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R.D. Bailey Lake, WEST VIRGINIA

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Camping West Virginia R.D. Bailey Lake
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campground is really nice, as long as the locals are'nt in force,,,

really nice campground as long as the local crowd has'nt taken over. been there several times and left early as did other families due the disruptive nonsense of a few. if not for that, very nice campground

Peaceful

Very peaceful website. No shade and campsites are close but the setup is great.

fairly nice small campground, but,,,,

clean restrooms, for the most part nice spacious campsites. fire ring, lamp hanging post, picnic table and pea gravel tent pads. the 3 star rating, been there 4 times now and left early on 3 occasions due to the locals and or self announcing homeless with their lack of respect for ALL other campers peace. have seen others packing up and leaving early for the same reason. most likely will not be going back.

Great Primitive Camping

Stayed one night on 9/7/19. Camped in campsite #1. I think the campsites where all full shortly after dark. Very quiet. Have new vault toilets. Heard a Barred Owl at night. Was able to let my dog off the leash down by the river to play and even played frisbee in our campsite and on the camp road. Trash bins on site. Charcoal grills at sites. The gravel road to get here is a fun drive. Had AT&T cell signal down by the river but no Sprint Signal.

Great park

Stayed for one night when passing through. Nice big sites with lots of trees. Bathroom has nice showers with good pressure/not water. Easily accessible on MC with fun curvy roads to it. Park staff very friendly.

Nice place.

It’s a nice campground, well kept. Spots are too close together so privacy is lacking. All the roads are paved making it easy for the little ones to ride bikes.

Worth An Extended Stay

I stayed at Chief Logan for 3-days and 2-nights and didn’t get to do or see everything I wanted to experience at this wonderful WV State Park, so it’s worth an extended stay. 

Chief Logan has 26 level RV camping spots with water and electricity at all sites and a sewer connection at about half of them. The park also has a large open field for group camping or enough space for about 40 to 50 individual tents for those who prefer a more primitive experience. No water or electricity at the primitive campground, but you’re within walking distance of the main bathhouse which was nice and clean during my stay.   Here's a link for an interactive map of the Chief Logan campground where there's cell phone service for both AT&T and Verizon customers.

When you check-in at the park headquarters, make sure you visit the adjoining museum which gives you some background on the local coal industry and the hardy settlers who clashed with the American Indians when this area was still used as their hunting grounds. The gift shop has a variety of souvenirs with their#1 best sellers tied to alleged sightings of “Big Foot,” not Chief Logan… Lol… 

Chief Logan State Park has lots of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. I hiked the Coal Mine Trail with remnants of the coal industry decaying in the forest, then continued on the Wilderness Trail which gives you a nice view of the surrounding mountains. I was super impressed by the maintenance staff when I reported offensive graffiti on the Guyandotte Beauty Trail and a crew hiked into the woods and painted over it before I even had time to show my photos to Superintendent Bruce Collinsworth.

There are a variety of shelters and playgrounds scattered throughout the nearly 4,000 acre forest so you can spread out and enjoy the park without feeling like you’re fighting any crowds. 

I didn’t get to try the Chief Logan swimming pool, but it looked amazing with a giant slide, high dive and kiddie pool. There's also a stocked fishing pond in this park.

There’s a small wildlife center where you can see bears, bobcats and raptors in enclosures for a$2.00 donation. The caretaker helped me get some nice photos of the bears by putting some honey and peanut butter on the fence around their enclosure. You won’t have to pay a dime to see deer. I spotted dozens of does, bucks and fawns during my stay, so keep your eyes peeled because they don’t seem terribly cautious around people or cars. 

I should add that nearly 100 elk have recently been reintroduced in and around Chief Logan State Park. I didn’t see any elk during my visit, but I plan a return trip in the fall when naturalist Lauren Cole offers tours during the mating season. 

I can’t write a Chief Logan State Park review without mentioning the outdoor theater. Actors had just wrapped a sold-out run of “Deadly Divide” about the bloody history of the Hatfields and McCoys and were practicing for the “Lion King, Jr.” Chief Logan also has an entertainment venue called“Pickin’ In The Park,” where you can hear some local bluegrass music on the weekends. 

Chief Logan also has a really nice lodge and some new deluxe cabins about 2-miles from the main portion of this state park. The lodge has a restaurant and conference rooms, plus there’s a modern recreational center nearby which includes a heated indoor swimming pool, weight room, tennis courts, and elevated walking track. Admission to the rec center is free for lodge guests, but campers can also use the facility for$10/day or$32/month for a family of four… Deal! 

