A popular semi-primitive campground adjacent to the Cranberry River and the "lowergate" entrance to the Cranberry Backcountry. This campground receives very high use during trout stocking from the beginning of spring through the end of June and again in the fall from September through October. During these high use times there are usually more campers waiting than there are sites available. During high use, the centrally located Bishop Knob Campground can usually accommodate campers when no sites are available along the Cranberry or Williams River Corridors.
Located on Forest Road 76, 13.5 miles from Richwood, West Virginia, and 7 miles from Dyer, West Virginia.
We stayed one night at Cranberry Campground during Columbus Day weekend, it was busier than the other two campgrounds (Big Rock and Bishop Knob) and was primarily occupied by RV campers who tended to park nearest the toilets. We found a good tucked in site (#27) that was close to the water pump and was surrounded by the woods. The two walk-up site (#23 + #24) were also tucked away nicely and were not far at all from where a car would park, I would suggest this if you needed two sites and wanted some privacy. $10 a night, has picnic table, water pump, toilets, and lantern thingy. This campground was close enough to the river but the sites are not directly on the river side.
With RVers comes generators and happily they complied with the 10pm - 6am quiet times. However, my style of camping is back country seclusion accessible by car (and a picnic table and a water pump), I know I'm ridiculous. So we moved the next day to an empty 5-site campground ($5 a night) right on the river and between Big Rock and Cranberry campgrounds. Highly recommend the campsites along the river! Access to fishing is directly from your campsite, the water sounds so nice at night, and I love the river side exploring.
Additional bonus for those visiting in the fall is the periodic apple tree. We had one right next to our site and happily snacked on a few.
Monogahela- Gauley Ranger District…
I found all three campgrounds easy to find and the signage from Forest Road 76 was suffiecient. We rarely had GPS on the back roads and mountain area in WV so be sure to print directions jic. Had service in Richwood though, which I recommend checking out if you have a rainy day or you need last minute camping supplies. They have an outfitter, Four Seasons Outfitter, that we purchased our firewood from(it rained so"dead and down" wasn't gonna help). They might sell fishing license too but we bought our fishing licenses from a different outfitter in Marlinton, WV. Marlinton is also a good pit stop.
This area of Monogahela was lovely, there were tons of great spots along the Cranberry River to explore. We heard and/or saw some wildlife/signs of wild life. No bears which is good I guess, we were careful not to attract them to our campsite. I was surprised not to see or be visited by a ranger while were at Monogahela (two nights) especially given that it was a holiday weekend.
The Cranberry Campground is a semi-primitive campground located next to the Cranberry River which gets high-use during the trout stocking season in the spring and summer. It's first-come, first-serve, so there's often more demand than supply during the peak season.
Each campsite has a picnic table, fire ring and lamp-hanging post. There are a couple hand-pumps to access well water, and some self-ventilating pit toilets which are surprising odor-free.
The Cranberry Campground can accommodate tent campers as well as RV's and 5th-wheelers up to 40-feet long. There are 28-single campsites, plus 2 double campsites in 2-separate loops. No electricity, or hook-ups. There's a dump station for an extra$5 fee.
If you're in a tent, there are 2 campsites across a bridge in a heavily-wooded area for more privacy. There are also good tent camping sites along the Cranberry River and more sites in the Bishop Knob campground, plus free shelters for backpackers long the 16-mile Cranberry Wilderness Trail, if you want to avoid a bunch of RV campers.
No firewood for sale, but you're welcome to gather whatever limbs, logs, etc. that you find on the ground and in the surrounding forest. This is bear-country, so food needs to be kept out of reach of black bears. Dogs are allowed, but must be kept on a leash at all times.
I camped in mid-September and only saw one other couple my entire stay. This is a great camping spot for easy access to numerous trails in the Cranberry Wilderness and Cranberry Backcountry. It's also a great location to access the Cranberry Glades Boardwalk, Cranberry Mountain Nature Center and the Highland Scenic Highway.
If you drive the Highland Scenic Highway, I recommend a stop at the Falls of Hills Creek. The trail can be difficult, with dozens of steep stairs, but worth the effort to see the 45-foot middle falls and the 65-foot lower falls. Beautiful, even though the water was low during my visit.
The water was too low for kayaking during my visit, but when it's up, the middle Cranberry River has Class-III and Class-IV rapids.
Directions from Richwood: Drive one mile east on State Route 39/55, then 12.5 miles north on Forest Road 76.
You can get a good maps here:
Gauley Ranger District Office: 932 North Fork Cherry Road Richwood, WV 26261 Cranberry Mountain Nature Center near the junction of WV 150& WV 39. It's closed mid-week, but I was able to get a map from the outside literature rack.
Cranberry Campground is located in West Virginia close to the town of Richwood on the Cranberry River. All the sites are rustic. You aren't on top of one another in campsites; there is ample space between the 40-50 sites. The campground is quiet at night, and there aren’t any major highways for a good 20 miles. At night you will hear the sounds of the Cranberry River since it is situated right beside the Campground. Also, you will hear hoot owls and an occasional team of hounds on the mountain hunting for raccoons,. There are many black bears in the area that love to get into any cooler left out in the open. The Cranberry is a great place for trout fishing with 20 plus miles of stream that is easily accessible by a wide road that runs along the stream. note-no vehicles aloud. bikes and walking are the only options.
There isn't any shower houses. There is however a bathroom that has a single toilet that is stocked with toilet paper regularly by the park rangers. A lot of trout fisherman camp here during the early part of the year in January and until spring for optimal trout fishing. The temperature is always ten or so degrees cooler at the campground because you are in the mountains and at the basin next to the cool stream. Packing gear for the hot of the day and the cool of the night is essential even in July. There are many things to do besides fishing and hiking. Down the road a few miles is a fire lookout tower that is accessible to the general public. Also about 5-10 miles down the road on the other side of Richwood is the Falls of Hills Creek waterfalls, and the Cranberry botanical Gardens. The campsites all have fire pit rings with a heavy duty grill attachments for cooking. There is plenty of fallen wood in the nearby woods to start a fire with. Note- it is illegal to bring in your own fire wood. Also, there isn't any cell phone reception…period. Keep this in mind in case of an emergency. Cell phone reception is a good 15-20 minute drive on a gravel road for cell phone reception and to the closest town of Richwood. You can also hike anywhere on the cranberry River trail and set up campsites along the River.