About This Park

Set on the rim of the Gauley River Canyon, the 156-acre Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park is an important Civil War battle site. The park is part of the Civil War Discovery Trail, which links more than 300 historical sites in 16 states, and commemorates the 1861 Battle of Carnifex Ferry, a major Union victory that led to the eventual Confederate withdrawal from western Virginia. Carnifex Ferry is one of the oldest state parks in the United States and is a popular site for Civil War reenactments.

This park does not offer overnight accommodations within the park.

Activities

Select an activity below to learn more
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Geocaching
  • Museums & Historical Sites
  • Outdoor Adventures
  • Rafting
Attraction is located outside of the park.
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History

Nestled on the rim of the Gauley River Canyon near Summersville, West Virginia, Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park is an important Civil War battle site. On September 10, 1861 Union troops led by Brigadier General William S. Rosecrans engaged the Confederates and forced them to evacuate an entrenched position on the Henry Patterson Farm which overlooked Carnifex Ferry. The Confederate commander, Brigadier General John B. Floyd, retreated across the ferry to the south side of the Gauley River and on eastward to Meadow Bluff near Lewisburg. This Civil War battle represented the failure of a Confederate drive to regain control of the Kanawha Valley. As a result, the movement for West Virginia statehood proceeded without serious threat from the Confederates.

Today, Carnifex Ferry is recognized as part of The Civil War Discovery Trail which links more than 300 sites in 16 states to inspire and to teach the story of the Civil War and its haunting impact on America. The Trail, an initiative of the Civil War Trust, allows visitors to explore battlefields, historic homes, railroad stations, cemeteries, parks and other destinations that bring history to life.

Trails

Old Ferry Road

A short section of Old Ferry Road is on state property. The road was used by Confederate Gen. Floyd during his retreat off the mountain to Carnifex Ferry.

Distance: 0.3 Miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Patterson Trail

This trail forms a loop around the park and can be accessed from several locations. Highlights include three overlooks of the Gauley River.

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Pierson Hollow Trail

This trail branches off the Patterson Trail across the road from the Patterson House Museum. The trail passes through a stand of mature trees before ending.

Distance:  0.6 miles

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Additional Information

Picnicking

Time for a picnic! Park amenities include picnic facilities with tables and grills, four reservable group shelters, restrooms, playground equipment, softball and volleyball areas and horseshoe pits.

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