Jenny Wiley State Park is located on the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains in the state of Kentucky. It was named after Virginia Jenny Wiley, who had been taken captive by Native American Indians in October 1789 but managed to escape in the spring of 1790. Her story is now a well-told tale of early American life in the frontier.
The state park covers an area of over 2,800 acres with around 1,100 acres comprising Dewey Lake, making the park a great location to rent an RV and go camping in the countryside.
The terrain here is mountainous and sparsely populated, giving a real sense of wilderness, particularly noted when RV camping in the Jenny Wiley State Park. The nearest community to this state park is Prestonsburg, a small town with limited facilities. The nearest two large cities are Huntington, WV and Charleston, WV, both to the north of the park around an hour and a half and two hours respectfully.
When you search for an RV in Jenny Wiley State Park, you will be studying a fantastic area for a family vacation. Located in a mountainous area, the state park has a wealth of activities to keep the whole family happy.
With Dewey Lake at its heart, the park is fantastic for getting out and enjoying the water. Boating is extremely popular, and you’ll find four launching ramps and boat rental if you don’t have your own. Fishing is also very popular with bass, bluegill, catfish and crappie all well-stocked in Dewey Lake. If you don’t have any fishing gear, no problem. The park has free gear that you can borrow!
This state park has a number of short trails for you to explore, taking you past many species of trees and giving you the opportunity of spotting some of the wildlife that call this area home. Elk were once common in the area but had vanished from here for some 150 years, before their release back into the park in 1997. Now with a protected status and conservation efforts, the Elk are alive and well. The park organizes regular Elk tours, and if you are interested in joining in, contact the park office for details.
A Nature Center on the edge of Dewey Lake provide numerous displays explaining the natural and cultural significance of the area, and the many uses the land was put to including coal mining. Near to the nature center, is the Jenny Wiley amphitheater that showcases regular performances of music and the performing arts.
Although swimming is allowed in the lake, there’s also a large swimming pool open from Memorial Day through to mid-August. The kids will also love the playgrounds that are located throughout the park, and the adults will enjoy having a family get-together at the picnic tables and grill stands.
Camping at Jenny Wiley State Park
Jenny Wiley State Park offers great camping with an RV rental. The campground offers 121 sites with utility hookups, washrooms with hot showers, a grocery store, and a dump station. Pets are welcome in the campground if they are well-behaved. You will also find a laundry facility for your convenience and comfort.
The campground is close to the edge of Dewey Lake. So if you are feeling a little more adventurous, the park offers boat-in only campsites, that can only be reached by water. Definitely a great get-away from it all!
Exploring the Area
Prestonsburg is the nearest small town, some two miles away on Levisa Fork, and is easily reached in your RV rental from Jenny Wiley State Park. Being a small town, it does offer a number of gas stations, a selection of restaurants, and limited shopping.
In the town, you’ll find the East Kentucky Science Center and Planetarium. This great facility gives you an insight into the way the planets of our solar system interact and enthralls you with light and music shows that will leave you dazzled!
Built in 1817, Samuel May House is now a living history museum, charting the lives of people in the area from the early settlers to current times. The building is important from a historical point of view as the owner, Samuel May, was a prominent local businessmen and politician. It’s also important due to its construction techniques, using local ground freshwater mussel shells to make the lime that bonds the clay bricks.
A few miles north of the park, and an easy drive when you are camping with an RV, is the town of Van Lear. Here, you will find the Van Lear Historical Society Miners’ Museum, dedicated to remembering the history of mining in the local community. Various exhibits through the museum bring mining back to life, including the coal mining tools and displays of the community life during the boom years.
If you have some free time, consider driving around the bend in the road to Webb's Grocery and see about taking a tour of country music legends Crystal Gayle and Loretta Lynn's home place.