So why is such a grandiose state park located in the middle of Lincoln County, WV, where the decline of the coal industry has left many in poverty? Former WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is from Lincoln County, so he made sure big bucks where channeled into his home turf, including a nerve jangling connector road that links the main portion of Chief Logan State Park to the lodge and rec center. This road, named “Tomblin Drive,” in his honor, is so steep and curvy it’s closed during the winter months. 

Additional things/do to see nearby: The Coal Heritage Trail, Blair Mountain, Hatfield and McCoy ATV Trails, and the City of Logan.

great primitive campsite on the river

This is a cool spot.  You can camp here for free on first come first serve basis.  Also can access by boat if taking a trip on the river. sandy sites. Not much nearby. You walk down a set a stairs to the sites.

Great place to camp

Army Camp is my favorite place to camp. 10 tent sites. 2 are handicap. Has always been quiet with good people camping while I was here. Area for people to swim in the river or fish. One trail on far side of parking area that I haven’t been on yet. Great area.

Coal Country Culture at a Historic State Park

Cabwaylingo is off the beaten path, but definitely worth a visit! It's one of the oldest WV state parks, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's. Described as a"hidden gem" on the state website, I was the only camper in the entire 8,200-acre property on a warm Sunday afternoon. Sad this beautiful state forest is so underutilized. 

Cabwaylingo sits on a portion of four different counties, namely: Cabell, Wayne, Lincoln and Mingo, which helps explain the origin of the exotic-sounding name. The forest has two campgrounds, lots of picnic shelters, 100-capacity bunkhouses with a huge kitchen, plus some gorgeous historic cabins which now have A/C. The outdoor pool is closed due to a lack of funding, but there's swimming hole in the nearby creek which is also used for baptisms by local churches. 

The stonework in this park is amazing, especially the superintendent's residence which was built by Italian stone masons. It's located across the street from the park headquarters, so be sure and check it out. 

I pulled into the Spruce Creek Campground which appeared nicely maintained, but there was no campground host, no other campers, and the bathhouses were locked, so I wasn't sure if it was open for use. I found out from the superintendent the next morning that it's difficult to keep a campground host because it's an unpaid position. He said I could have pulled in and picked one of 11 spots, then the night watchman would have shown up to check me in and unlock the bathrooms. Good to know, if you're just passing through with no reservation like I was. Here's another tip from the superintendent: If you pull up next to the satellite dish by the bathhouse, there's Internet service with no pass code.

I ended up driving to the Tick Ridge primitive campground which lived up to its name. Again, no host and no campers, so this isolated campground tends to attract partying locals and ATV riders who use the nearby county road. The bathhouse here is permanently closed due to a dried up well, so the only facilities are the ancient pit toilets. I was surprised that I had phone service high on the hill, thanks to an AT&T tower on a nearby ridge. I wouldn't camp here again, but I might make the 2-mile drive to checkout the old Tick Ridge Fire Tower built by the CCC in 1935. I'm bummed I didn't know about it and missed it during my stay. 

The drive to Cabwaylingo State Forest is half the adventure. You'll be motoring through the heart of southern West Virginia's coal country where you'll cross several single-lane bridges and pass through at least one historic tunnel chiseled out of the surrounding rock. 

You'll see the economic impact of the decline of the coal industry with many businesses shuttered, so best to stock up on groceries and gas before you get too far off the beaten path where there's often no phone or Internet service. 

I stopped for gas at the Dingess Service Center where locals can pull-up and pump fuel, but you'll have to go inside and leave your credit card before the manager will turn the vintage pump on. I bought a cold caffeinated beverage and visited with some local residents about their favorite pastimes, the coal industry, and the poor job market that's causing their young people to flee. Everyone was super-friendly after I explained I was reviewing Cabwaylingo in an attempt to encourage more tourism.

The Dingess Service Center is located near the infamous Dingess Tunnel which is a former train tunnel, nearly a mile-long, stained with the bloody history of train wrecks and purported deaths of foreign laborers killed by locals. Whatever the truth is, the 60's-era conversion to a single-lane road for cars still makes for a nail-biting drive. They were paving the roadway when I came through, so the tunnel was closed, but I did drive through a similar, but much shorter, tunnel which runs between Dingess and Breeden. 

