Elakala Falls offers hidden beauty

DAVIS – Blackwater Falls, located in Tucker County, has long been noted as one of the most recognized and photographed scenic attraction in West Virginia. But those well-known falls make up only one set of the beautiful cascades located in the Blackwater Canyon.

Visitors to the area might consider taking a different path, one located just to the left of Blackwater State Park Lodge – one called the Elakala Trail.

The trail, while dotted by many tree roots, is covered in stone and is very easy to travel. As the walkway winds, travelers can tell from the beginning the falls are not far. From the beginning to the first set of falls is a treak of only about 50 yards.

Elakala Falls is actually a series of four falls, situated on Shay Run leading to the bottom of Blackwater Gorge. The first dropoff point is about 35 feet and access to get down to the rocks is a somewhat difficult jaunt, but every angle offers spectators quite a photo opportunity. A footbridge on the path carries travelers about 20 feet above the first set of falls in the series.

The second fall in the series is more difficult to reach, and features a cascade dropoff of about 15 feet. The third and final set of falls take much longer to reach, and anyone traveling to those should be prepared to spend the day, and should be in good physical health.

Information gathered from various Tucker County websites detail two Native American legends of how Elakala Falls gained its name. One account says Elakala, an Indian princess, threw herself over the edge of the first waterfall when her lover scorned her. The other account explains a shy Massawomee warrior named Elakala fell to his death over the falls while being pursued by two women of his tribe.

For those passing through Davis, visiting the area or simply looking for something a little different to do, just grab a camera and take the short jaunt to see this often overlooked site.