A trip to Sandstone falls is more than simply watching water cascade over a rock, because this waterfall has an island below it with a boardwalk and plenty of places where a person can wander over the island and climb around the falls. Also, a trip to the falls takes you through Hinton, which affords places to stop and get a bite to eat with spectacular views of the New River. The drive to the falls from I-64 is half the fun.
We took exit #139 and turned down Route 20 heading toward Hinton. Just after you pass the store across the railroad tracks on the right, be sure to look to your left as you cross the bridge which spans a creek, whose name I don’t remember, to see a towering cliff carved from the side of the hill. Shortly thereafter, you will wind up the mountain which twists its way toward the town of Hinton 12 miles away. Don’t worry, the road doesn’t snake through the mountain the entire way.
There are places to pull off and view the river, and even the falls, along the way. I encourage you to stop to view the falls because it will heighten your anticipation of when you can get up close and personal with them.
When you reach Hinton, you could stay at the Guest House on Courthouse Square (Lodging > Bed & Breakfast, Inn and Suites), or choose from restaurants like Kirk’s, or the Dairy Queen, where you can sit and enjoy a spectacular view of the New River as you enjoy your meal. Kirk’s has an open patio so you can enjoy the breeze and lean over and watch the huge catfish begging like puppies – well, almost. If you prefer to eat inside and still have a great view of the river, Dairy Queen is the place to go. To visit their listings go to WVyourWay and click the heading “Restaurants.” Then scroll down and click on the keywords, “Breakfast All Day, Desserts, Family, Fast Food, Homestyle Cooking, Motels or Wireless Internet.” To get directions, simply add them to your itinerary and they will be provided.
We then drove down to the falls using the road on the west bank of the river, since it’s the only way to reach the falls. As we strolled along the boardwalk and watched fisherman wade to the edge of the pools of cool water, the area reminded us of a scene from “Swiss Family Robinson.” More accurately, the “Swiss Family Robinson” attraction at Disney World, but I digress.
Since there were several places to get off the boardwalk, I took a hike over the rocks to see if I could get closer to the falls on the eastern side of the river, which appeared to be bigger, and thus, more spectacular. However, I discovered other streams of rushing water that seemed to overflow the rocks, which made passage a bit more difficult than I had initially anticipated. That’s when I prudently decided the adventure part was over and settled into the appreication part of the visit.
We met other couples, and several pets, as we walked the loop around the island. Some were simply enjoying being outdoors on a pretty day, while others were studying the tiny plant life which was just starting to bloom.
If you’re looking for a nice day trip to enjoy a day, it will be hard to beat Sandstone Falls, which just may be West Virginia’s finest!