4 Babcock attractions other than the grist mill you need to see this fall

Picture Babcock State Park in your mind. What do you see? There’s a good chance you dreamt up a beautiful image of the Glade Creek Grist Mill. Even if you’ve never been to this popular state park, the iconic mill and the flowing Glade Creek is the image most people think of when they think about Babcock. That’s because it’s a popular destination for nature and landscape photographers and has been featured on the covers of magazines and park guides all over the country.

While the mill is one of the most popular Babcock attractions and state park locations in all of West Virginia, there are several other places in the park you might not have heard of that are worth checking out. Here are four you don’t have to go far to find, but we encourage you to get out and explore the park and its sprawling 4,000 acres for yourself.

Island in the Sky Trail

Since you’re probably coming to Babcock to see the grist mill, let’s start there. On the road right behind the mill, you’ll find the trailhead for the Island in the Sky Trail. This trail is rocky and steep in sections, but it’s not too long of a hike.

The trail is beautiful along the way, especially in the spring when you can search for wildflowers or in autumn when you can see fall color. The trail curves around and leads to the top of the mountain where you can see the surrounding area from a beautiful vista. If you have children with you, be extra careful. There’s a wooden ladder you need to climb and the overlook is a high cliff.

This unique view is a good start to a weekend of hiking at Babcock. There are more than 20 miles of trails in total! Click here to download a park trail map.

“Was quite surprised by how beautiful it was. I’ve lived in WV all my life & have never been here before. Definitely wanna come back & definitely wanna stay in the cabins.”

— thedorkymorgan, TripAdvisor Reviewer from South Charleston, West Virginia

Swinging bridge

Take a close look at the Babcock State Park map and you’ll notice a bridge crossing Glade Creek, near the mill in the cabin area. But this isn’t any ordinary bridge. Babcock has a small swinging bridge that connects the park’s cabin areas on each side of Glade Creek. Look for it near cabin 6 or 7, depending on which side of the creek you’re on.

Spending the night in one of the park’s cozy cabins allows you to enjoy a leisurely walk through the park when you wake up in the morning. Whichever direction you take when you step outside your cabin door, make sure your path leads you over the swinging bridge. And take some time to enjoy the soothing sounds of the creek below your feet.

There’s also a second swinging bridge on Narrow Gauge Trail!


The Glade Creek Grist Mill gets all the fanfare at Babcock, but the park’s scenic overlooks offer views that rival the iconic mill and give you a glimpse of the ancient layers of the New River Gorge drainage basin.

Babcock is a big park, but finding the overlooks isn’t difficult. When you enter the park, take a right and follow the main road until you reach a parking area and see a clearing to your left. Take a seat on one of the benches and watch the sunset over the horizon. Or set out on the Skyline Trail and hike along a natural cliff line with spectacular views.

If you follow the Skyline Trail to its end at the Manns Creek Picnic Area, you’ll be rewarded with another overlook.

Boley Lake

Last but certainly not least and definitely not the last place you should check out at Babcock, is Boley Lake. If you like fishing, there’s a good chance you’ll find bass, bluegill or channel catfish at the end of your line. If you just want to enjoy a cool-morning hike, walk around Boley Lake on the Lake View Trail. After, there’s plenty of space to enjoy a picnic or morning nap under the shade of a tree.

Babcock state park is full of beauty and breathtaking colors in the fall. Weekends can get quite crowded, especially if you’re a photographer, but there’s so much to see. Take time to grab a bench and relax and enjoy the scenery.”

— ThruHum, TripAdvisor Reviewer from Little Rock, Arkansas

Don’t miss these four Babcock State Park attractions! Here’s what you need to do to see them before fall ends.

  1. Plan a trip

    Use these four attractions to create a trip itinerary or come up with one of your own.

  2. Book your stay

    Spend the night in one of Babcock’s cozy cabins and make a weekend or week out of your trip.

  3. Make memories that last a lifetime

    Visit during autumn to catch a glimpse of this beautiful park decked out in fall color.

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