Babcock State Park, New River Gorge

Last week my wife and I were able to get away for a few days, and our choice of destination was Babcock State Park in Clifton WV. A choice we really liked and recommend if you are looking for a quiet place to get away from it all!

The Gristmill at Babcock State Park

Babcock truly is out in the middle of nowhere. It is a large WV State Park with a campground and cabins. The nearest restaurant is probably 15 miles away, and other than small gas station convenience stores, there is a Dollar General about 10 miles away. We chose to reserve a small cabin for three nights with a kitchen and outdoor grill and brought in our food for 2 of the 3 nights. Nothing like eating outside in a quiet wooded setting.

Our cabin

We stayed in a small 4 person cabin, and the word small is key here. There was a set of bunkbeds, a small table and kitchen in one room, and a small bathroom. This says 4 person, but four adults would be very crowded. It was a tight space, but my wife and I had room, and the cabin was not why we were there anyway. It was clean and a good quiet place to spend the evenings. It was not luxury, but just what we were looking for. Getting away from it all in a beautiful quiet place.

This park has a small lake with boat rentals and fishing, is well known for it’s working grist mill, plenty of roads to bike and miles of trails for hiking and biking. It is also near the Summersville Dam and New River Gorge and many other sites. We spent a lot of time walking and some biking. A hike from our cabin to the grist mill was a 4 mile round trip. There was a wedding there on Saturday and some of the cabins were booked for that, but it still ended up being a quiet family friendly park with all of that going on. I highly recommend looking into this park if you are looking for a quiet no frills week or weekend.

Sunset at one of the overlooks in the park

We spent one afternoon in the Summersville area checking out the Dam and surrounding area but really did not spend much time there. We spent more time in the Fayetteville area, a small town near the newest national park, The New River Gorge Area. We did the Long Point Trail that afternoon that takes you to a breathtaking view of the New River Gorge Bridge. I would highly recommend it! It is a 1.5 mile out and back trail that for the most part is an easy hike. The last .25 miles is difficult with elevation, roots, and rocks, but the destination is worth it. If you are afraid of heights just know you will be out on rocks with no fencing and large drop offs on either side, but there is plenty of room to still be and feel safe. I understand it gets very crowded on the weekends with people waiting turns to go to some of the photo op areas and I would have been uncomfortable in that situation. We were there on a Friday afternoon, and while there were some people there, it was nice!

The Summersville Dam. A very popular place for Whitewater. During water releases in the fall this place is awesome! The lake behind the dam is one of the clearest in the country!
View from the end of Long Point Trail
Janet taking pictures from the rock cliff.
Another view

We didn’t spend any time at the New River Gorge visitor center because we stop there occasionally on our trips to see my daughter. This was a time to do things we haven’t done before. I have always looked down at the overlooks at the visitor center and saw the river below and had an urge to go there. (Believe me that is not a walk that you would want to take – almost straight down for a long way.) The bridge over the Gorge is the longest arched bridge and when it was built was the longest steel arch bridge in the world – it is big and it is over a very deep Gorge! It is touted as reducing a 40 minute drive to the bottom of the gorge and back up to a less than one minute drive. All you have to do is see it to believe it.

Soooo, on Saturday of our stay we decided to take that 40 minute drive to the bottom of the Gorge, and it was so worth it! To do this you need to get directions to Fayetteville Station, the site under the bridge at the bottom of the Gorge. This is a small one way for the most part road with several switchbacks and a lot of elevation change. Make sure you know where you are going so you don’t try to go down on the wrong side of the Gorge. You want to start this adventure from the Visitor Center side of the Gorge, but again it is well worth it. I have always been in awe of this architectural feat, and this trip is the icing on the cake. Fayetteville Station is really a spot for whitewater enthusiasts, but it is well worth parking at one of the lots and walking around. It was my highlight of the trip!

Some of the structure work under the bridge
The bridge today
The old bridge at the bottom of the gorge that was used before the new bridge was built
Looking up!
The New River
Another one from the bottom. Unless you experience it firsthand, it is hard to imagine the expanse of this bridge!

So if this sounds interesting contact the Babcock State Park website. The cabins usually fully book and you will probably have to book well in advance, but I am glad we did it. Just a note: I am sure this is just a spectacular trip during the fall color season!!!!

This was a fun weekend!

Again, thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Feel free to like or comment. It’s been a while since I have written, hopefully I will get better at this!

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