These magnificent mountain waterfalls freeze for winter

There’s an almost magical quality about a wintry forest scene, with icicles clinging to rocks that carried a swift-moving stream just a few months earlier.

Keep these magnificent waterfalls in mind during your winter explorations:

1. Blackwater Falls

Blackwater Falls State Park boasts a number of waterfalls, but the showpiece is the towering and mighty Blackwater Falls. This spectacular waterfall freezes solid when the temperature drops low enough, turning the surrounding forest into a winter wonderland.

If you visit Blackwater Falls on a snowy winter day, make a long weekend out of it and try out the park’s record-length sled run or explore the woods on snowshoes or cross-country skis.

2. Cathedral Falls

Get a glimpse of the final 60 feet of Cathedral Falls, trickling down the rocky walls of a natural amphitheater. Easy to reach from a roadside pullout off U.S. 60 near Gauley Bridge, Cathedral Falls is part of a tributary that leads to the New River.

While you’re in the area, be sure to stop at Kanawha Falls just below the junction of the New and Gauley Rivers near the Glen Ferris Inn. The falls are short but wide, stretching nearly all the way across the Kanawha River.

3. Glade Creek

Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park is one of West Virginia’s most photographed images, but it is especially beautiful in winter, when the creek is strewn with rocks, creating multiple levels of miniature waterfalls.

The snow-blanketed mill and icy creek looks like something out of a fairy tale, or perhaps the cover of a Christmas card.

4. Brush Creek Falls

At 33 feet, Brush Creek Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in southern West Virginia. It drops from a narrow, 400-foot-deep canyon to join the Bluestone River at the Brush Creek Nature Preserve near Pipestem Resort State Park.

During summer, a delicate veil of water spills over the rocks into a wide green pool, but on the coldest days of the year, you’ll find frosted curtains of ice hugging the rocks. You can access the falls on an old road by the parking area.

5. Valley Falls

The wide, spectacular Valley Falls is an easy winter excursion, even if the falls aren’t quite frozen. You can get to the falls right from the parking area of Valley Falls State Park.

The day-use park was a thriving railroad community in the 1800s, with a train station, grist mill, post office, sawmills, shops and a ferry. You can still see some remnants of the old buildings, which adds historical significance to the park’s natural scenic beauty.

What frozen waterfalls have you seen?

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