Watoga State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Located in the mountains of Pocahontas County on the Greenbrier River, this park is just 14 miles south of Marlington, West Virginia. This massive 10,100-acre park is the largest state park in West Virginia. This park offers stunning views and a multitude of recreational opportunities for guests.

Watoga State Park dates back to land acquisitions made by the state of West Virginia in the 1920’s. Prior to its life as a state park, Watoga State Park was designated as a wildlife and timber preserve.

Watoga State Park, which derives its name from the Cherokee word for “starry waters,” offers guests year-round relaxation and recreational activities. The park offers fishing opportunities in the Greenbrier River and the 11-acre Watoga Lake. Paddle boats, row boats, canoes, and kayaks are available for rent between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend.

Watoga State Park first opened in July of 1937. The first camping area opened in Watoga State Park in 1953. Recreational use of the are increased in the 60s and 70s requiring expansion of camping options.

Watoga State Park currently offers 34 cabins and camping in two campgrounds. The state park also touts a multipurpose building, a museum, and an observation tower.

RV Rentals in Watoga State Park

Transportation in Watoga State Park

Driving

Watoga State Park is located off of US-219 N/N. Guests will turn onto Seebert Rd. Seebert Rd. becomes County Rte 27/3/Seebert River Rd. Guests will travel through dense forest, past Watoga Lake, and turn let onto Watoga Park Rd. The park office will be on the guest's left.

Parking

Parking spaces are available across from the Dragon Draft trail, at the Ann Bailey Trailhead, and at the Beaver Creek Campground near the softball field.

Public Transport

There is no public transportation available within the park.

Campgrounds and parking in Watoga State Park

Campsites in Watoga State Park

Reservations camping

Riverside Campground

Guests to Watoga State Park will enjoy this tranquil wooded campground. Nestled beside lovely Greenbrier River in Pocahontas County West Virginia, Riverside Campground offers 50 camping sites. This area is popular among outdoor enthusiast with fishing, boating, hiking, biking, and horseback riding readily available. Open from April to October, this campground offers 38 sites with electric hookups for campers visiting Watoga State Park.

All sites in this campground include picnic tables and grills. There is a centralized bathhouse with coin-operated laundry and dish-washing stations.

Reservations are accepted between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It should be noted that camp sites are provided on a first come/first serve basis after Labor Day.

Rustic Cabins

In case you want a change from the RV, Watoga State Park also offers 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.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Watoga State Park

In-Season

Hiking

Watoga State Park, the largest of West Virginia's parks is an ideal place for guests fond of nature hikes. The park touts a variety of hiking trails. Watoga State Park's popular hiking trails include:

Honeymoon Trail:

This seven mile out-and-back trail is nestled amid a mature hardwood forest. The Honeymoon Trail is rated moderate and is ideal for hiking and trail running. Pets are welcome on this trail but must be maintained on a leash.

Arrowhead Trail:

This two-mile out and back trail is appropriate for hikers of all skill levels. Pets are welcome on this trail but must be kept on a leash.

Bear Pen Run Trail to Buck and Doe Trail:

This moderately rated ten-mile out and back trail is an ideal trail for hiking and trail running for guests attracted to tranquil old wood forests.

Fishing

Watoga State Park offers exceptional fishing and boating on the man-made 11-acre Lake Watoga. There is also river fishing available on Greenbrier River. This quiet, idyllic spot makes fishing one of the most popular recreational options in Watoga State Park. The solitude of the area is maintained as only trolling motors are allowed, affording fishermen the opportunity for a tranquil fishing experience.

Trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish are stocked in the lake. Trout are stocked January through Memorial Day and can be found in cool spots along the lake well into the summer months. Golden Rainbow Trout only are stocked in early April making this a special opportunity for fisherman to catch the "Golden Rainbow."

It should be noted that a West Virginia fishing license is required. Guests may also be intrigued to try ice fishing in the winter month. Although guests should note that the park does not monitor ice conditions, so care should be taken when ice fishing.

Swimming and boating

Watoga State Park offers water sports for outdoor enthusiasts. The park offers outdoor swimming in a large solar heated swimming pool. The pool is open on weekends from Memorial Day Saturday through Labor Day weekend. From mid June through mid August the pool is open from 11 am to 6 pm Tuesday through Sunday.

Those interested in boating will find wonderful opportunities on Watoga Lake. Personal boats are allowed on the lake. Remember, however, that motors are restricted to electric, trolling motors. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day the park rents out paddle boats, row boats, canoes, and kayaks for a nominal fee to those interested in trying adding a fun and relaxing time on the water to their outing. .

Off-Season

Geocaching

Geocaching is an outdoor adventure that can be enjoyed year-round. It is an activity that many guests to Watoga State Park may not be aware of. There are two geocaches hidden within the massive Watoga State Park.

For those who don’t know, geocaching is an outdoor adventure similar to treasure hunting. Guests enter locations into their GPS device or cell phone. Satellites are used to help guests locate hidden containers, referred to as geocaches. Geocaches offer an array of small trinkets, some thematic in nature, that guests can trade. Geocaching can be enjoyed by guests of all ages and is a simple way to involve the family in a group outdoor activity.

Ann Brailey's Lookout Tower

Guests can take the Arrowhead Trail to Ann Bailey Lookout Tower. Stunning mountain views await those who climb to the top of this rustic lookout.

Ann Bailey was a storyteller and frontier scout. She joined the militia after the death of her first husband, Richard Trotter. Richard was killed in a skirmish with the Shawnee at the Battle of Point Pleasant. After his death, Ann joined the militia and became a scout and courier. The Shawnee named her “Mad Ann.” She was credited with single-handedly saving Fort Lee in 1791 after making a 100-mile ride through the wilderness to obtain much needed ammunition.

Snowshoeing and Ice Fishing

In the winter, Watoga State Park offers breathtaking beauty with frozen waterfalls and snow-covered mountains. The forest sparkles with delicate icicles clinging to rock ledges and swaying from emerald pines. Snowshoeing is an ideal and inexpensive way to enjoy the wonderful hiking trails at Watoga State Park in the winter time. Ice fishing is also an option for guests interested in partaking in the recreational opportunities of this winter wonderland.

Guests can also enjoy cross-country skiing and tubing in the snow-covered hills of West Virginia. Guests can return from a day of fun in the sparkling winter landscape to snuggle in front of the fireplaces within the rustic cabins at Watoga State Park.

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