About a mile east of Gauley Bridge you’ll find Cane Branch, a small tributary of the New River. Here, it makes a dramatic final plunge out of the mountains on its way to the river. This is Cathedral Falls and it is one of the most scenic and easy to access waterfalls in southern West Virginia.
What is Cathedral Falls?
Cathedral Falls is a beautiful 60+ foot waterfall on Cane Branch. It cascades down a narrow canyon and lands right beside US Rt 60. This creek begins on Gauley Mountain and makes a short but exciting trip to the New River. It actually drops nearly 100 feet over a series of Upper Nuttall sandstone ledges, but the final 60 feet of drops are the ones you can see from the roadside park.
Where is it?
Cathedral Falls is located just off of US Rt. 60 about a mile east of the town of Gauley Bridge. This is the Scenic Byway that travels from Charleston to the West Virginia state line east of White Sulphur Springs.
The trip is approximately 40 minutes from Charleston going east on Rt. 60 or 20 minutes from Ansted going west on Rt 60. If you are coming from Fayetteville, take Rt. 16 west to route 60. This trip will take about 20 minutes. For the technology junkies who love to use GPS, the coordinates for Cathedral Falls are 38.15444N by 81.1788W.
Why You Should Go
There’s a magic quality to water, whether it’s sitting motionless or flowing through a stream. Cathedral Falls is a special place to visit if you’re traveling around southern West Virginia. The sounds of the water falling over the rocks can help you reconnect with nature and forget about your worries for awhile.
And Cathedral Falls is also a wonderful spot for photographs. Tucked away in its own little canyon, you’ll have a hard time taking a bad picture here. You can go to Cathedral Falls many times and your photos will always be different. The water flow changes all the time.
And be sure to pack a picnic lunch; there’s no prettier spot to enjoy a meal. The roadside park has a couple of tables, and with a little exploring you can see more of the falls than just what you can view from the road.
No matter why you go, just remember to take time to enjoy the beauty that is southern West Virginia.
February 9, 2016 “Winning” Blue Ridge Outdoors