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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pipestem Falls, Route 20, Pipestem, W V--My Favorite Places In Appalachia

Between Pipestem and Hinton, West Virginia, just off West Virginia Route 20 is a beautiful little waterfall only about 30 feet high.  But it has always been one of my favorite places in the entire state of West Virginia and Appalachia.  You can park near the highway and walk a short distance to the top of waterfall which is on  Pipestem Creek, not far from the state park of the same name, which is just a bit too large to jump over.  But the water spreads and drops over a ledge and is almost loud enough to drown out the passing traffic which you cannot see if you position yourself just right.  You can also usually manage to step out on rocks into the middle of the stream at the head of the fall. Just be careful.  In the 1970's, when I was spending a lot of time at the Appalachian South Folklife Center nearby, I would stop as often as possible to spend a few minutes at the waterfall.  I have also often stopped there since then when I am in the Summers County area. 

This waterfall is small but mystical in the way it can bring quite, peace of mind, and relaxation over you in even a short visit.  It is too close to the highway; or, rather, the highway was placed too close to the waterfall.  But that is its one shortcoming.  If you are driving from Hinton to Pipestem, take a few minutes, relax, catch your breath, and enjoy one of the most beautiful little waterfalls in Appalachia.  You can also pick up some of the litter which usually is there in small amounts despite the vast amount of education which has been done about littering lately.  It is a great place to visit for a few minutes.

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