Monongahela National Forest sets opening dates for recreation sites

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Monongahela National Forest sets opening dates for recreation sites
September hues begin to color the view of the Potomac country from the Dolly Sods Wilderness in Tucker County in the Allegheny Highlands Region. Photo by Rick Burgess

ELKINS, W.Va. — Officials at the Monongahela National Forest have announced the 2023 opening dates for developed recreation sites across the 921,000 acres forest in eastern West Virginia.

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Campground and picnic shelter reservations for some sites may be made at , and roadside camping, or dispersed camping, is available in much of the forest year-round.

According to forest service media specialist Kelley Bridges, the following dates may change based on .


Elkins and Parsons Areas

Cheat-Potomac Ranger District (304-478-2000)

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  • Bear Heaven Campground / April 14
  • Horseshoe Recreation Area / May 12
  • Lower Glady Dispersed Camping (Forest Road 162) / Open when snow-free; toilets open April 14
  • Stuart Recreation Area / April 21

Petersburg and Seneca Rocks Areas

Cheat-Potomac Ranger District (304-257-4488)

  • Big Bend Campground / April 7
  • Dolly Sods Picnic Area / April 15, weather permitting
  • Forest Road 19 in the Dolly Sods area / April 1, weather permitting
  • Forest Road 75 in the Dolly sods area / April 15, weather permitting
  • Gandy Creek Dispersed Camping (County Route 29) / Area opens when snow-free; toilets open April 14
  • Gatewood Group Campground / April 21
  • Jess Judy Group Campground / April 7
  • Red Creek Campground / April 15, weather permitting
  • Seneca Rocks Discovery Center / March 31
  • Seneca Rocks Picnic Area / March 31
  • Seneca Shadows Campground / April 7
  • Spruce Knob Lake / Lake open year-round; toilets open April 14
  • Spruce Knob Lake Campground / April 21
  • Spruce Knob Observation Tower / Area opens when snow-free; toilets open April 14

Bartow Area

Greenbrier Ranger District (304-456-3335)

  • Gaudineer Knob Picnic Area / Area opens when snow-free; toilets open April 14
  • Island Campground / April 14
  • Lake Buffalo / Lake open year-round; toilets open April 14
  • Laurel Fork Campground / April 14
  • Little River Dispersed Camping (Forest Road 17) / Area opens when snow-free
  • Middle Mountain Cabins / April 14
  • Mower Tract Dispersed Camping (Forest Road 227) / Area opens when snow-free
  • Old House Run Picnic Area / April 14
  • Stonecoal Dispersed Camping (Forest Road 209) / Area opens when snow-free; toilets open April 15

Richwood Area

Gauley Ranger District (304-846-2695)

  • Bear Run Dispersed Camping (Forest Road 223) / Area opens when snow-free
  • Big Rock Campground / April 7
  • Bishop Knob Campground / April 21
  • Cranberry Campground / April 7
  • Cranberry Glades Boardwalk / Boardwalk is open year-round; toilets available April 13
  • Cranberry Mountain Nature Center / April 13
  • Cranberry River Developed Dispersed Campsites / Area opens when snow-free; toilets open April 7
  • Falls of Hills Creek / Area opens when snow-free; toilets open April 7
  • North Bend Picnic Area / April 7
  • Summit Lake / Lake is open year-round; toilets open April 7
  • Summit Lake Campground / April 7
  • Third Bridge and North Bend Dispersed Camping (State Route 55) / Area opens when snow-free
  • Williams River Developed Dispersed Campsites (Sites Nos. 1-to-6, Nos. 8-to-20) / Area opens when snow-free; toilets open April 7
  • Woodbine Picnic Area / April 7

Marlinton Area

Marlinton-White Sulphur Springs Ranger District (304-799-4334)

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  • Day Run Campground / April 7
  • Highland Scenic Highway / Opens when snow-free; toilets open April 7, weather permitting.
  • Pocahontas Campground / April 14
  • Rimel Picnic Area / April 7
  • Tea Creek Campground / April 7
  • Williams River Developed Dispersed Campsites / opens when snow-free; toilets open April 7
  • Williams River Fishing Pier / Area opens when snow-free; toilet open April 7

White Sulphur Springs Area

Marlinton-White Sulphur Springs Ranger District (304-536-2144)

  • Anthony Creek Dispersed Camping (WV-21/2) / Area opens when snow-free
  • Blue Bend Recreation Area / Campground and small pavilion opens March 24.  Large Pavilion opens May 19.
  • Blue Meadow Group Campground / May 19
  • Hopkins Mountain Fireman’s Cabin / April 7
  • Lake Sherwood Recreation Area boat ramp and trailhead / open year-round
  • Lake Sherwood Recreation Area entrance road dispersed camping (WV-14) / opens when snow-free
  • Lake Sherwood Recreation Area West Shore Camping Loop / April 14
  • Lake Sherwood Recreation Area remaining campground loops, group camping, picnic area, picnic pavilion and swimming beach / May 19.  Day-Use fees will be charged beginning May 19.

For more information about recreation facilities, contact the near the location you would like to visit.

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