Not far from Huntington, West Virginia, you can find hiking, camping, and lake recreation at Beech Fork State Park. Enjoy exploring its 3,000 acres!
Images by Matthew Durfee of Vista Fine Art Photography
Since it opened in 1979, Beech Fork State Park has been a nature getaway for families living around Huntington and Barboursville, West Virginia.
That was just a few years after Beech Fork Lake was created. Similar to Cave Run Lake in eastern Kentucky, Beech Fork helps with flood control — and at the same time, its 31 miles of shoreline provide an easy destination for boating, fishing, and more.
I've been to lots of group picnics here, and I used to go swimming at the small beach area when I was little.
Are you curious about what Beech Fork State Park has to offer? Here's what to expect if you visit.
Camping at Beech Fork State Park
There are hundreds of campsites (including many on the lakefront!) divided between four different areas of the park. During peak season, you can make reservations online.
Only one of the campground areas, "Old Orchard," is open year-round. If you haven't tried winter camping before and want to, here's a collection of my favorite women's outdoor gear for the cold.
A camper's store, open seasonally at the headquarters building, will supply your basic needs like firewood, ice, and some groceries.
Each campground area has a bathhouse and laundry facilities. Three of the campground areas also have playgrounds.
Don't want to rough it? There are also six furnished cabins available for rent year-round. They have full kitchens, a gas fireplace, and central heat and air conditioning.
Hiking at Beech Fork State Park
There are eight trails of various difficulty level in the park. You can find a map at the state park website.
I've enjoyed the hiking trails, specifically the Lost Trail and the Mary Davis Trail. The Lost Trail is 3.5 miles long and steep in some areas. In fact, it even became part of my prep for a backpacking trip to Yosemite.
The Lost Trail and part of the Mary Davis Trail are pretty popular with mountain bikers too. (See my guide to mountain biking gear for beginners if you're just starting out.)
Take care to pay attention to the trail map (or use a digital trail map) if you hike the Mary Davis Trail, because it's not always clearly marked. It's about five miles long and can be strenuous. Also, parts of the trail flood if there's been lots of rain. But it's a fun trail!
The Lost Trail begins near the Moxley Branch campground area, and the Mary Davis Trail is a spur off of it.
It's free to enter to hike, even though you go past the camper check-in/pay area.
Boating and Other Recreation
Not far from the park headquarters and the Old Orchard camping area are two disc golf courses. It's free to play, and you can buy or rent discs at the camper's store.
For boating, you'll head to the dock, located between the Lakeview and Four Coves camping areas.
You can rent canoes, kayaks, jon boats, paddle boats, and paddle boards during the summer. Up-to-date rental information can be found on the marina's Facebook page.
On the east side of the park, a swimming pool and snack bar are open to the general public Tuesdays through Sundays during the summer.
On this side of the park, you'll also find multiple picnic shelters, a ball field and courts, and another playground. Perfect for a group events!
If you're not familiar yet with Beech Fork State Park, it might just be the summer weekend getaway you're looking for. Let us know in the comments what trails you like there!