The largest waterfall on the New River, Sandstone Falls spans the river where it is 1500 feet wide. Divided by a series of islands, the river drops 10 to 25 feet.
Sandstone Falls marks the transition zone of the New River from a broad river of large bottomlands, to a narrow mountain river roaring through a deep boulder strewn V- shaped gorge. The falls form the dramatic starting line for the New Rivers final rush trough the New River Gorge to its confluence with the Gauley river to form the Kanawha River.
Your journey to view the falls will require some driving time, but it will take you along two of the park's most scenic roads, Route 20 from I-64 at the community of Sandstone, ten miles upstream to the town of Hinton, then downstream eight miles along River Road, the park's only scenic riverside drive. Both these routes offer several overlooks, historic sites, natural areas, trails, and river access points.
The walk begins by crossing a short bridge that spans a manmade channel that once diverted water for a water powered gristmill used for grinding the local farmers corn and wheat. The first island offers a view of the lower falls, the one half mile Island Loop Trail, and one of the most unique botanical ecosystems in West Virginia, the Appalachian riverside flat rock plant community. This community is found in only five areas in the state and consists of several southern plant species that have migrated along the north flowing New River and have adapted to the thin rock strewn soil and occasional scouring floods on this elevated island below the falls.
Sandstone Falls is a popular fishing spot for smallmouth bass and catfish: a West Virginia fishing licience is required. For more information check out our fishing page.
The river around Sandstone Falls has been the site of several drownings - always wear a lifejacket when in or near the water. For more information, check out our water safety page.
For information about hiking near Sandstone Falls, check out the Sandstone Falls trails page.
To see more photos of Sandstone Falls, check out the Sandstone Falls Photo Gallery.
Did You Know?
You can "catch a train" to visit the park! The AMTRAK Cardinal travels through New River Gorge on its route from New York, NY to Chicago, IL.