Although it feels like it has been hot and muggy for some time, the “official” first day of summer – ie. the Summer Solstice – is tomorrow. I remember as a kid being flabbergasted to learn that the first day of summer was in late June, not the day we got out of school, which seemed to make the most sense at the time. Then to learn that the Summer Solstice was the longest day of the year, and that they got shorter from here, was another mind-blower. This knowledge also cast an “it’s all downhill from here” rain cloud over my head as I realized this would be the most time all summer I could spend outside. That rain cloud lasted about .25 seconds, because of course I had have the attention span of a gnat. So it’s the first day of summer: what do you do? Go swimming of course.

We publish our annual swimming holes guide every summer, picking our favorite spots to take a dip from up and down the Blue Ridge. This year, we selected the most scenic swimming holes and West Virginia’s Brush Creek Falls certainly fits that description. Brush Creek Falls is the highlight of Brush Creek Preserve, a 125-acre tract of land owned and protected by The Nature Conservancy. The 25-foot waterfall stretches the width of the river inside a sandstone gorge near the mouth of the Bluestone River. Work up a sweat before taking a dip by hiking the Bluestone River Gorge on the Canyon Rim Trail in Pipestem Resort State Park.

To get there take I-77 to exit 14. Go west off the exit, then turn left on Eads Mill Road to Brush Creek Falls Road which will lead to the Brush Creek Preserve. Then follow the half-mile trail to the falls.


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