The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Pipestem Resort State Park

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Aerial tram car at Pipestem Resort State Park
Map of Pipestem Resort State Park

Twelvw miles southwest of Hinton, WV, Pipestem Resort State Park (map) is among West Virginia's most popular state-park destinations. Its 4,200 acres include rolling highlands and the gorge of the Bluestone National Scenic River -- a spectacular setting for its luxury facilities, which include cabins, lodges, and a conference center. The park takes its name from the pipestem plant, growing in nearby glades. Pipestem in spring, summer, and fall hosts a panoply of events that draw many large groups. Visitation in winter is also due to proximity to Winterplace ski resort (45 min. NW), and sledding and cross-country skiing are popular winter pastimes in the park. Its scenic aerial tramway into the Bluestone River Gorge is among its best-known draws.

Park Highlights

Aerial Tramway -- Sightseers may descend more than 3,600 feet into the gorge of the Bluestone River in aerial tram cars. The scenic round-trip ride of about 15 minutes carries passengers to a lodge and restaurant along the river and to the Bluestone River Trail.

Bluestone River Gorge -- The National Park Service manages this cliff-lined gorge of colorful shales and sandstones, the southernmost of four gorges that span the Allegheny highlands in southern West Virginia. The New River Gorge is located just to the north.

Pipestem_Knob -- An observation tower caps the crest of this legendary summit, affording a 360-degree panorama of the Pipestem countryside and the Allegheny Mountains. The knob was an important landmark along the native trail that passed through the area.


Pipestem's two lodges -- McKeever and Mountain Creek -- provide a total 143 guest rooms. Twenty-six luxury cottages are available year round. As park lodging is in demand throughout the year, reservations must be made in advance. Several nearby hotels afford overflow lodging when the park is full, and many nearby cabins are available when park accommodations can't be made. Eighty-two camping sites are available in the park campground in warm weather, and several private campgrounds are located nearby. The McKeever Lodge lobby and Pipestem conference facilities offer wireless service.


The Oak Supper Club, just outside the park, is among several local restaurants worth visiting. Park dining facilities include two restaurants as well as a pub and a cafe. Concessions are open at the pool and in the park campground in summer. Picnic areas are located throughout the park.


Trails -- Twenty park trails provide for local and long-distance hiking and walking. Many are also designated for biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing.

Golf -- Three golf courses are located in the park -- a nine-hole, an 18-hole, and a miniature. The 18-hole, par-72, was designed by Geoffrey Cornish and is open year-round, weather permitting.

Fishing -- Sixteen-acre Long Branch Lake holds bluegill, largemouth bass, and channel catfish. Trout are stocked monthly, Feb.-May. Nearby Bluestone Lake is an exceptionally popular warmwater fishery.

Swimming -- Water recreation includes indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a hot-tub center. Visitors may also splash-about in Indian Branch Falls and wade into the gentle Bluestone River.

Paddle-Boating -- A family favorite, paddle-boating on 16-acre Long Branch Lake is popular in summer. Two-seat boats, powered by foot peddle, are available for rent.

Amphitheater -- The Pipestem Amphitheatre in summer hosts a variety of live performances, musical and theatrical. The amphitheater events schedule is regularly updated.

Nature Center -- Open year-round, the nature center features exhibits of indigenous wildlife, including live rattlesnakes. Nature-study programs are regularly scheduled throughout the year.

Area Attractions

Pipestem Resort State Park is situated in a scenic region of steep-walled gorges and old tableland farms. The area was never industrialized, and much of its landscape has been preserved as park and game land. As a result, Pipestem area real estate is much in demand. Many scenic and historic attractions are located within a half-hour of the park.

Appalachian Trail
Bluestone Lake
Bluestone State Park
Brush Creek Falls
Camp Creek State Park
Pinnacle Rock State Park
Bluestone National Scenic River
Sandstone Falls

See also:

Topo, Aerial Images

Pipestem Resort State Park: Official Website
P.O. Box 150, Pipestem, WV 25979 / Phone: (304) 466-1800