As one of the industrial backbones of the country, West Virginia has always been recognized and appreciated for its diverse geography consisting of towering plateaus and endlessly rolling mountain ranges. Located partially between Upshur County and Barbour Country, Audra State Park boasts 355 acres of unspoiled forest, diverse ecosystems, and unique caves and river runs. While much of the surrounding region has suffered the consequences of mining and deforestation, this park preserves 355 regional acres of natural beauty for anyone to enjoy.
Audra State Park has long served locals as an affordable way to recreate, with a variety of fun activities to partake in. Hiking, cycling, fishing, and even geocaching are all common activities that can be easily enjoyed here on a budget. Furthermore, during the summer months, the Middle Fork River comes alive while families, kids and teenagers enjoy the many natural swimming areas available throughout.
Hidden along 3 miles of groomed trails in the park lies Alum Cave, a natural geological rock feature which hangs over the river below. In the winter, large icicle spires form down the cave canopy making this an ideal spot for Photographers.
For those looking for an experience indoors, the West Virginia State Wildlife Center is a modern zoological facility dedicated to preserving and showcasing the regional wild-life. Nearby, the town of Buckhannon offers an array of small town attractions, including a movie theatre and local eats. If you’re visiting in May, be sure to check out their annual Strawberry Festival!
The campsites are spacious and fully functional for those intending to utilize a tent. Open from April through October, there are 67 available with thirteen of them offering electrical hookups. Furthermore, there are two fully-serviced bathhouses with warm-water showers, and coin-operated laundry available. There is also a well stocked camping store, which offers normal conveniences as well as firewood for purchase. All reservations are first come first serve, so be sure to make your plans well in advance.
Used to go here all the time while in college. Such a beautiful, fun and awesome place. Some of my best memories from college
Audra State Park, is a bit off the beaten path but well worth the journey. Tucked away, just outside of Buckhannon, WV…home of West Virginia Wesleyan College.
There aren't any other campgrounds close to Buckhannon, so you can either drive a twisty hour south to Holly River, or a half hour southwest off I-79 to Stonewall Jackson Resort…or enjoy Audra State Park.
If you read up on the history of Audra, its been a state park since 1948…and is situated along the Middle Fork River.
I've had opportunity to camp about 50 days in Audra over the past two years, both in spring and fall. I enjoy its uniqueness and variety.
If you plan a trip to Audra, I will encourage you to choose your weekends wisely during peak times. I ordinarily attempt to stay during the week…and locate more primitive camping on the weekends. This past spring, it rained 19 of the 21 days we camped there, but it was still enjoyable.
As state parks go, it is spartan. For some reason, the state doesn't put too much money into this park. You will not enjoy wifi…but there is a payphone outside the campground in the parking lot across from the entrance. Despite its few amenities, the staff is awesome.
Most of the 67 campsites are along the river's edge, or have visual of it. There are a few situated on the outer loop but it takes about a minute to walk to the river from any of these. Check out http://www.audrastatepark.com/camping.html for greater details.
The campsites themselves don't offer a great deal of privacy, but during the week or driving rain…you don't have to concern yourself with neighbors. On nice weekends though, locals swarm the campground and tend to be raucous. There is no full time ranger or security…so you either have to guardedly be confrontational or lump it.
Even with the relentless rain, the ground soaked it up and I didn't experience any pooling under the tent. With the river so close, everything drains right off and into it. The Middle Fork River was at a tranquil flow when we first arrived, but after several days, it swelled into a wild ride. That was pretty remarkable to witness.
I met several whitewater paddlers that convened on Audra during this rainfall to run the rapids. Paddlers from all over the country…and one from Germany. Pretty cool stuff.
Fortunately, it wasn't nonstop rain, so each day we were able to get out and explore. Audra has a nice short trail loop (Rock Cliff trail) in the campground that takes you up onto a small bluff. Enjoyable, picturesque, but brief. It is challenging, but very doable…in wet conditions you lost your footing frequently.
Just outside the campground, across the road and starting along the river is the longer trail (Alum cave trail)…much longer. The terrain is undulating and also traverses a wooden boardwalk under a natural cave outcropping (thus the name, Alum cave trail). The views of various parts of the river were spectacular.
Once you hit the trails end along the river…a hairpin right begins your climb…and up you go. That trail will deposit you in a picnic area aboe the campground. Plan on an hour or so for that hike…and you might benefit from using trekking poles if its wet…the trail was slick.
In warmer climes, the river is a welcomed respite…soaking weary muscles and cooling off.
Overall, I enjoy Audra and local Buckhannon. There are some great little eateries in that college town.
I enjoyed my stay at the campground. There is a pretty nice hiking trail that goes through the park along the river. If you can get a river spot at the campground you will enjoy it. It is a bit crowded with small spaces but still enjoyable.