Friendly and helpful office staff, clean bathrooms, washer and dryer available.
Hungry Mother State Park, just a short drive off I-81 in southwestern Virginia, is an easily accessible gem offering modern cabins, yurts, and campgrounds equipped for tents or RVs, with limitless activities.
We stayed in one of the cabins after Hurricane Michael rained out our plans for tent camping. This was our first time in one of the VSP cabins, and will not be our last. There are three types of cabins; log exteriors, part of the original Civilian Conservation Corps structures; wooden frame cabins with wooden interiors, and cinderblock exteriors with tile floors. Cabins range from economy to three bedroom, and all have a kitchen with microwave, stove, and refrigerator/freezer, a bathroom with a shower, and a fireplace, as well as heating and air conditioning. Most cabins also have covered porches, exterior picnic tables, and exterior fire rings.
The Creekside Campground loop has water and electric hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings. The layout is similar to most water/electric sites in state and national parks in Virginia; not much privacy between the sites, but fairly shaded, and a quiet atmosphere. This loop is true to its name, and right on the creek running through the park. We were there during the rains from Hurricane Michael and the creek was running so high that sites 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, and 19 looked like they were in danger of flooding.
The Royal Oak campground has platforms for tents set into the mountain rather than dirt or gravel tent pads, however as there are hooks in each of the pads to anchor your tent they can only accommodate tents with a 20x20 footprint. These sites have picnic tables and fire rings on the dirt beside the platforms. The two VSP Yurts at Hungry Mother are in the Royal Oak loop, along the entrance that are set up from the road. This loop overall offers a lot more privacy for each site that I have typically seen in state parks due to the platforms, though you will still see/hear your neighbors. Both camping loops have bathrooms with electricity, flush toilets, and showers with warm water.
Amenities in the park include a lake with a swimming area, boat/canoe rentals, fishing (with license), a restaurant, hiking, biking, and ranger programs. The park office also has several cool displays of local wildlife and history of the area, as well as backpacks you can check out with books and gear for tree, wildflower, and animal identification. Hiking varies from short and easy trails with minimal elevation gain, to the difficult Molly’s Knob trail with one of the most epic sunset views I’ve ever hiked in Virginia.
I love Virginia State Parks, and this is definitely a new favorite. I’m skeptical of the comfort of the wooden platforms for future tent camping trips, but the cabins will definitely be a future stay for us, particularly during the winter months, and there is so much to do in this park even the most reluctant adventurer will find fun.
**Product Review **
As as Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time — on this trip I tested the RōM pack, from RōM Outdoors.
I was skeptical about this pack when I first received it—it felt extremely heavy for a day pack, particularly as it doesn’t have a hip belt, and while I was impressed with the removable pockets, it didn’t seem like the pack itself had a lot of cargo capacity.
After using this pack on our trip, I am a convert. We used it to pack clothes for my husband and I, knowing we would be able to leave our clothes at camp when we went hiking. This freed up space in the car that would normally go to a larger backpack, and we got to take advantage of the pack’s ability to convert to both a poncho and a blanket, not just for review purposes, but out of necessity.
The poncho’s rain resistance held up well, considering we were hiking in the outer bands of a hurricane. The first hike we took this on we started in the rain, and my husband wore the poncho—he stayed dry for the first half mile of our hike, but by end of our mile the water had started leaking through so he did get a little wet—though mostly around the the seams/openings. On our second hike he wore it as a backpack. Because it was raining when we set out and we anticipated needing the poncho feature again, we elected not to bring the detachable pockets, but the interior of the pack was enough to hold our 5 year old’s day pack once she got tired of carrying it.
It stopped raining by the time we got to the summit of our hike, and we tested the blanket feature of the pack for a picnic. It unfolds to a size that was perfect for our family of four. The canvas is thick enough to make a great picnic blanket—it protects from damp ground and sharp rocks, and the lining makes for a very soft surface to sit on. On the way back I took advantage of the poncho. By this point it had gotten extremely windy and was getting dark quickly, and the poncho was excellent at keeping me warm. It’s very heavy, which was welcome in the strong wind, though it did make it hard to hear with the hood over my ears.
