Blackwater River: Canaan Valley, Upper, and Lower Sections Professional Review and Guide
"The Blackwater River has its headwaters in a vast upland swamp in Canaan Valley. Multiple branches funnel the 150-square-mile drainage basin into 2 main forks, which pass through the nineteenth-century logging capitals of Davis and Thomas. Here they leap off the mountain as falls, each 50 feet high. This is the beginning of a relentless rush through a steep canyon to the Dry Fork, 8 miles and 1,000 feet below. Both falls, the one preserved by a state park and the other on the North Fork, are worth seeing.
The waters of the Blackwater are non-silted, brown, and covered with suds, a form of natural pollution noted since the days of Thomas Lewis. This 1746 explorer appropriately called this stream the “River Styx.” The dark color is attributed to organic acids from the upland swamps leaching iron oxides from the red shale that lines the riverbed. There have been extensive efforts on the North Fork of the Blackwater to reclaim areas damaged by mining."