Douthat State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Whether you are a history buff or just looking for breathtaking scenery, Douthat State Park is for you. Located in the Allegheny Mountains of Virginia and encompassing 7 square miles of land, Douthat was one of the first state parks in the nation and laid the groundwork for many others across America.

This state park is open year-round and is the perfect destination for any family vacation. While at Douthat, you get the best of both worlds, seeing the beautiful mountains stretch upwards to the sky and a massive 50-acre lake. You're able to explore two vastly different settings while camping in one state park, an experience you don't often come across.

After choosing from one of the 87 RV sites you can take part in one of the many nature programs offered, venture out on the mountain trails, or relax at the lake and swim, fish, and boat. Other places to check out within Douthat State Park include the bathhouse, Douthat Lakeview Restaurant, and the Discovery Center area. Although you may not be sure what you want to do first, one thing that is for sure is that there will be plenty to do during your RV trip to Virginia.

RV Rentals in Douthat State Park

Transportation in Douthat State Park

Driving

Located a few miles north of Clifton Forge, Douthat State Park is easy to locate, especially with all the available resources online or using GPS. Several parking areas are available along the main Douthat State Park Road and throughout the park, but some of the roads are narrow and there are a few tight turns. They may be a little difficult to navigate if you have a big rig, so many people choose to tow an extra vehicle. Towing an extra vehicle also makes it easy to get from the campgrounds to other areas in the park including the lake and picnic shelters. Depending on what campground you are camping in you may have to cross over a little bridge, but this won't apply to all visitors. It's recommended to go slow and steady on the roads so don't try to rush or make very sharp turns. Many visitors choose to bring mountain bikes with them to get around the park and explore the trails. Scooters can also be a fun way to explore, although they should not be taken on many of the trails due to the terrain.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Douthat State Park

Campsites in Douthat State Park

Reservations camping

Whispering Pines Campground (D)

Whispering Pines Campground is made up of 23 sites with electricity and water hookups. Located just off the main road, all 23 sites are available for reservation ahead of time, but they usually stay pretty booked, so don't expect to find one available if you don't reserve one. Whispering Pines Campground is at the opposite end of the park than Beaver Dam Campground, and just a short distance from White Oak Campground. Even though this campground is one of the farthest from the lake and several other points of interest, it's a popular destination for RV vacationers, especially families, because it can accommodate RVs up to 50 feet and has a playground nearby. Many visitors find the roads within Whispering Pines Campground easy to maneuver since they are mostly straight and level. Several Trails can also be accessed from Whispering Pines Campground, including the Allegheny Highlands Multi-use Equestrian State Trail. Since no sewer hookups are available at this campground there is a conveniently located dump station for you to use. You can make reservations up to 11 months ahead of time.

White Oak Campground (C)

Reservations cannot be made at this campground.

Beaver Dam Campground (B)

Beaver Dam Campground has considerably fewer sites, only 14, but they all have water and electricity hookups. Beaver Dam Campground also has dump stations, showers, and toilets available that are well-maintained and easy to access. The campground is on the border of the park and close to the cabins and lodges, but still offers plenty of privacy and serenity. This campground is especially popular with equestrians because 14 covered stalls are also available to rent at the campground, although they are rented separately from the campsites. All of the sites can be reserved in advance, and if you want to stay here it's recommended you make your reservation early. Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance. The maximum RV and trailer length for this campground is 40 feet. If you aren't camping with a horse, you can still stay at this campground but you would probably prefer either White Oak Campground or Whispering Pines Campground because you won't be near all of the horse smells and sounds.

Lakeside Campground (A)

The campsites at Lakeside Campground are not able to be reserved on a site specific basis.

First-come first-served

Whispering Pines Campground (D)

The campsites that are not reserved are available on a first-come, first-served basis. However, this campground usually stays pretty booked, so try to make your reservations early if you want to stay here.

