About This Park

Babcock State Park and its 4,127 acres of rhododendron-lined trails and rippling, rock-strewn streams is one of West Virginia’s most iconic locations. Located 20 miles south of the New River Gorge Bridge, the park is most known for the Glade Creek Grist Mill, a fully functional replica of the original Cooper’s Mill, located nearby. Other attractions include recreational activities like hiking, fishing and boating.

The Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park is a popular destination for nature and landscape photographers and artists capturing the beauty of this iconic setting. The use of drone and other unmanned aircraft at state parks is permitted, but users are required to check in at the park office in advance. At the Glade Creek Grist Mill, drone use is permitted from 1–3 p.m., daily. Check in at the park office for drone use at other times. Drones may not be flown over buildings or the parking area, and must stay a minimum of 20 feet away from the mill. Seasonal closure of the Glade Creek Grist Mill occurs October 27, 2019. Picnic area restrooms and area gates seasonal closure occurs October 31.

Accommodations

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Activities

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  • Biking
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Geocaching
  • Hiking
  • DeerViewing
    Hunting
  • Outdoor Adventures
  • Rafting
Attraction is located outside of the park.
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History

In the 1930s, two CCC camps located in Clifftop, Camp Beaver and Camp Lee became the site of what is now known as Babcock State Park. The original camp buildings are gone today, but Babcock’s Campground is located at the former site of Camp Lee. All plans for the administration building, cabins, and other work were drawn up by park staff at the park and approved by the Department of the Interior.  The camps at Babcock, Watoga, Cacapon, Lost River, and Oglebay were operated by the Civilian Commission of West Virginia in cooperation with the National Park Service of the Department of the Interior.  Other help included a skilled stonemason foreman who supervised the park’s stone quarry and work on the administration building.

The Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock is a new mill that was completed in 1976.  Fully operable, this mill was built as a re-creation of a previous one that once ground grain on Glade Creek long before Babcock became a state park.  Known as Cooper’s Mill, it stood on the present location of the park’s administration building parking lot. Of special interest, the mill was created by combining parts and pieces from three mills which once dotted the state.  The basic structure of the mill came from the Stoney Creek Grist Mill which dates back to 1890.  After an accidental fire destroyed the Spring Run Grist Mill near Petersburg, Grant County, only the overshot water wheel could be salvaged.  Other parts for the mill came from the Onego Grist Mill near Seneca Rocks in Pendleton County. A living monument to the over 500 mills which thrived in West Virginia at the turn of the century, the Glade Creek Grist Mill provides freshly ground cornmeal, which park guests may purchase depending on availability and stream conditions. Visitors to the mill may journey back to a time when grinding grain by a rushing stream was a way of life, and the groaning mill wheel was music to the miller’s ear.

Trails

Connector Trail

The trail head is located along the service road where Twin Hollow Trail crosses. This a short and steep trail connecting Twin Hollow Trail to Ridge Top Trail. Suitable for biking.

Distance: 50 yards

Difficulty: Moderate

Island-In-The-Sky Trail

The trailheads are at the grist mill and at a small parking lot in the sharp curve along the road to Boley Lake. The trail is mostly uphill if starting at the grist mill and mostly level if starting at the sharp curve. The trail has beautiful vistas and high cliff areas, so watch your children carefully.

Distance: 0.5 mile

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Lake View Trail

The trailheads to this mostly level loop around Boley Lake are at the lake parking lot or at the gate above the grist mill. A spur from the grist mill gate is 0.5 mile, uphill and moderately difficult. The metal bridge along this spur was originally a gangplank from the showboat Rhododendron.

Distance:  1 mile loop

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Manns Creek Gorge Trail

The trailheads are across from Campsite 26 and at the first parking area at Camp Washington Carver. This is not a loop trail, so return along the same route or walk the Camp Washington Carver Road back to the campground.

Distance: 2 miles (one way)

Difficulty: Moderate

Mountain Heath Trail

The trailhead is 300 yards north of the main intersection on the road leading to the Manns Creek picnic area. The parking spur is on the right side of the road, with the trailhead on the left. Numbered posts and a booklet available at park headquarters take you around this self-guided trail, which leads to the Natural Arch off from the right side of the parking spur.

Distance: 0.25 mile

Difficulty: Easy

Narrow Gauge Trail

The trailheads are at the service road between the campground and economy cabins and on Sewell Road approximately 0.75 mile below Cabin 13. The gentle grade follows the bed of Manns Creek Railway that connected Clifftop with Sewell until its closure in 1956. Railroad ties, telegraph poles and other remnants of the old railway are still evident. Mountain bikes are permitted but must be carried around difficult sections of the trail.

Distance: 2.5 miles (one way)

Difficulty: Easy

North Slope Trail

The trailhead is shared with the Narrow Gauge Trail and is located next to Manns Creek Bridge on the service road. The first half of the trail is level and follows Manns Creek. The second half of the trail is very steep and is a difficult climb, connecting to the Ridge Top Trail.  Suitable for biking.

Distance: 0.5 mile (one way)

Difficulty: Moderate

Old Pond Trail

The trailheads are at the parking lot for the Natural Arch and at the gate before the intersection to the Manns Creek overlook. The trail has some uphill sections from either starting point.  Suitable for biking.

Distance: 1.5 miles (one way)

Difficulty: Moderate

Ridge Top Trail

The trailheads are across from the Short Cut Trail or past the Natural Arch parking area on the right, if coming from the main park entrance. The trail has steep uphill sections from either starting point. It follows along the crest of a ridge at some of the highest elevations at the park.  Suitable for biking.

Distance:  2 miles (one way)

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Rocky Trail

This short, steep trail connects Skyline Trail with Narrow Gauge Trail and is a stone staircase constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. It is much easier to walk downhill from the Skyline Trail.

Distance: 0.5 mile

Difficulty: Difficult

Short Cut Trail

The trailhead is shared with the Ridge Top Trail parking area along Manns Creek Road. The trail has a fairly steep downhill section connecting to the Old Pond Trail.  Suitable for biking.

Distance: 300 yards

Difficulty: Moderate

Skyline Trail

The trailheads are at Manns Creek overlook in the picnic area and across the road from Cabin 5. Hikers must return along the same trail or by park roads. The trail follows a natural cliff line with spectacular vistas. It features a high cliff area, so watch your children carefully.

Distance: 2 miles (one way)

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Triple Creek Trail

The trail begins at the former swimming pool parking lot and connects to the Wilderness Trail. It features three creek crossings. Suitable for mountain biking.

Distance: 1 mile

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Twin Hollow Trail

The trailhead is at the gate before the Manns Creek intersection. The trail follows a beautiful hollow on the west side of the service road and main park road and has a few steep sections. Suitable for mountain biking.

Distance: 0.5 mile (one way)

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Wilderness Trail

The trailhead is at the sharp curve on Boley Lake Road. It is a mostly level, remote, dead-end trail that connects with Triple Creek Trail. Suitable for mountain biking.

Distance:  1.5 miles (one way)

Difficulty: Moderate

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