Babcock State Park is one of the greatest parks in West Virginia. Most people come to see the grist mill, and it’s nice, but if that’s all you do your missing out.
For starters, most of the sites at the campground are great: fairly flat with soft ground and good tree coverage. The campground is split by Old Clifftop Rd, with the majority of the campground south of the road. We stayed on Site 15 (non-electric site), which I thought was one of the best sites. The campground was quiet, family-friendly, and clean. Some of the campsites were small and right on top of each other.
The campground is served by one bathhouse, centrally located in the middle of it. The bathhouse was fairly clean but well-used and includes flush toilets, showers, and hot water. A fairly new playground sits right next to the bathhouse. All the equipment was well-maintained and freshly mulched. Our site was close enough to the playground that we let our seven-year-old go by herself, since we could still hear her.
We only hiked on two trails, but it was some of the most fun hiking I’ve ever done. Mann’s Creek Gorge Trail is a two-mile walk from the campground to Camp Washington Carver. About a quarter of a mile you come the creek with a great swimming hole. We didn’t make it past the swimming hole but I’m looking forward to finishing the trail in the future. Island-In-the-Sky is a great climb through a tunnel of rhododendron that eventually winds up and around a rock shelf. To get to the top you have to climb up a couple ladders and over rocks. There are also several spurs off the trail that lead to overlooks and one that leads to a good size cave the size of the room.
I highly recommend that anyone looking to camp in the Fayetteville-area consider Babcock, you won’t be disappointed.
Nice campground. The park is spectacular. The most photographed place in west Virginia is the grist mill. Awesome trails all around.
Great Campground! It was quiet, clean, and there is so much to do in the park - hiking, mountain biking and there is really good paddling and climbing nearby.
gorgeous area, beautiful trails. clean bathrooms. very small camp store. WiFi
Babcock State Park, located in the thriving megapolis of Clifton, West Virginia is postcard perfect! https://wvstateparks.com/park/babcock-state-park/
The road in off the highway isn't too long, but it seemed long, winding, and up and down…especially as night fell. Driving backcountry roads in West Virginia, at night, is not my idea of fun, as I had several near misses with Bambi and her roving gang of miscreants…having no regard for traffic laws…and one knock down, drag out with minimal vehicle damage.
One of the beauties of West Virginia…it is a sparsely populated state with open, unchoked roads that lead to some of the most amazing sights. You must be willing to explore, but you will be richly rewarded.
In the dark, I did pass the campground signs without seeing them and turned into the State Park entrance…wound around past rental cabins to the park office, so I had to backtrack to the campground, which is located in a different area altogether. Driven during daylight hours, the signs are very apparent…so I'm blaming it on the deer.
We arrived midweek, the first of May, so we did not reserve a site. The campground has 52 sites, so I thought we would have a good shot as a walk-in. No worries…we shared the campground with two other campers. Our campsite (site 32) was on the inner loop of the main campground loop at sits around 2450 ft elevation. The temperature got down to 30 degrees and frost covered everything. Twenty eight sites have electric hook-ups ($28) and twenty four do not ($25). The inner loop has some mature trees but is wide open and close cut grass…every camper has a view of the other. Even the outside sites on the main loop are visible. The smaller loop to the right as you enter and a few sites to the left sit in slightly more wooded sites…but there is no foliage separating sites. There is also sites on the opposite side of the roadway when you enter the campground, but seem more like overflow sites…and a fair distance to trek for the showerhouse/restroom/laundry which is situated on the bottom of the main loop.
There is plenty of gravel parking pad for large RV/Campers at all the sites and are angled for trailer back-in. Tent pads are not define and grassy (or a muddy mix depending on weather and usage). Each site has a picnic table and fire ring.
The showerhouse/restroom is located at the front of the loop and was spotless and maintained at the time of our stay…but not climate controlled…as in, not heated. The ladies that keep the park facilities clean worked tirelessly. A very nice activity area for kids sat along the inner portion o the main loop.
The main entrance to the park offers several cabin rental, from economy to 4 bedroom, the park office/visitor's center/gift shop sit along the river. The park office staff were very helpful, friendly and wear many hats…like most state parks.
This building and surrounding stone structures, retaining walls, and staircases were built by the CCC and are magnificent and in great shape. The beautiful gift shop was once a former park restaurant of a bygone era.
Ranger Cochrane was a wealth of information about the park, it's history and neighboring parks. He graciously spent time answering my barrage of questions. Ranger Cochrane was yet another tribute to the fine personnel that WV parks have in place.
The park office is also the best location for postcard perfect pictures of the raging whitewater and gristmill. While not the original gristmill from this location, three remaining gristmills from around the state were dismantled and rebuilt into one at the present location over 30 years ago. The gristmill was very photogenic in the early Spring, but I can only imagine the splendor when the fall leaves change color.
Whitewater kayakers were readying to put in on the rain swollen and boulder strewn river that feeds into the New River below.
Boley Lake, a short drive up the mountain is picturesque and well-stoked with fish. You can paddle the 19 acre lake with personal paddle craft or rent paddleboats, canoes or rowboats from the Boley Lake Marina. Fishing is permitted, but you must have proper licensing…which can be purchased online.
Trails are everywhere and of every terrain and level of difficulty…over 20 miles of trails total. Babcock State Park is 4,127 acres, so there is plenty to see and do. Bicycling can be done on all park paved and gravel roads (no off-road trails), as well as along the Narrow Gauge Trail. And of course, being not too far from The New River and Gauley River…whitewater rafting is close.