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Hike-in Required
No
Open Year-round
Yes
ADA accessible
Yes
Guided tours
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Up close is the best way to experience the power of Sandstone Falls. Over 1,500 feet wide, it crashes over 10 to 25 feet of sandstone ledges. Heights vary and different compositions of rock erode at different rates to create a complex series of falls, islands, and channels.

This is the transition zone for the New River, where it begins its conversion from a broad flat river of the bottomlands into the narrow, swift river that cut its own path through the Allegheny Plateau. This is the beginning of the New River Gorge. Even though the falls is just a few miles downriver from the large Bluestone Dam, the water levels can vary widely, and the islands periodically flood.

At Sandstone Falls, the National Park Service created a short 0.2-mile handicap accessible trail and boardwalk to explore the falls up close. Additionally, there is the 1-mile Island Loop Trail that circles the second island in the middle of the river. Both are easy and fun to explore and get you close to the river and falls. Do be careful; the river is mighty, and there are locations where there are no guardrails. In addition to the trails, there is a vault toilet and picnic tables near the large parking lot. This is a favorite spot and can be crowded on summer weekends.

Getting to the falls is a pretty drive. From the north, West Virginia Highway 20 takes you along the top of the gorge. There are several turnouts and short walks to provide panoramic views of the narrow V-shaped canyon and falls. Be on the lookout for the bald eagles in the area. From the south, take Highway 20 north along the Shore of Bluestone Lake. For both approaches, in the historic town of Hinton, take County Road 26 (New River Road) downstream. Pass the smaller Brooks Falls, another wide, low-river falls. Shortly you will arrive at the Sandstone Falls parking area.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Pros

Beautiful river-wide waterfall. Great sunset light for photographing the falls.

Cons

Can be crowded.

Pets allowed

Allowed with Restrictions

Features

ADA accessible
Vault toilet
Family friendly
Geologically significant
Near lake or river
Picnic tables

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

New River Gorge National Scenic River
Allegheny Plateau, West Virginia
Allegheny Plateau, West Virginia

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Allegheny Plateau, West Virginia

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