About Holly River State Park
Holly River State Park is located in West Virginia
6 Reviews of Holly River State Park
This campground has plenty to offer for the whole family. The privacy of each site varies, on the weekends it is very busy though. There are 88 campsites with electrical hookups, picnic tables, and fire ring. There are 2 sites with primitive campgrounds. They only allow one tent or trailer on a site. The campground has 4 bathhouses that are centrally localized, it contains flush toilets, hot showers, water spigots, and coin laundry. Dogs are allowed on a leash.
This park has lots of hiking trails, waterfalls, biking, fishing, and horseback riding. The park has a total of 4 waterfalls to explore. They have basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts, and a pool for campers to enjoy. They also have cabins to rent if you are not feeling up to camping.
Beautiful, quite and homey.
There are several trails available. Great sleeping with the Laurel Fork running right my the sites. Perfect if you have children. There is a pool and other activities available. We stayed at sites 35 & 36.
We spent a few days here. Plenty of camp sites that have electric hookups. Stay near the water or further away. Playground for the kids and nice hiking trails. Bath houses were clean. Very friendly staff. Every morning and every night it rained which made it difficult to swim and fish. The park workers said this is common year round. This is a nice quiet area.
Beautiful scenery with plenty of surrounding attractions.
First to Review
As most campgrounds in West Virginia, there is no straight, easy way to get there from here. But…you will be glad you made the extra effort.
I should preface each of my reviews for West Virginia campgrounds and state forests by stating…West Virginia has the nicest and friendliest people I've come across…and that is a pure pleasure in this day and age.
On our month long foray into WV camping and hiking, Holly River State Park was our last stop. We had just left a wonderful experience in Seneca State Forest…(read my review on Thorny Mountain Fire Tower)…drove over Snowshoe Mountain and wound our way down and around to Holly River.
I prefer all car camping at State or National Parks during the weekdays to avoid crowds…and try to stick to wilderness and remote areas during the weekends. So we arrived at Holly River State Park (HRSP) midweek. This is a very popular campground among West Virginians, so be prepared for a busy park during the summer. As luck would have it, school had just started two days earlier (late August 2016) and all of WV was getting hammered with daily rain. Due to those two ingredients, we had our pick of sites.
Upon arrival, there is no doubt in your mind why HRSP is referred to as the rainforest of the east…lush green, moss-covered, mushroom infested, thick ground cover and thick humidity.
As one of the two tent campers in the park…and seeing only another ten RV campers…we had the run of the place. We chose what we thought was a flat site along the Left Fork River. No sooner did we loosely set up camp, a monsoon beset us…giving new meaning to "a river runs through it." Everything runs right off and into the river, which we were positioned next to. It rained every day but two, on our month of camping, so we were not dissuaded. I do recommend bringing additonal tarps to cover any and everything you desire to stay remotely dry.
HRSP offers great hiking throughout and nearby the park. Its hard to travel through WV without hitting a great trail a stone's throw away. Being in a "river valley," long views escape you…but the falls and cascades are beautiful and refreshing. You don't have to drive to the falls, but you had better plan a full day of hiking to get there and back. The Potato Knob trail is awesome…plan it for a day…bring a full hydration pack and trekking poles…it is strenuous but rewarding.
We drove a dirt/gravel road (perfect for the new genre of gravel bikes or MTB) to the parking area above Upper Falls/Shupe's Chute/Lower Falls. Honestly, I am always torn to give rave reviews of new "favorite" spots, for fear hoards will flock and ruin the peaceful serenity of the place. That said…these falls are gorgeous! We enjoyed the entire time alone…and that was near perfection. In speaking with the park ranger, she has worked there 18 years and never visited the lower falls…I found that remarkable…and was sad that she had missed the greater beauty.
The Upper Falls are reached by walking a newer wooden boardwalk and stairway. Masterfully done (much like Blackwater Falls)…but they are super slick…so be careful. You can see where someone had tried to pour something to eliminate the slick algae forming on the wood's smooth surface.
Upper Falls is a peaceful cascade, but not a high volume waterfall…even with all the rain we had experienced. I imagine it is even more impressive in the spring and early summer. We did spend an hour or so lingering, and walking along the river bed…seeking crawdads and counting various fish.
Walking down a wide and well maintained trail to Shupe's Chute, you have constant visual and great photo opportunities of the river. Shupe's Chute is just that, a natural chute water-carved through the rock, where the water picks up speed through the narrows and jettisons down the heights for yet another cascade into what appeared to be a very deep pool. I didn't brave the deep waters…only because I wasn't hot enough at the time. Several smaller cascades in that area. The well-maintained trail ends there. In fact, the trails are clearly and abundantly marked up to that point. There was an arrow indicating the Lower Falls further down the muddy, narrow trail that led to a river crossing…but nothing more on the far side.
Feeling adventurous, we slogged through the river and found the old, untraveled, overgrown trail went both directions along the river. We deduced that the Lower Falls…well…must be down river…so we followed the trail with the downward flow of the river. Deadfall was abundant, so you do have to shinny up and over downed and moss covered trees…or skirt around blazing new side trails. Though it probably wasn't really that far, it seemed it…but the sound of water crashing kept you going. Interestingly, just above the Lower Falls, there is a rock wall. Old and obviously precisely laid by man some time ago…but no indication why or when…and everywhere you turned was thick, dense forest. (more on that later)
You do have to scamper down a loose, muddy, root covered hill to actually get to and visibily see the Lower Falls. For the young…no problem…for older folks or those with knee injuries…be warned. The Lower Falls are far more beautiful, picturesque and refreshing than Upper Falls…but please, don't tell anyone. We played and relaxed there for quite a while.
The short jaunt did not seem so long or arduous on the return to the parking area…where I met an older gentleman that shared that he grew up in a "pretty good size town down there in that holler, we pulled coal from the ground." What??! There was actually a town down in there?? Well, that explains the rock wall…and definitely peaked my interest to return and explore for the remains of that town in the dense river valley forest.
You can check out the park's website at http://www.hollyriver.com/
I give the park an enthusiastic two thumbs up!