There are lots of churches along the access road to Cabwaylingo, including a couple of Old Regular Baptist Churches, found almost exclusively in remote areas of Appalachia. This denomination does not use musical instruments so they have a song leader who chants a line of the hymn, with the congregation repeating a more elaborate version. It's a mournful-sounding form of worship called"line-out hymnody" which dates back to the 1700's. There are a few samples on YouTube which sound like remnants of some ancient Celtic church service.

Ranger Review: Banner and Oak Hats at River Expeditions

Campground Review: 

River Expeditions in Oak Hill, WV, is an all-in-one camping-to-glamping resort for outdoor adventures in the New River Gorge where I shared a 3-day adventure with a young lady who was a first-time camper. We both enjoyed the friendly, knowledgeable staff and all the amenities, including an outdoor swimming pool, game room, restaurant and saloon.

River Expeditions offers tent camping, safari tents, RV sites, bungalows, mini-cabins, deluxe cabins, and even luxury cabins with private hot tubs. Prices range from$15/night for tent camping to nearly $400 for the luxury cabins with a 15% discount for booking online, and a 50% discount from November 1st to March 3rd. All accommodations include a complimentary continental breakfast. 

River Expeditions is spread out over a 100-acres, with the tent camping located in open meadows, surrounded by trees. The RV camp sites are too close together for my taste and the gravel parking spots are all on a slant, so it would be a challenge for larger trailers to get level there. My camping buddy and I upgraded from my tent to my RV van due to thunderstorms and heavy rain. We selected spot#6 which allowed us to park parallel to the electricity and mostly avoid the downhill slant. 

The New River Gorge National River has some of the best whitewater rafting in the country, so we booked a trip on the lower New River and it was great! River Expeditions has good gear and great guides like Porter who had us cracking up when he shared some local folklore. He gave us lots of opportunities for a relaxing swim outside the raft. We also got to test the power of a whirlpool and jump off a huge rock, while we paddled downstream through the rapids. 

The New River Gorge is a climber’s dream, so we booked an evening of rock climbing with David Wolff, Director of the New River Climbing School and he was amazing! I would describe David as an expert instructor, combined with psychological counselor, who helped my camping buddy cope with her fear of heights during the rappelling portion of the outing. 

There are lots of great hiking trails in the New River Gorge. The 2-mile Endless Wall Trail has been rated the #1 National Park trail by USA Today. The view from Diamond Point is amazing, with the rocky outcroppings overlooking the New River. You’ll often see climbers scaling nearby rock walls and you can watch rafts negotiating the rapids in the river below. Tip: There are two small parking lots which can fill up fast, you may want to arrive early on the weekends. If you have a big party, you can carpool from the Canyon Rim Visitor’s Center which is worth a visit to use their flush toilets and get free trail maps. 

We also hiked the 3-mile Long Point Trail which gives you an amazing view of the New River Bridge, a steel arch bridge, more than 3,000 feet long, which spans the gorge. If you visit on the third Saturday of October, you can join tens of thousands of visitors who watch dare devils base jump from the structure during the annual Bridge Day celebration. 

On the final day of our visit, we tried River Expeditions’ 3-part zipline in the pouring rain, something I wouldn’t repeat because I was too soaked and cold to enjoy the experience. I’d describe it as a beginner’s zipline, so if you’re looking for something more dramatic, with better views, you may want to check out the competition at Ace Adventure Resort

The only negative caveat of our stay was a run-in with the resort owner caused by unpredictable hours for the pool and other amenities, which closed early with no advanced warning.  We were threatened with eviction when I used the half-covered hot tub at 9:30 PM after we were told at check in it stayed open until 10 PM.

Product Review: 

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time, so my camping buddy and I wore Banner and Oak hats during our 3-day adventure in the New River Gorge.

I want to be honest, without trashing Banner and Oak, because I love their American-made hats and would definitely recommend them. 

With that said, I’m disappointed that Banner and Oak has apparently abandoned their founding pledge to sell American-designed and fabricated hats, with 95% of the materials sourced in the United States. 

I noticed the recent change when I opened my sample box and two of three hats inside were made in China and Bangladesh. 

My favorite hat of the trio is the American-made Banner and Oak Scout with a patch that pleases my soul, featuring the phrase“Freedom To Explore” embroidered across the top with a stars and stripes tent centered underneath. This hat is well-made, with quality materials, and generates positive comments whenever I wear it. 

