Jennifer B.
Reviewed Sep. 22, 2019

Easy Access to Cranberry Wilderness

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.

  • Access road is 10-miles of gravel so expect lots of dust.
  • Cranberry Campground is in black bear country.
  • Camping sites are roomy with grass for tents, but not much shade.
  • Two sites across a small bridge are shady and reserved for tents.
  • Cranberry River is close-by and so is access to Cranberry Wilderness trails.
  • Really nice adjustable fire pit grill.
  • Free book exchange library--Nice touch.
  • Lots of wildflowers
  • Lots of wildflowers
  • A few fall leaves in September, but peak will be in October.
  • Mural in Richwood, a former lumber boom  town.
  • Main drag in Richwood.
  • Whistle Punk is a great local eatery/brewery.  Excellent local coffee custom blended by Cranberry Coffee Co.
  • Lumber mill established in 1901 has suffered lots of layoffs.
  • Sample of stairs to access Falls of Hills Creek
  • Steep staircase to access Falls of Hills Creek
  • Middle falls at Falls of Hills Creek
  • Lower falls at Falls of  Hills Creek
  • More wildflowers than fall leaves in September
  • Yellow jewel weed

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