Olson Tower/Blackwater Canyon


The Olson Tower/Blackwater Canyon area is located in the Cheat Ranger District of the Monongahela National Forest.  The highlight of this area is that it includes the Blackwater River and views of the canyon.  Waterfalls, sweeping vistas and isolated hiking punctuate the experience.  There are three trails here that total over nineteen miles.  The longest trail is the Blackwater Canyon Trail that is an old rail grade.  It goes from Thomas to Hendrix dropping through the canyon for twelve miles and 1200 vertical feet.  


Olson Tower/Blackwater Canyon is located in Northeast West Virginia, west of Canaan Valley State Park, near Davis, WV.  Google directions below take you to the trail head near Douglas Falls, south of Thomas, WV.  There are also trailheads along Forest Road 18 and 717 (Olson Tower).  


Backpacking, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Skiing


(Office) Cheat Ranger District. PO Box 368, Parsons, WV 26287. On US Route 219 just east of Parsons.


304-478-3251 (Voice & TDD), 304-636-1800 – Mon. National Forest

Web resources:



  • “Monongahela National Forest Hiking Guide”
  • “Out There West Virginia A Guide to Backcountry Travel and Adventure”
  • “West Virginia Hiking Trails”

Loading map.

Share your experience

The details of this page are driven by our community. Have something to add? Questions? Photos? Post here so everyone can benefit.