High Falls

Fast water meets soft rock with excellent effect here on the Shavers Fork of the Cheat River. It’s four or five times wider than the average width of the river and it has an arc of at least 120 degrees. Very impressive. The cause is likely shale from the New River formation resting under harder sandstone. The river works its way into the softer rock and erodes it faster than the sandstone above — similar to the process at Wonder Fall. With the support of the underlying rock gone, the sandstone collapses.

The fall is eight to ten feet high and the water is deep enough for jumping. There’s virtually no place to sit below the fall on the near side. Just a cobble beach. Plenty of good seating on the opposite shore where the soft rock is so deeply undercut that a roof extends 10 feet over a ledge. Also, when water is low there’s plenty of room to kick back above on the smooth, flat sandstone.

A stair leads down to the river from some train tracks that are maintained for rail excursions. The former Maryland Western and abandoned railroads like it have been taken over by tour operators providing rail junkets throughout the Monongahela National Forest.

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