Pros to this pack:
-Versatility. In one trip we used the backpack, poncho, and blanket feature, and were grateful for all three.
-Durability. This is definitely a well-constructed pack, with heavy materials that seem like they will last for a long time.
-User-friendly. The pack looks intimidating at first, but it unfolds/folds from pack to poncho/blanket very easily. Combined with the drawstring inner pack and detachable pockets it’s easy to convert while still keeping track of your gear.
Cons to this pack:
-Space. This is great to bring on a camping trip where you can bring additional packs/bags for your gear, but it doesn’t hold much on its own.
-Weight. It only weighs in at 4.6lbs, which is less than a lot of backpacking packs, but as the pack doesn’t have the hip belt it’s a high starting weight.
-Thin straps. The width of the straps is comfortable, but they could use a little more padding.
Very nice and shady in Chermside campground. Lots of walking trails. During summer rent kayaks and paddle boats. Restaurant on site. Sites are a little tight for rv. Will be back.
Build by the Civilan Conservation Corps In the 1903s- Hungry Mother is state park planning its historical peak! The amenities cannot be missed - beach with bath house and snack bar, interpretive center with children’s activities, on-site restaurant with wonderful lake view, $8 kayak rentals, well-kept paddle boats, and wonderful hiking. We loved the kayaks - if you only have 1 hour, power right out of the boat slip (past the beach) up and around the far part of the lake. Utter solitude among the hills! 💗
For hiking, we especially enjoyed Lake Trail - easy but quiet and lovley vegetation. We stayed in one of the old CCC cabins (pups and cats allowed!), and while simple and rustic - it was perfectly maintained and clean. we hope to go back during fireplace season! The loss of one star is as due to the number of white supremacist bumper stickers, t-shirts, and tattoos in the day use parking lot and on the beach. We ended up not sticking around due to concerns about our safety - clearly a genderqueer same sex couple was not welcome news among the locals.
We stayed in the Royal Oak loop (tent only). The tent pads are specially built wooden platforms, which worked out great since we got rained on! This loop was quiet, had nice clean bathrooms with showers, and a separate sink to wash dishes in.
The beach area is great, with lifeguards on duty and a diving board platform. There were concessions and a small store at the swimming area.
There is also a quaint restaurant in the campground.
This was a great park to camp in with plenty of amenities, my kids’ only wish was that we could have stayed longer than two nights!
No really, it is. It has everything. From a beach, to hiking trails for all levels, to kayaking around a beautiful lake, a discovery center, and even a restaurant!! You should pack your things and head there now!!!
We loved our short visit to this park. The spot was a nice size with lots of shade. We also had full hook ups for our RV. We were at Burson #17. We also had WiFi that worked very well.
The camp is well maintained as well.
There are hiking and biking trails and a fantastic lake to kayak on as well.
we stayed in th smaller of the 2 campgrounds. bathrooms were clean and had individual rooms for showers which is like a 5 star hotel when camping. it’s an easy walk to the dam and up to the lake with amazing Mountain View’s. laundry center on sIw t and lake beach swimming a short drive away. we’d go again in a heartbeat!
I know some people they know the best spot for stars but they have never been here
I stumbled upon Hungry Mother State Park a few summers ago traveling through VA and visiting parks and breweries. I could not have been more impressed by the facilities and beauty of this park. It's tucked away in a light mountain range and there is a beautiful lake for swimming. They even have an old-school dock in the middle of the lake with platforms and boards for diving.
I'm a big runner, and so I enjoyed jogging the 5-6mile loop around the lake. Though exhausting, it was such a fun and scenic run switching back and forth up and down the mountains and having the lake to my side.