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Laurel Creek Falls

Venturing along the winding WV Route 16 out of Fayetteville, West Virginia, one will discover the hidden gems of Laurel Creek. Nestled amidst the lush greenery, a series of roadside waterfalls can be accessed through a rugged journey of bushwacking and scrambling down rip-rap. Amongst these natural wonders are the majestic Upper Laurel Creek Falls, boasting a 20-foot cascade, and the serene Lower Laurel Creek Falls, featuring a 10-foot cascade.

Typically, hot and dry summer months result in diminishing streamflows throughout Appalachia, making decent waterfall photography only possible after heavy rains. But this has been one exceptional year as parts of Appalachia have received nearly six inches more rain over normal for the prior three months, and bounties have abounded in central West Virginia.

I had long passed by Pipestem Falls alongside WV Route 20 near Hinton, West Virginia, but never bothered to stop as the waterfalls were barely visible from the overlook. That has changed in recent years with the clearing of brush and trees along Pipestem Creek, opening up views of the reclusive cascades, although the best views of Lower Pipestem Falls require a scramble down rocks from makeshift paths at the overlook.