The quality of the China-made Banner and Oak Trailhead hat is fine, but the brand is unknown in West Virginia, so when I showed it to other campers, they wanted to know something about the company. I told them Banner and Oak is a relatively new American apparel brand headquartered in Arkansas, so they seemed confused by the“Made in China” tag inside. 

The hat made in Bangladesh is the Banner and Oak Pathfinder from the women’s line. The quality is noticeably inferior, with puckered seams and the front logo slightly off-center.

All three Banner and Oaks hats I tested have a list price of nearly $30/each, so my buying preference would be for any style of their top-quality, American-made hats, designed, fabricated and sourced in the USA.

My favorite WV state park so far

Quiet, clean and updated. Loved that they had bigger RV lots, with full hookup. Easy walks and if you have kids, great natural water areas and swimming. Make sure you go to both falls!

Great place to stay.

Perfect place to camp if you are going rafting with Ace or if you want to enjoy the waterpark. Great price, nice clean campground and sites are not stacked on top of each other. Very nice shower house about a 3 min walk from the campground. One of my favorite camp sites in that part of the state. So much stuff to do right down the hill without even leaving the resort ! Restaurant and general store at bottom of the hill and a nice pond to wake up and fish in. Mountain bike and hiking trails all over. This is an awesome place to stay.

First stay

This campground was very nice and very clean. The staff was awesome. Spots were nice. Campground was small but quaint. The falls are easily accessible and were beautiful even without an abundance of water. Very relaxing stay…

A whole lot of everything

Campground is in the middle of all your options, nice showers, playgrounds, lodge hiking, water park. Perfect spot to camp with kids. Had a wonderful first time experience will definitely be back.

Great little campground near Mt Hope, WV and near BSA's "Summit"

We had a great time at this campground. Very close to the BSA's"Summit Bechtel" site, where they hold the National Jamborees and held the 2019 World Scout Jamboree. As such, people registered for the full event stayed there, and those of us coming for just a few days stayed at other nearby places, such as Rifrafters. The camp was(understandably) filled with others coming for the Jamboree.:-) 

Campsite was good and clean; short walk for all to the bath house; they ha a small playground, which the kids loved. They have wood for sale, as well as basic camping and food supplies(cans of beans, marshmallows, peanut butter, sodas/pop/cola, etc, lighters/matches, ice, etc). Also had 2 super-lovey kittens living in the office, which were a big hit with everyone. 

The only downsite was that our campsite(#7) had no place for a tent other than stone driveway-like ground. As such, even new, very strong tent stakes bend and do not go in at all…had to weigh the tent down with gear and hope for no super-high gusts of wind. 

Other than that, it was a great experience! Checkout by 12 noon at the latest.

Southern Gospel Non-Profit Camp

     The God's Wilderness Campground wasn't much to brag about, but the couple who run this Christian-themed camp are super-religious, good-hearted people who live full-time on Paradise Island.

     Priscella Cline Smith and her husband host a lot of church groups, revivals and Southern Gospel sings, but they also welcome tent, RV and ATV campers looking for cheap accommodations near the Hatfield-McCoy Trail system

     The campground offers tent camping,  hook-ups for RV's, and lodging in facilities with names such as "The Upper Room Inn," "The New Testament Bunkhouse," and "The Vineyard Bungalow."  I went for the primitive option at $7.00/night and camped next to the Guyandotte River which is known for its good fishing.

     They have some interesting oddities here such as the Teepee Chapel, the "Jesus Praying in the Rock" stone, and the "Passion Trail" portraying Christ's birth, ministry and resurrection.   

     To find Paradise Island, WV, set your GPS for 777 Paradise Island Verner, WV 25650

     If you camp here, I recommend a side-trip to Matewan, WV, a historic town know for the "Matewan Massacre" where abused miners revolted against coal barons and their security thugs.  You can actually see bullet-holes and slugs in the walls around town where Sheriff Sid Hatfield and armed miners shot and killed seven coalmine detectives who came to town with eviction notices for miners trying to organize a union.

Fantastic campground hosts

Staff was excellent, had a great time camping and rafting. Bath house was clean. Will definitely come back again.

Awesome

We were there 4 days extremely peaceful ..only one other camper .. not much shade but beautiful night sky !! Minimal cell service .. 1 mile curvy mountain climb to get here but our 30 ft class A made it just fine !!

Not bad

Nice place in my hometown. Disconnect between the park headquarters and campground check in. Was told no golf carts on campgrounds per the host. However, HQ has written guidelines stating all vehicles must be licensed. Some rules enforced, others are not. Overall we would stay again.

