Mill Creek Falls is a 20-foot waterfall in the area of the New River Gorge in southern West Virginia. Downstream of the falls, the creek flows into the New River. It’s a roadside waterfall that is easy to reach and see, although it does require a little bit of a scramble to get to the bottom for the best views.
The New River Gorge is filled with scenic beauty, including many waterfalls. Even with a lot of other great locations in the area, Mill Creek Falls is a favorite for many photographers. While it is not a high waterfall at only about 20 feet, it is rather picturesque. The waterfall separates into two separate falls, divided by a rock outcropping. Unfortunately, there is some graffiti on a rock above the falls, which I removed in Photoshop.
The scramble to the bottom is not too bad if you take your time and go carefully, and if you want the best view you’ll really need to get to the bottom. At the bottom is a rocky area that you can walk around on and get the angle that you would like. When I was there in October the water level was low, so there was plenty of room to walk around on the rocks without even getting your feet wet. That may be different when the water level is a little higher.
Cascades on Mill Creek
Although the waterfall is nice, there are some cascades a short distance upstream that were actually of more interest to me. The cascades also had a rocky area at the bottom, so I was able to rock hop and get several different views. I was able to cross over to the other side and get a nice view of the cascades from up close. You’ll also have to scramble down a little ways to reach the cascades, but again, it’s not too bad if you’re careful. Just be sure that you are wearing shoes or boots with good grip, and be careful on the slippery rocks at the bottom.
Getting to Mill Creek Falls
Mill Creek Falls is very easy to reach (probably one of the reasons it is popular). The falls are located just outside the boundaries of Hawks Nest State Park, and Hawks Nest Road runs right along the side of the creek. There isn’t a parking lot for the falls, but there is plenty of room to pull off to the side of the road and park. The rail trail is on the opposite side of the creek.
The approximate GPS coordinates of the waterfall are: 38.125140, -81.107548
The approximate GPS coordinates of the cascades upstream are: 38.127869, -81.106605
What to Take With You
Anytime you’re photographing a waterfall or cascades you’ll want to have a tripod for stability and to get sharp photos. A circular polarizer will help to cut the glare from the water and the rocks around the falls. Optionally, you may also want to have a neutral density filter to slow down the shutter speed and get a blurred look for the water. If you have them, I would also recommend taking some waterproof boots or waders, unless you’re going in warm weather and you don’t mind getting your feet wet. I actually didn’t need to get in the water, but that was partly because the water level was so low.
Also in the Area
The New River Gorge has many excellent locations to photograph. We’ve covered several of them in other posts on the blog:
- Photographing Overlooks of the New River Gorge
- Photographing Sandstone Falls
- Photographing the Glade Creek Grist Mill in Babcock State Park
- Photographing Dunloup Falls
Here are a few more photos of the cascades.