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 2024 opening dates for developed recreation sites across the 921,000-acre 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 National Forest Service public affairs specialist Tina White, the following dates may change based on .

As an essential safety reminder, White says the lack of cell phone service in the Monongahela National Forest should be considered when planning a trip

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"But with a little preparation, you can unplug and still have a safe and fun trip," she says. Learn about recreating safely and responsibly in the national forest at .


Elkins and Parsons Areas

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

  • Bear Heaven Campground – April 15
  • Horseshoe Recreation Area – May 13
  • Lower Glady Dispersed Camping (Forest Road 162) – The area opens when snow-free; toilets open on April 15
  • Stuart Recreation Area – April 19

Petersburg and Seneca Rocks Areas

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

  • Big Bend Campground – April 12
  • 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) - The area opens when snow-free; toilets open on April 15
  • Gatewood Group Campground – April 19
  • Jess Judy Group Campground – April 12
  • Red Creek Campground – April 15, weather permitting
  • Seneca Rocks Discovery Center – April 5
  • Seneca Rocks Picnic Area – April 1
  • Seneca Shadows Campground – April 12
  • Spruce Knob Lake – Lake open year-round; toilets open April 15
  • Spruce Knob Lake Campground – April 19
  • Spruce Knob Observation Tower – Area opens when snow-free; toilets open April 15

Bartow Area

Greenbrier Ranger District (304-456-3335)

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

Richwood Area

Gauley Ranger District (304-846-2695)

  • Bear Run Dispersed Camping (Forest Road 223) – The area opens when snow-free
  • Big Rock Campground – March 29
  • Bishop Knob Campground – April 19
  • Cranberry Campground – March 29
  • Cranberry Glades Boardwalk – The boardwalk is open year-round; toilets open on April 12
  • Cranberry Mountain Nature Center – April 15
  • Cranberry River Developed Dispersed Campsites – Area opens when snow-free; toilets open March 29
  • Falls of Hills Creek – The area opens when snow-free; toilets open on April 12
  • North Bend Picnic Area – April 5
  • Summit Lake – The lake is open year-round; toilets open on April 5
  • Summit Lake Campground – April 5
  • Third Bridge and North Bend Dispersed Camping (State Route 55) – The area opens when snow-free
  • Williams River Developed Dispersed Campsites (sites #1 to #6, #8 to #20) – The area opens when snow-free; toilets open on March 29.
  • Woodbine Picnic Area – April 5

Marlinton Area

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

  • Day Run Campground – March 29
  • Highland Scenic Highway – The road opens when snow-free.
  • Pocahontas Campground – April 12
  • Rimel Picnic Area – March 29
  • Tea Creek Campground – March 29
  • Williams River Developed Dispersed Campsites (sites #21 to #30) – Area opens when snow-free; toilets open March 29
  • Williams River Fishing Pier – Area opens when snow-free; toilet open March 29

White Sulphur Springs Area

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

  • Anthony Creek Dispersed Camping (State Route 21/2) – The area opens when snow-free
  • Blue Bend Recreation Area – Campground and small pavilion opens March 29.  The large Pavilion opens on May 17.
  • Blue Meadow Group Campground – May 17
  • Hopkins Mountain Fireman’s Cabin – April 12
  • Lake Sherwood Recreation Area boat ramp and trailhead – open year-round
  • Lake Sherwood Recreation Area entrance road dispersed camping (State Route 14) – opens when snow-free
  • Lake Sherwood Recreation Area West Shore Camping Loop – April 12
  • Lake Sherwood Recreation Area remaining campground loops, group camping, picnic area, picnic pavilion, and swimming beach – May 20.  Day Use fee will be charged beginning May 20.

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

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