Tomlinson Run State Park covers nearly 1,400 acres of heavily forested hills in the northern panhandle of West Virginia. It was originally the site of several grist mills in the 1800s but was purchased by the state at some point in the 1930s. It first opened as a state park in 1940 and has become more and more popular as more amenities have been built. This is a fantastic campground for RV campers who like to keep busy. There are a number of hiking trails that meander through the trees and cliffs that sit between Ohio and Pennsylvania, enticing hikers and nature lovers. Along with the natural beauty of the forested hills, there are several man-made amenities to entertain campervan visitors. The swimming pool boasts a waterslide, a bathhouse, and a snack bar, and both a disc golf course and a miniature golf course have been built here. In the west of the state park, nestled in the Shepherd’s Valley area, is the 30-acre Tomlinson Run Lake. The marina by this beautiful body of water offers paddleboat and rowboats for rent, and the state ensures that the fishing is good here by stocking the waterways with golden trout and the lake itself with catfish.
The campgrounds at Tomlinson Run State Park are situated in the far north of West Virginia, in between Ohio to the west and Pennsylvania to the east. It is just over a mile northwest of the nearest town, which is the small town of New Manchester, WV. The easiest route to take to reach the park is Highway 8, also known as Veteran’s Boulavard. While the road is somewhat narrow and has a few curves, they are all fairly wide and should be fairly easy to navigate even if you are driving a big rig or towing a trailer. The turn into the park is easy to spot, and is well-paved, although it does remain narrow, and there are a number of twists and turns which may require some more challenging navigation, particularly for the interior sites, but once you reach your site it should be both roomy and level. There are several areas in which to park your rig temporarily through out the park; there are large parking lots both near the swimming pool and near the marina by Tomlinson Run Lake.
Tomlinson Run State Park Campground has 44 RV campsites available for reservation, 39 of which are equipped with electric hookups. If you are driving a larger rig, check your reservations carefully. Only 15 of the sites are large enough for RVs or trailers from 30 to 40 feet in length and just three of these will accommodate a rig from 40 to 50 feet. Reservations must be made at least seven days in advance of your visit with a two-day minimum and a 14-day maximum stay.
Each of the sites has a large level area of grass and gravel and comes with a fire ring, grill, and picnic table. Restrooms are scattered throughout the campgrounds, and three modern bathhouses with showers are available for campers. Laundry facilities and a sanitary dump site are available near the store in the north part of the campgrounds. Generator use is allowed during the day, but must be silenced during the campground’s quiet hours of 10 PM to 6 AM. This campground does allow dogs and cats, but they must be restrained by a ten-foot or shorter leash. Pets are not allowed in the swimming pool area and must be kept under control and cleaned up after.
Fishing enthusiasts will want to ensure that their gear is packed in their trailer, as there are many opportunities to catch their dinner here at Tomlinson Run State Park. The park boasts several small waterways that are stocked with trout in the early spring, as well as a 30-acre lake that hosts more trout, as well as bass, bluegill, catfish, and sunfish. Campers who haven’t brought their boat with them can either fish from the shore, or rent a rowboat from the marina.
Miniature golf can provide a fun diversion from life on the road and Tomlinson Run State Park is one of the few state park campgrounds with a miniature golf course on the grounds. The course, which is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, is a fun way to spend an afternoon and a good way to let the kids blow off a little steam. The course is frequently closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, even during the peak season, so if you are planning on enjoying this amenity, you will want to plan your trip accordingly.
Tomlinson Run Lake is a 30-acre lake in the Shepherd’s Valley region of the park. The scenery is absolutely stunning and it is a very popular place for not just anglers, but also for pleasure boaters. If you have towed your boat with you, the gentle slope to the water’s edge makes it easy to get it in the water. If you don’t have your own boat, the marina offers both paddleboats and rowboats for rental, although they may be closed during the coldest months.
There are around eight or so lovely hiking trails that wind through the wilderness in the Tomlinson Run State Park. Some of the trails, such as the Beech Trail, are moderate hikes along stunning sandstone and shale cliffs. While these trails are excellent for the seasoned hikers, they may be too much for the novice and aren’t appropriate for small children. Other trails, like the Laural Trail Loop and the White Oak Trail, are somewhat easier to navigate for the less seasoned hiker. This area does have a high number of ticks compared to other areas. Be sure to check your pant legs carefully when you return to your trailer. If you have your canine companion with you, be sure that they are up to date on their flea and tick medications, and check them thoroughly as well.
The disc golf course located at Tomlinson Run State Park is popular with both locals and visitors. It is a 6,100-foot, 18-hole course with chainstar targets that wraps around some of the other activities. The front nine holes are situated on accessible, level terrain that goes clockwise around the swimming pool, making it suitable for novices and experts alike. The back nine are somewhat more challenging as they follow some of the more historic sections of the park, as well as meandering through the woods, finally finishing near the miniature golf course. The back nine may be too challenging for beginners to the game, but it may be worthwhile to give it a shot just to see the scenery.
Hiking isn't the only way to explore the park. If you're packing your bike in your trailer then Tomlinson Run State Park is a perfect destination. There are miles of trails to explore for riders of all experience levels. The Big Foot Trail is an especially scenic route with gorgeous views of the lake and the beach. The Laurel Trail is the longest and provides a bit of a challenge while cursing through the woods. If you are looking for a quick, easy ride that goes past a bubbling stream, check out the Fern Trail.