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Nestled within the Coopers Rock State Forest, the Chestnut Ridge Park and Campground is a picturesque RV park in the northeast of West Virginia. It’s just ten miles from the heart of Morgantown and on the doorstep of the West Virginia University Forest, with several lakes and rivers in the immediate surrounds.
RV camping at the Chestnut Ridge Park and Campground includes access to a range of 30-amp electric RV sites, as well as clean bathrooms and hot showers. Pets are welcome to stay with you, provided they remain on a leash, while the on-site camp store is well stocked with essentials. Wi-Fi is also available here, although cell phone service can be limited.
A highlight of camping at Chestnut Ridge Park and Campground is its access to Coopers Rock State Forest, which sprawls across 12,747 acres along the edge of Cheat Lake and the Cheat River. It was originally developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, with several rustic picnic shelters still in existence today and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The park is renowned for its scenic overlooks in Cheat Canyon and at Rustic Rock, which can be accessed along a two-mile-long hike. In addition to around 50 miles of hiking trails, the forest is also a popular bouldering area and whitewater rafting destination. If you’re interested in the local history, don’t miss a visit to the remains of the Henry Clay Iron Furnace that employed around 200 locals until it closed down in 1847.
A short drive across the border is the Laurel Caverns, which is the largest cave in Pennsylvania and accessible to the public on walking tours, spelunking, and rappelling excursions. The upper cavern accesses a network of grid-like passages (some of which are renowned for exhibiting an optical illusion known as a “gravity hill”), with three-hour-long guided tours descending through its fascinating landscapes. In addition to cave tours, the Laurel Caverns is also home to a mini-golf course and the opportunity for visitors to try their hand at panning for gemstones.
The campsites at Chestnut Ridge Park and Campground can also be used as a base for visiting the Savage River State Forest, which lies around 40 minutes’ drive across the border in Maryland. It’s home to the Savage River Reservoir, constructed by the United States Army in 1952 and a popular destination for luring large and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and bluegill. There are more than 70 miles of hiking trails to explore that including the 17-mile Big Savage Trail and the 12-mile Meadow Mountain Trail, as well as horseback riding and biking routes to explore. Hunting is also permitted in designated areas, with white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and black bears residing within the forest’s borders.
The Chestnut Ridge Park and Campground is a ten-minute drive from Cheat Lake, where you’ll find a supermarket for stocking up on supplies and a gas station if you need to fill up your RV rental. There’s also a good selection of fast-food restaurants and eateries if you don’t feel like cooking, or you can continue southwest to Morgantown, where there’s a more extensive choice of dining options and services.
Morgantown is home to West Virginia University, which was founded in 1867 and is renowned for its art museum and sculpture garden. It features two large gallery spaces where a diverse permanent collection and traveling exhibitions are housed, as well as a Grand Hall, where musical performances are regularly showcased. If you want to experience the university at its most electric, coincide your visit with a home game of the West Virginia Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium. Also owned by West Virginia University is the Earl L. Core Arboretum, which encompasses 91 acres along the Monongahela River floodplain. Its dense woodlands are traversed by a network of hiking trails that are particularly impressive during the spring months when the wildflowers are in bloom.
Coincide your visit to Morgantown with the Morgantown Farmers’ Market, which takes place every Saturday morning and is the first solar-powered market in West Virginia. Aside from fresh farm produce, you can find a delicious range of homemade preserves, baked bread, pastries, and eggs being sold by local vendors. Cooking demonstrations and live music performances are also held at the market, together with yoga classes and dancing.
Whether you want to discover the cultural attractions of Morgantown or explore the natural wonders of West Virginia, book an RV in Preston County and start planning your next vacation.