Scenic USA - West Virginia

Brush Creek Valley

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Brush Creek Valley - Athens, West Virginia

Photos by Karen Stuebing
Karen Stuebing Photography

   Closing out the southern tip of the state, West Virginia’s New River-Greenbriar Region is noted for its deep dramatic gorges, swift flowing rivers and a rich cultural heritage. Brush Creek Falls - Athens, West Virginia Three national parks, a host of state parks and two national byways are spread throughout the area. Bridge jumping at the New River Gorge, whitewater rafting on the Gauley River, or a day of golf at the old Oakhurst Links (some of the region’s busiest recreation sites) may overshadow this area’s smaller wonders.
   Although limited in size, the Brush Creek Preserve is a marvelous day outing most anytime of year. Home to the largest waterfall in the region, Windflower - West Virginia wildflower Brush Creek drops 25 feet as it nears the Bluestone River, creating a wonderful photo opportunity. Acquired by the Nature Conservancy in the 80s, the preserve covers 130 acres. Brush Creek Valley is accentuated by dramatic sandstone cliffs, sometimes carpeted in springtime wildflowers, other times brightened by autumn's foliage and its stillness broken by the flitter of migratory warblers.
   A land that was once a hub of activity, the imprints of woolen mills and the timber industry of Brush Creek Valley have faded over time. Today, the nature preserve protects rare trees and shrubs, including Canby's mountain-lover, the Canada yew and shale barren onion. This chilly scene, capturing the Brush Creek Valley on a crisp sunny day, suggests that great things sometimes come in small packages.

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