Jeff Smallwood Photography
The Hidden Gem
Aug 21, 2013

A Hidden Gem


This waterfall definitely has a story behind it. It is proof that you should not only pay attention with your eyes when photographing, but pay attention to your ears as well. 

Last month I was hunting down some lesser known waterfalls in West Virginia. I was going from notes people had written online. One I read talked about a waterfall on the "side of the road" on Rt 16 near Beckwith, WV. I had no idea where it might be because the section of Rt 16 mentioned is approximately 6 miles long. While I was at Cathedral Falls in Gauley Bridge (see photo on the right) I asked a local if they knew about it. The advice I received back amounted to a blank stare...they had no idea what I was talking about. Never heard of a waterfall on Rt 16 and told me good luck.

Nothing left to do but give it a try.

So I drove down the road with the windows down and music turned off, listening intently for that tell-tale rumble of a waterfall. Slowly up the road, listening, watching, hoping I'd find it.


I found it, but the photo above isn't what I found. This is the waterfall I found:


Like I said, I didn't find it mentioned on any map. But if you want to find it yourself, here's the spot on a Google map.

View Larger Map


So where did I find the hidden gem of a waterfall at the top of this post? Well, while I was shooting the waterfall I was originally looking for, I realized that behind me, in the middle of the creek was a huge boulder, about 1/2 the size of a house. The majority of the creek water appeared to go under the boulder.  If I listened closely, I could hear another waterfall coming from behind the rock. But there was no way to get to it. I walked down the road and found a narrow gap in the rocks and thicket that I could crawl through. Navigating a little bit of treacherous terrain, I came around the back side of the boulder and the photo at the top is what I saw. An entire ring of falls, ranging from 6-8' high, gently trickling out from under the huge boulder.

Sitting there, by myself, was such a unique feeling. The falls can't be seen from the road, and it doesn't give away any hints it is there unless you're actually standing in the creek on the other side and happen to hear it. People drive by this little gem every day on Beckwith Road, not 100' away, and never know this spot is there.

Makes you wonder what other hidden gems we pass by on a regular basis and never even know it.


4:52 PM
Thank you so much for the great info!

Absolutely Cheryl, glad you found it useful!

5:02 PM
Interesting -- whish I would have seen this earlier. I was literally just there two weeks ago myself.

Wow! Question is... where on earth did you park? Man, if I can work that in on my semi-planned road trip around WVA in the fall...

Pete, down the road about 75 ft from this spot is a narrow pull-over on the shoulder. Just enough for a car. It's on the opposite side of the road though. That's the ONLY place to park. Hope you can fit in some locations like this on your trip.

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