The West Virginia. Cyclopedia
Babcock State Park
In Fayette County, east of Fayetteville, WV, Babcock State Park (map) is among West Virginia's most popular state-park destinations and is perhaps best known as the location of the Glade Creek Grist Mill, one of the most photographed scenic landmarks in the eastern U.S.
More than 4,120 acres of forest are protected by the park, including those of the Mann's Creek Gorge, a tributary canyon of the New River Gorge. Large parts of the park's highlands on Mann Mountain open onto spectacular overlooks. Cabins and campsites are provided for long-term park visitors, and its facilities include, a restaurant, a summer pool, a sundries shop, and the mill, where visitors can watch grist being milled and purchase meal. The ghost town of Sewell, WV, is located at the mouth of the Mann's Creek Gorge on New River in one the park's most remote areas. Old Sewell Road, a 5.5-mile jeep trail, descends the south wall of the gorge from the mill to the old town, where walls of brick and stone await the inspection of intrepid explorers. The trail may be hiked, but is generally impassable by motor vehicle other than high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicles. Built by the Civilians Conservation Corps in the 1930s, many of the park's greater and lesser structures are historically and architecturally significant. The steeply sloping grounds of its administration building include cut-stone terraces that descend through rhododendron to the creekside.
Babcock maintains more than 20 miles of trail open to hiking and 10 miles for biking and horseback-riding. Most wander the park's uplands and skirt the sandstone cliffs that rim the Mann's Creek Gorge. The Raleigh Sandstone, which forms the cliffs at Grandview State Park, some 20-miles south of Babcock, outcrops here as the cliff at the observation shelter on Island-in-the-Sky Trail and has eroded into the "tunnel" on Natural Arch Trail. Many short trails near the park's picnic area are convenient for short woodland hikes; its longest follow or descend the gorges of Mann's Creek and Glade Creek.
Recreation: hiking, biking, game courts, playground, paddle-boating, horseback-riding, pool-swimming, lake and stream fishing
Lodging: 28 cabins; 52 camping sites
Dining: restaurant, concessions, picnic areas
Highlights: Boley Lake, Island-in-the-Sky Overlook, Glade Creek Gristmill
Additional Sources of Information
Babcock State Park: Official Website
Map: Babcock State Park