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.
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.
The river around Sandstone Falls has been the site of several drownings - always wear a lifejacket when in or near the water.
Explore the Gorge Video: Sandstone Falls
Join Park Ranger Richard Altare on an exploration of Sandstone Falls and the Upper Gorge.
Appalachian Flatrock Community
Learn about a rare and endangered ecosystem found in only a few small places in the New River Gorge.
Last updated: February 10, 2023