White Oak Campground (C)

White Oak Campground is a popular spot for RV vacationers, offering 31 RV sites with water and electricity hookups and gravel parking spurs. The campground is less than two miles from the lake and is in close proximity to multiple trails. The campsites at this campground are available on a first-come first-served basis, so even though you may not get your first choice you will likely still be able to find one when you arrive. If it's important to pick out a specific campsite, you may want to opt for one of the campgrounds that allow a reservations, such as Whispering Pines. Like the other campgrounds, no generator use is allowed at White Oak Campground and no sewer hookups are available, but there are dump stations and flush toilets. Each campsite also has a grill where you can cook or build a campfire. Firewood is available within the park and only firewood purchased from the park should be used. The maximum RV length for this campground is 40 feet.

Beaver Dam Campground (B)

Campsites that are not reserved are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but there is no guarantee that any will be available when you arrive.

Lakeside Campground (A)

The Lakeside Campground is exactly where you'd expect it to be, beside Douthat Lake. It offers 19 campsites and can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in length, but no water or electricity hookups are available. You can use the water spigots and dump station located nearby. You'll have convenient access to showers and restrooms. Plus you'll enjoy the picnic table and fire ring located at your site.

If you want to use electricity this probably isn't the best campground for you because generator use is also not allowed in the park. However, if you're up for a more primitive camping experience and want awe-inspiring views of the lake, this campground is ideal. The campground is a very short walk from the lake, the boat ramp and fishing pier. If you want a lakeside campsite get there early because they are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Douthat State Park

In-Season

Exploring the Waterfalls

There are two waterfalls located within Douthat State Parks on the nature trails. They are especially beautiful after a good summer rain, so you'll want to make sure you pack your camera in your camper. Located at the southern end of the park on the four-mile Stony Run Trail is a breathtaking waterfall that you can't miss. The other waterfall is located on the Blue Suck Falls Trail. Both make a great resting spot or photo op in the middle of a difficult trek. Many visitors also find it very relaxing to listen to the water cascading down the waterfall into the river below.

Boating

A boat ramp is available near Lakeside Campground and is free to use for any overnight guests. There are also boat rentals nearby so you don't have to worry about hauling your canoe or kayak in your RV. No gas-powered boats are allowed on the lake, but funyaks and Jon boats, with and without electric motors, can be rented during the in season. Hydro bikes and paddle boards are available to rent as well, so when it comes to spending a day at the lake you have almost endless recreation options.

Dining at the Lakeview Restaurant

If you plan your RV trip to Douthat State Park during the summer you may be lucky enough to get seated at the full-service restaurant overlooking the lake. Visitors love that you can get great quality food while enjoying the exceptional views of the lake from the comfort of an air-conditioned restaurant. The restaurant hours are a little funky though, and change depending on what time of year it is, so make sure you plan ahead and visit when the restaurant is open.

Off-Season

Horseback Riding

Six miles of the Allegheny Highlands Multi-use Equestrian State Trail passes through the park. This is the only trail available for horseback riders, but it's a moderate trail that provides lots of opportunities to soak in the scenery and wildlife around you. The trail takes you from one end of the park to the other and loops back around, making it the longest of all the trails available and a favorite of many visitors. So if you're dying to get on horseback during your RV trip, this is the trail for you.

Fishing

After obtaining a valid Virginia freshwater fishing license and ensuring that you're following all of the rules laid out, including obtaining a daily fishing permit when required, you can head over to the fishing pier to see what you can catch. The lake is stocked from November through March and common catches include rainbow trout, brown trout, bass, and catfish. There is even a special spot for children, so fishermen of all ages can enjoy casting their lines out on the lake.

Hiking & Biking

Over 40 miles of trails are laid out in the park for hikers and bikers to enjoy. They vary in length and difficulty, but obtaining the trail guide is a great way to learn more about them and decide which trail to take. If you are looking for a short, beginner route, the Buck Lick Trail is one of the easier trails, measuring less than a half mile and lacking any difficult terrain. For those looking for something more adventurous, you can attempt to tackle the strenuous Stony Run.

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