dry periods.

The falls is located right along US 60, about a mile west of Gauley Bridge, and about 21 miles east of I-64/77. There is a well signed park with ample parking right in front of the falls. You can launch a boat here if you have one. The site is popular with fishermen.

In wet weather, two side falls can also be found along US 60, one on Riggs Branch, and another on an unnamed side stream. There is supposedly a third, but I did not see it. If you cross the river, you can find a falls on the appropriately named Fall Branch. Unfortunately this waterfall has become an unofficial dump.

Nearby Falls

If you continue east on US 60 you will soon reach Cathedral Falls, one of the most scenic falls in West Virginia. Mill Creek Falls is 6 miles beyond that. As mentioned, several small wet weather falls are located within a mile. If you like big wide waterfalls, make sure you do not miss Sandstone Falls, which is located about 100 miles upstream, and is even bigger and wider than Kanawha Falls.

Photo Gallery

A 30+' Fall on Riggs Branch

A 40+' Fall on Unnamed Stream

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Last Modified: Saturday, 19-Sep-2009 20:20:15 MDT.

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