Tag Archives: marr branch

The Marr Branch Challenge

So, Marr Branch is one of the better known and easier accessed falls in the New River Gorge. Just drive along Fayette Station Road and you will find it up toward the top of the hill. It’s got some very nice characteristics and great photography potential.

It’s down in the lower reaches that you might encounter some difficulties. It’s a pretty dangerous place, as are a lot of the falls when you have to climb to see them. It’s not well traveled so there is no real trail.

Jim Kearns and myself traveled to West Virginia last weekend to climb the mountainous terrain of Lower Marr Branch. Another friend, CB Sypolt asked to join in the fun, so we met at the visitor center and traveled down into the New River gorge. We parked at the river access area and began the hike west on the railroad tracks to the base of Marr Branch.

I had heard of and seen some shots from afar of the lower part of Marr Branch over the years and it was indeed a bucket list item. The upper falls on this lower section look very large and challenging. Challenge is the right word for this run as well. Very rocky with some big boulders all over the place, not to mention downed trees and small growth. And while not exactly what I would call a bushwhack, it is, as I said before, quite challenging. If you decide to go here, please bring someone with you in case you need a rescue or even just need help climbing over some of the obstructions here.

I didn’t make it more than 1/2 the way up but was content with my perch as I witnessed Jim and Chris fighting to make it to the top. Here’s one of Jim’s shots from their upper perch which doesn’t really show how big this area is, but is quite pretty and was worth his time for sure. For perspective, that straight drop in the top left of center is probably at least 30 feet. Getting to it is iffy.

Meanwhile, back down the run a bit, I stood by a small tree which actually had a pretty nice view of the upper falls. I just had to clear out a bit of branches and vines so that the camera frame was clear. Not too much trouble. The spot was rather clear and somewhat flat with lots of room for the tripod, so I was content.

You can see Jim and Chris in the shot above. That uppermost fall is at least 30′ and probably more, but the access is sketchy. Maybe some of you more ambitious and younger guys can get up there, but this is no country for old men. LOL

Here’s a shot of what you will see when you come upon Marr Branch just at the railroad tracks. Not a bad looking waterfall. About 20+ feet but it falls into a hole where it goes under the tracks and they have heavy steel “I” beams pounded into the ground there making it difficult to make a nice image. It’s basically a construction site where they are taking care of retention and drainage.

All in all, a good hike and worth the effort. We spent about five hours door to door. Glad to knock one off the bucket list, and even though I took a tumble in among the rocks, I came out basically in tact with only a few scrapes and not much blood.