The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Bluestone National Scenic River

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The Bluestone National Scenic River, in Mercer and Summers counties, protects 11 miles of the canyon of southern West Virginia's Bluestone River. The National Park Service established the parkland in 1988 in association with the nearby New River Gorge National River. Colorful cliffs of shale and sandstone form the walls of this wonderland of forests and waterfalls. Public trail access to the parkland is provided through Pipestem State Park and Bluestone State Park, upstream and downstream of the parkland respectively. The "Bluestone Turnpike Trail," one of the park's primary attractions, follows the Bluestone River Gorge from the trailhead of the "Bluestone River Trail," at Pipestem, to a parking-area trailhead at Bluestone State Park.


Pipestem and Bluestone parks provide cabins and campgrounds for guests, though Pipestem also accommodates an additional 143 guest rooms in its McKeever Lodge and Mountain Creek Lodge. Many private cabins , campgrounds , and country inns may be found near the gorge. Lodging in hotels is widely available in nearby Princeton, WV.


Hiking is one of the most popular activities in the scenic river area. Trails wind through both Bluestone and Pipestem state parks. The seven-mile Bluestone Turnpike Trail follows parts of an old wagon road along the river between the parks.

Fishing: The lower Bluestone River offers excellent warm-water fishing from bank and canoe. Only in spring is the river high enough to accomodate other forms of boating, and then only raft and kayak can manage the flood. Anglers often use the Bluestone Turnpike trail for access. In summer and autumn, the river may be forded in many shallows.

Hunting: The Bluestone National Scenic River accomodates hunting in accord with West Virginia law. Deer, squirrel, raccoon, and wild turkey hunting is among the best in the Eastern U.S. Trappers will find fox, mink, muskrat, and bobcat. Hunting is prohibited in the adjacent state parks.

The Bluestone National Scenic River is located near Princeton, WV, on I-77, and Hinton, WV, on WV Routes 3 and 20. See also: Parks near the Bluestone National Scenic River

Topo Map of the Bluestone National Scenic River