Quiet and Peaceful

Great park. Nice playgrounds clean lots 30 and 50 amp service as well as boondock sites. Waterfalls are easily accessible. Did notice people leaving trash and clothing around them. Garbage cans are all over but people just don't care.

Mountain view

Stayed for 8 days. Arrived for first night on site 7. It had alot to be desired. Although it backed into the woods as soon as we stepped off our steps it was on the ledge of the pad. We moved the next morning to site 9. Site was much better and with a little more room for hanging out. Electrical hook up was on the opposite side of where they should be and in the middle of the small area. Water pressure was good and there was sewage hookups. Overall the full hookup sites , though we're not horrible they are very out dated for the newer larger rigs. Tent are was super nice and the area with just water and electrical could use upgradeing. Plenty of hiking trails but many are muddy messes due to being shared with the horses. If you are camping you have to pay to use the pool at the lodge. Also there are inflatables in a lake, also must pay. Outside of the veiws the highlight of our stay was when we treated ourselves to dinner at the Mountain Creek dinning room. You take a tram ride down and if you eat you get to ride back up for free, normally $7 per person. They have put put, horseback riding swimming pool, and at the lake. A nature center and. hiking trails. Overall had a nice week and recommend the park.

Super Clean and Nice!

Camp Creek State Park is well-managed and beautifully-maintained with an active foundation that raises money for cool stuff like the conversation fire pit with swings, located in the Mash Fork Campground, which is only 2-miles of the I-77 at exit 20 in Mercer County, WV.

Mash Fork is one of four campgrounds at Camp Creek  State Park which all offer picnic tables, grills and fire rings.  Mash Fork has RV and tent sites:  9 sites with electricity, 8 sites with electricity and water, or 9 sites with electricity, water and sewer.  The bathhouses are super nice, there's free WiFi, and they sell exceptionally generous bundles of firewood which the camp host will personally deliver to your site.

There's a small store in the Mash Fork Campground with camping supplies and some souvenirs.  Make sure you check the cooler for local free-range chicken eggs… Yum!

If you're looking for more rustic tent camping, head to the Blue Jay Campground.  If you're a horse owner, the Double C Horse and Rider Camp has 2, 4, or 6 horse occupancy sites all within the 6,000 acre Camp Creek State Park and Forest.

Camp Creek State Park has two beautiful waterfalls.  You can drive to both, but Mash Creek Falls is a short walk from the Mash Fork campground, so make sure you check it out. Campbell Creek Falls has a deep pool at the bottom where you can swim.  Camp Creek is stocked with trout in the spring, so expect to see lots of fishermen along the banks.

If you have time, you can check out 33-miles of trails which are loaded with wildflowers in the spring.

*A little local trivia:  Mash Fork gives you a hint about the area's moonshining past… wink, wink!

Very nice park

Animal friendly staff very helpful !!

Quiet & comfortable

Very quiet, sand bottom site areas right on the water. Bathrooms need extreme cleaning smelled badly. Plenty of Deadwood for the fire pits.

Glade creek

One of my favorite places on this planet. The second oldest river in the world new river meet glade creek at the campgrounds. This place has trails that are to die for. An old railroad runs by glade creek and it is incredible.

Amazing sights and family friendly

Great and peaceful environment. Multiple places to mountain bike, picnic, and camp. Shooting range, and there's hunting allowed in certain areas during the state's deer season. Roads could use some touching up, but overall a great place to be!

Secluded, peaceful sites by the river

I loved the experience I had at stone cliff. The camp sites are well marked and maintained. There are some right on the river and a couple more set back closer to the trail. Great spot to set up a hammock, go swimming, or walk on the nearby trails if you aren’t climbing.

Even with the rainy weather the area wasn’t too muddy and the campsite we stayed at was level so there wasn’t any issue.

There were 2-3 other groups there and it still felt secluded with the sites distance from each other and the wooded area. There’s several easy to access trash cans, a picnic area, and plenty of parking as well.

My dog absolutely loved it-the swimming was A+ and the stick selection was up to her standards 😂

One of My Favorite Places...

This park is quiet, secluded and has plenty of trails to hike! The site I use exclusively has a river running behind it and the sounds lull you to sleep any time of day!

There is a general store that has just about anything you'd need in a pinch to get by. ABSOLUTELY LOVE this park.

Mountaintop and Trailside

Great location to the trails! Hatfield McCoy and the Outlaws!