Get lost in nature at West Virginia’s largest state park

When we think of mountain getaways, we think of places like Watoga State Park. Here, you can enjoy peace and quiet and outdoor adventures on more than 10,000 acres of mountain wilderness. So, plan a trip to West Virginia’s largest state park and get ready to get lost in nature while you’re here. Here’s what you need to know to plan a trip to Watoga State Park.

Featured Activities at Watoga State Park

There are plenty of outdoor adventures to enjoy at Watoga State Park. Whether you are traveling on your own or with your family, here are a few activities worth checking out:

Featured Trails at Watoga State Park

Whether you enjoy long strolls through the woods or enjoy the thrill of hiking from one scenic vista to the next, Watoga and its 40 miles of trails is a great place to hike. Just remember to leave no trace behind. Download a trail map and find a trail on your own or check out one of our favorite trails below:

Lake Trail

One of the easier and more popular trails at Watoga, Lake Trail is mostly level and loops around the lake. Trailheads are at the boat docks, dam and the pool parking lot. Benches from the Watoga State Park Foundation are found throughout the trail. The back half of the trail is more rugged than the portion by the pool and boat dock, but you are rewarded with majestic Applachian flora and fauna found throughout the trail.

Distance: 1.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Anne Bailey Trail

The Anne Bailey Trail follows the old roadbed across the top of Pyles Mountain and Workman Ridge to the Ann Bailey Lookout Tower. The scenic views from the parking area at the trail’s start are only a preview of the gorgeous views that wait for you at the Anne Bailey Lookout Tower. This is a wide, multi-use trail that you can use to access the Jessie Cove Trail towards the Workman cabin and the Burnside Ridge Trail.

Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult

Brooks Arboretum Trails

The Brooks Arboretum is home to three trails that can be combined for a variety of hiking experiences. The Dragon Draft Trail runs through the middle and is an adventure as the Two Mile Run creek crosses through the trail. Work your way out of the rhododendrons using the Buckhorn trail, which cuts through the width of the trail to make your way up to the Honey Bee Trail, which encompases a 4.5 mile loop along the middle of the ridge line. Be prepared for moderate to difficult terrain. Walking sticks are recommended.

Places to Stay at Watoga State Park

Located deep in the mountains, Watoga State Park is a place where you can truly enjoy peace and quiet. With little to no cellphone service and limited WiFi in the park, you can finally enjoy an unplugged getaway. No working vacations here!

Watoga has 34 cabins to choose from. Legacy Cabins offer a more rustic experience while classic and vacation cabins offer more of the comforts of home. All cabins come with electric, water, fully equipped kitchens and many other amenities you need for an extended stay. Legacy cabins don’t have heat or air conditioning and are available to rent April through October. Classic and vacation cabins, which have heat and air, are available all year. Designated pet-friendly cabins are available if you’re traveling with your pet.

Watoga has 88 campsites spread out over two campground areas. The Beaver Creek Campground has 38 campsites, 28 of which have electric hookups. Sites have picnic tables and fire rings. The Riverside Campground has 50 campsites with electric hookups. Both campgrounds have access to a central bathhouse with coin-operated laundry and dish washing stations. Watoga campgrounds are open spring through fall, weather permitting.

Recommended Itinerary

Need help planning your trip to Watoga? Whether you come for the day or stay for a weekend or longer, here are a few recommended activities to enjoy.

Day Trip
Start your day by fishing by the lake. There’s no better way to relax after a long trip through the mountains. In the afternoon, enjoy a hike or join the naturalist for one of the evening programs.

Extended Stay
Wake up early for a hike on one of the park’s many trails. In the summer, cool off in the afternoon at the pool. In the evening, enjoy the beautiful starry skies and listen to the whippoorwills as you watch fireflies come out. During your trip, visit the nearby Greenbrier River Trail and Droop Mountain and Beartown state parks. Before you leave, stop by the gift shop for a memento of your time here and pick up some gifts for the family. 

Pro-Tip for Getting the Most Out Of Your Trip to Watoga State Park

Watoga is home to some of the darkest skies on the east coast, which makes the park a perfect place for stargazing. Spend the night and go out to the dam on a clear night to see the Milky Way. As you watch the night sky, you’ll see why the park is called Watoga, which means “starry waters” in Cherokee. It’s a view you’ll never forget.

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