Babcock State Park is a must-see! Beyond the iconic Grist Mill, the park has numerous scenic trails, a beautiful stream, and a relaxing vibe that will help you forget about your worries.
Hikes And Top Sights In Babcock State Park, West Virginia
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Glade Creek Grist Mill
The star attraction of Babcock State Park is the Glade Creek Grist Mill. The mill is actually recreated from three different grist mills. The main part of its structure came from the Stoney Creek Grist Mill that dates back to 1890. The pieces of the three mills were brought to Babcock State park and assembled. The Glade Creek Grist Mill was completed in 1976 and is fully operational. Depending on stream conditions, guests can purchase cornmeal that has been ground on site.
Although I am a huge fan of RVing, I have been sending hints my husband’s way that I would love to be surprised by a weekend stay at one of these cabins ever since we visited Babcock State Park.
They look so cozy and inviting. I googled what the insides look like and now I can’t stop imagining curling up by one of their wood fireplaces with a good book on a cold wintry weekend.
There are 28 of these cabins available for rent in the park. They vary in size and luxury and a few are pet-friendly.
The park also has a 52 site campground, roughly half the sites have electric hook-ups.
Island In The Sky Trail
Island in the sky trail takes you up to the top of an island of rock. To get there, you climb around a cliff and then through large boulders. You are supposed to see beautiful views from the top, but the day we were there it was foggy so we did not get to see any views at all. The trail starts near the Grist mill and ends on one of the park roads. The trail is half a mile in length and doable by all except those who can’t manage stairs.
You can make a loop out of Skyline Trail by adding in Rocky Trail, Narrow Gauge Trail, and a short walk on Sewell Road. That is pretty much what we did, although we decided to skip the part of the Skyline trail that goes beyond Rocky Trail since it was foggy. If you go on a sunny day, you are going to want to hike to the end as just the few glimpses we got of the valley views convinced me that if we ever do make it back to Babcock State Park, we are redoing the Skyline trail to see the views we missed.
Although we missed out on the views along the Skyline trail, we did enjoy walking on a blanket of colorful fall leaves.
The Rocky Trail is a connector trail between the Skyline and the Narrow Gauge trail. It consists of a staircase made of stones put in place by the CCC back in the 1930s. When these stones are covered in wet leaves, they are slippery, yet beautiful.
Narrow Gauge Trail
The Narrow Gauge trail follows an old railway line. This makes the trail wide enough to walk hand in hand while you soak up the views of the surrounding woods and stream.
A swinging suspension bridge crosses Glade Creek along this trail. If you are not a fan of swinging bridges, you won’t have any issues crossing this bridge; it is super solid and swings very little. It is a great spot to get pictures of the water flowing over the rocks in the stream–and perhaps even a selfie!
Old Sewell Road
The Narrow Gauge trail comes to an end at Old Sewell Road. You can follow the road back to wherever you parked your car. The road passes by a few different rock formations along the way and several of the picturesque cabins.
There are a few more trails in the park, including:
Old Pond Trail–1.5 miles
Ridge Top Trail–2 miles
Lake View Trail–1 mile
Mann’s Creek Gorge Trail–2 miles
Mountain Heath Trail–.25 miles
North Slope Trail–.5 miles
Triple Creek Trail–1 mile
Twin Hollow Trail–.5 miles
Wilderness Trail–1.5 miles
Each trail has something unique to it that makes it worth the hike. Unfortunately, we had just half a day to spend in the park. We hope to get back and hike more of the trails in Babcock State Park one day–but then again, we leave just about every area we explore with that hope.
On our way out of the park, we decided to check out the natural arch that we saw marked on the map of the park. Now, of course, every arch in nature is beautiful and unique in its own way, but this arch can’t compete with the arches we have seen in places such as the Red River Gorge area and the giant one found in Virginia just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Despite the lack of a WOW arch, Babcock State Park in West Virginia is drop-dead gorgeous and it needs to be on your “must explore” bucket list. And while you are in the area, be sure to check out America’s newest National Park.
WHERE WE HAVE TRAVELED LATELY
POSTS TO HELP YOU TRAVEL MORE FOR LESS
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