Looking for a camping getaway with great scenery and few people? Summit Lake in the Monongahela National Forest, near Richwood, West Virginia, is a great option!
By: Elizabeth Johnson
As I lie in bed in the mornings, listening to the birds sing me a wake-up song through my open window, I can’t help but get excited for camping season to finally be here again!
I love parts of all seasons, but there is something special about being able to go somewhere surrounded by nature and live primarily outside in it.
Last year we were able to appreciate being outside and enjoying the little things to a much greater degree than we ever have.
Because so many people started to enjoy the outdoors last year, it was hard to find a camping spot.
We are not great at planning ahead, so most of the time what we do is last-minute. Because of this we found our new favorite spot: Summit Lake!
Summit Lake is located in Monongahela National Forest, about 10 miles from Richwood, West Virginia. Check out the description on the forestry service's website.
We felt very safe camping here.
Want to visit other hiking and camping spots in West Virginia? Check out our guides to Kanawha State Forest, Pinnacle Rock State Park, Gray Flats South trail in Beckley, or the Endless Wall and Long Point trails in New River Gorge!
Summit Lake Campground
There are 33 units in the campground, and it is open from April through November.
There are no hook-ups and no water, sewer, or electricity.
We usually only have about five days off in a row, so that’s not a problem for us. We have a small camper that has enough water/waste storage for us.
There are vault toilets and a hand pump for water.
Yes, a hand pump!
You feel like you have accomplished a great feat of strength when you’ve managed to pump your 6-gallon container full of water and made it back to camp!
Check out our guides to the best camping kitchen gear as well as camping gear for couples! With a camp Dutch oven and a Lodge 12" carbon steel skillet, there are a ton of camping recipes you can make.
Because of the lack of amenities, the campground at Summit Lake was never full.
Hopefully, this summer will prove to be the same!
There was no camp host, so no need to interact with anyone. Payment is on the honor system. Grab a paper, fill it out with your payment, and insert it into the “iron ranger” (a metal post with a slit in it).
And did I mention there is a LAKE!
I got an awesome anniversary gift last year: a paddle board. So this was a beyond perfect spot for us.
The lake isn’t large, but it’s great for a relaxing paddle.
There are no swimming spots but plenty of water to splash and cool off with.
If fishing is your thing, it seems like people really like it there.
There is a great trail that circles the entire lake and makes for a great run or walk.
We kept fondly referring to this camping spot as our summer lake home and can’t wait to get back there this year!
Looking for a quick excursion into town? Not far from Summit Lake is Summersville, which has a great little coffee shop called Honeybee Coffee and Donut House!
About Elizabeth + Garrett Johnson
Hi! We are Garrett & Elizabeth from Beckley, WV. To pay the bills we are a firefighter and a nurse. We are also full-time volunteers. We also love backpacking, trail running, camping and hiking. We have 2 dogs who almost always drag us along on the trails. Follow Elizabeth at @smutko.girl.