About This Park
Prickett’s Fort State Park, located five miles north of Fairmont in Marion County, features a reconstruction of the original Prickett's Fort, which served as a place of refuge during colonial times. This historical park commemorates late 18th-century life on the Virginia frontier. This day-use park is open mid-April through the end of October. After Labor Day, several attractions are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Visitors may enter the park free of charge, but some attractions, such as the fort, charge admission.
Things to Do
Don’t leave your bike behind! Prickett’s Fort offers great hiking trails that double as biking trails. Bicycles can also be rented at the Visitor Center upon your arrival. The park serves as the southern end of the 17.7-mile Mon River Rail-Trail (South Section), part of the Mon River Trails Conservancy rail-trail system. The trail follows the Monongahela river in a converted railroad bed north to Morgantown. Fore more information about the rail-trail, visit montrails.org
All can enjoy Prickett’s Creek and Bay and the Monongahela River with boating facilities including a launch ramp and trailer parking. The park also offers picnic areas, nature trails, fishing and a boat launch on the Monongahela River.
Grab your bait and tackle! Fish are plentiful here, with bass tournaments also held in season at Prickett’s Fort State Park. Proper fishing license and stamps are required and may be purchased online at https://www.wvhunt.com/.
Prickett’s Fort is a great stop for hiking enthusiasts. The Nature Trail starts near the Wildlife Observation Platform, and extends along what would have been the original road used by the area’s original settlers. This trail follows a path between Prickett’s Creek and the fort, and ends at the historic Prickett Cemetery. Additional hiking is available on the MCTrail (Marion County Trail), which stretches three miles, from the park to Fairmont.
Museums & Historical Sites
Prickett’s Fort State Park is popular with history and nature lovers, alike. The park offers guided tours, specialized talks, gallery exhibits and craft demonstrations. Interpreters in period-accurate costumes recreate late 18th century life with demonstrations of colonial crafts such as basketry, blacksmithing, and pottery.
Perched on a small rise overlooking the confluence of Prickett’s Creek and the Monongahela River, this rustic log fort is a re-creation of the original Prickett’s Fort of 1774, which served as a refuge from Native American war parties on the western frontier of Colonial Virginia. Built in 1976 by the Prickett’s Fort Memorial Foundation, the “new” fort serves as a living history site where interpreters recreate late 18th century lifestyle through period attire and demonstrations of a variety of colonial crafts. Throughout the season, visitors may find blacksmiths, spinners, weavers and other traditional artisans at work, and a gun shop which features the only public demonstrations of 18th century firearm manufacturing in the state.
When the threat of Native American uprisings occurred, up to 80 families from the surrounding countryside would hurry to the fort. They would stay as long as the threat existed, for days or even weeks. “Forting up” was simply tolerated by settlers, as life in the cramped quarters could be unpleasant. Such sacrifices were necessary for survival on the dangerous frontier of the late 1700s. Today’s fort, just north of Fairmont, still portrays that life and time.
Just south of the fort stands the Job Prickett House, built in 1859 by the great grandson of Capt. Jacob Prickett, for whom the fort was named. The difference between the 18th century historical reconstruction and the original 19th century house illustrates the development of an increasingly civilized lifestyle and the availability of mass-produced furnishings through an 85 year span of time. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and contains antiques originally used by the Prickett family.
Prickett’s Fort State Park does not provide any overnight accommodations, but visitors may camp, rent cabins or stay in the lodge at Tygart Lake State Park, located 22 miles south of the park.
Prickett’s Fort Nature Trail
|This trail introduces guests to the flora and fauna of north central West Virginia.|
|A converted rails-to-trail for walkers, joggers and cyclists.|
The scenic and pastoral setting of Prickett’s Fort State Park is perfect for a daytime meal in the park. Picnic tables are available and various concerts and performing arts are presented in a 400-seat amphitheater during the summer. It’s a great way to host a get together for friends or family.
Tygart Lake State Park
Located about 22 miles south of Prickett’s Fort, this park is a cozy, quiet getaway for couples and families. Tygart Lake State Park visitors enjoy hiking and golfing, and fishing and boating on the 10-mile long, 1,750-acre Tygart Lake. The park also offers lodging, cabin rentals, camping for all to enjoy.
Valley Falls State Park
Once the site of a lumber and grist mill community, the scenic treasure of Valley Falls State Park is located only a short drive from Fairmont and Grafton. This 1,145-acre day-use park hosts a variety of outdoor recreation including fishing, picnicking, kayaking, and 18 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails.
Watters Smith Memorial State Park
The heritage of early West Virginia is preserved in the pioneer homestead restoration at this park. The Smith family home has been restored as a museum, and an additional museum houses many early farm artifacts. Guided tours are offered from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.