Located in the mountains of Pocahontas County and featuring gorgeous views, Watoga State Park is a must-visit. This lovely West Virginian Park offers RV-friendly campgrounds and many recreational activities.
The history of Watoga State Park dates back to when it was home to Native Americans before the land was used as a wildlife and timber preserve. A lot of the work done in the early days of the park was completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The park was opened in July 1937, and its name is derived from the Cherokee word for “starry waters.” If you want to learn more about the history of the park, you can check out the on-site CCC Museum.
The park is huge, covering over 10,000 acres, which makes it the largest State Park in all of West Virginia. Known as a year-round destination, the park has many different environments for you to explore, including forested areas, a multitude of trails, and the Watoga Lake. There really is something for everyone, including boating, hunting, swimming, fishing, biking, and geocaching. The state park also touts a multi-purpose building, a museum, and an observation tower.
Watoga State Park is a great place to relax in the solitude of nature, whether you want to listen to the cascading waters of the Greenbrier River, enjoy a scenic meal at the Mountain Picnic Area, or take a dip in the park's outdoor swimming pool. RV lovers will have a choice between two different campgrounds to call home during their stay: Beaver Creek Campground and Riverside Campground. Watoga State Park is open all year round.
Watoga State Park is located in eastern West Virginia near the border with Virginia. While the park isn't in a totally remote location, you will have to drive at least 30 minutes in order to reach any of the closest towns. If you need to get any supplies before your trip you can stop in Renick, which is 23 miles away, or Covington, which is 53 miles away. The closest city to Watoga State Park, Lynchburg, VA, is about 125 miles to the southeast. If you are looking for more outdoor adventure, you can head to Seneca State Forest, which is located in the same county.
Although the drive into the park is quite long all of the roads in and around it are kept in very good condition. If you have a larger RV you may have trouble navigating the steep hills and switchbacks, but they can be conquered. During the wintertime, the area is known to get very high snowfalls so you may not be able to access the park. Check out weather and road conditions before you begin your journey.
You will most likely want to park your RV at your chosen campsite. If you are looking for parking there are many places available, including at the Dragon Draft trail, the Ann Bailey Trailhead, and at the Beaver Creek Campground near the softball field.
Riverside Campground is the largest campground at Watoga State Park and is a great choice for visitors wanting to be close to the Greenbrier River. The campground has 50 campsites, 38 of which offer electrical hookups. Each site features a picnic table and grill.
Other amenities in the campground include two bathhouses, laundry facilities, a dishwashing station, water collection points, a playground, and a dump station. The campground is also pet-friendly but dogs must be kept on a leash at all times. Cell phone reception can be a bit spotty here. The campground is open from April until December.
While Beaver Creek Campground is smaller, it's a great choice for visitors wanting to stay in a wooded campground. Here you will find 38 RV-friendly campsites, 12 of which are equipped with electrical hookups. Most sites at Beaver Creek are more suited to smaller RVs; however, a few sites can fit rigs up to 60 feet long.
All sites at the Beaver Creek Campground come equipped with picnic tables and grills. Other amenities in the campground include a bathhouse, a coin-operated laundry facility, water collection points, and a playground. The campground is also pet-friendly, but dogs must be kept on a leash at all times. Keep in mind that you might not get cell phone reception here. Beaver Creek Campground is open from the spring until the fall.
In case you want a change from the RV, Watoga State Park also offers 34 cabins that can be reserved online. The cabins range from cozy studio cabins suitable for two all the way up to a four-bedroom that can accommodate eight people. All cabins have their own bathrooms and full kitchens so they are ready for you to call home during your stay.
In the winter months, Watoga State Park offers visitors the chance to see some breathtaking beauty in the form of frozen waterfalls and snow-covered mountains. Snowshoeing is an ideal and inexpensive way to enjoy the wonderful hiking trails at Watoga State Park. Ice fishing is also an option for guests interested in partaking in the recreational opportunities of this winter wonderland. If you are looking for even more fun in the snow, you can go cross-country skiing on the snow-covered hills within the park.
Watoga State Park offers exceptional fishing for keen anglers visiting the park. You have the option of fishing in the man-made, 11-acre Watoga Lake or out on the Greenbrier River. Watoga Lake is popular for trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish are stocked in the lake. Remember that a West Virginia fishing license is required if you want to try and land a big one. If the lake or river freezes over, you can try your luck at ice fishing.
Geocaching is an outdoor adventure that can be enjoyed year-round at Watoga State Park where you use GPS coordinates to find hidden geocaches. Geocaches usually contain a logbook or small trinkets inside. There are 20 different geocaches hidden within Watoga State Park, so you will have plenty of options for exploring during your visit to the park. Please note that the prizes may not always be active, so make sure you talk to park staff about the current geocaching before you head out of the campervan.
Those interested in boating will find wonderful opportunities on Watoga Lake. Boats with electric motors are permitted, so you can cruise to your heart's content on the lake's 11 acres. If you want to go paddling, rentals for kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and paddleboats are available from Memorial Day through Labor Day. For those looking for boating adventures on the Greenbrier River, use caution as it is a free-flowing river.
There is no better way to cool off during the warm summer days at Watoga State Park than by going for a swim. Watoga State Park has a large, solar-heated, outdoor swimming pool that is available for you to enjoy. The pool is open every day from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Watoga State Park is an ideal place for RV guests who are fond of nature hikes. The park has a variety of hiking trails that range from beginner level to advanced. For those looking for a short trail, check out the Arrowhead Trail. This two-mile, pet-friendly trail is appropriate for hikers of all skill levels. For something longer, try the Bear Pen Run Trail to Buck and Doe Trail. This moderate ten-mile trail will take you through tranquil old wood forests.