The following article is a paid collaboration with Wild, Wonderful West Virginia.
Forget overcrowded campsites! The next time you explore the rugged West Virginia wilderness, check out our list of under-the-radar campsites. Whether you want to cast a line in search of a big catch, or you’re looking for a your next climbing project, West Virginia has some great off-the-beaten-path options. Pick one, grab your tent, and head out to some of the most remote areas in the state!
1. Dam Site, Summersville
Dam Site is just outside one of the most popular climbing areas on the East Coast, the New River Gorge, but it gets far less traffic than other campsites in the area. The most off-the-grid camping at the Dam Site is on the south side of Summersville Lake, and the whole area is well-protected and very clean. If you have any company at all, it will probably be climbers in search of the sport routes around the lake.
2. Bear Heaven Campground, Elkins
Escape the summer heat at Bear Heaven Campground—a well-shaded, primitive campsite. There are only eight sites, but they’re rarely all full, even during peak hiking and fishing seasons.
Tucked away in the Monongahela National Forest, one of the best things about this place is that there’s a lot of land to explore right around the campground, or you can go for a longer hike to the summit of one of the Allegheny Mountains. The forest is one of the most diverse in the country, with at least 75 species of trees and more than 220 species of birds, so this secluded spot makes a great homebase if you like exploring trails and looking for wildlife.
3. Grandview Sandbar Campground, Beaver
Grandview Sandbar Campground is fairly remote, and mostly used by rock climbers headed to the New River Gorge. Even though it’s near a popular recreation spot, the rough gravel road that leads to this camping area gives you more privacy. With fire rings, picnic tables and the river nearby, it will be tough to leave after the 14-day limit!
4. Hawk Campground, Wardensville
Hawk Campground is smack-dab inside George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in the Allegheny Mountains. The higher elevation keeps the area cool during hotter months, but the best time to visit is during the spring when it blooms with wildflowers.
This place is scattered with prime hiking trails, and most of the trails have plenty of shade. This is the site if you want to set up camp and explore the forests, or if you are backpacking through and just need a spot to pitch a tent for the night.
5. Buffalo Lake Campground, Bartow
Fishermen, rejoice! This is your go-to site. The Buffalo Lake Campground is a primitive area adjacent to a 55-acre lake. The lake is well-stocked with trout, and there is a limited warmwater fishery nearby for smallmouth bass, bluegill, green sunfish and channel catfish. This quiet space is the perfect getaway for a long weekend.
6. Island Campground, Bartow
Another great spot if you want to go fishing is the Island Campground, just north of Buffalo Lake Campground. You can still get to the trout-stocked lake, but this site is also close to Long Run and the East Fork of the Greenbrier River, so there are even more opportunities for fishing. After a long day on the water, sit back and relax by the fire as you cook the day's catch.
7. Spruce Knob Lake Campground, Dry Fork
Spruce Knob is the highest point in the entire state of West Virginia, and just west of the mountain is a 25-acre lake stocked with trout. The Spruce Knob Lake Campground has easy access to the lake, an excellent view of the mountain, and is peaceful and quiet.
This campground is a bit larger than most on this list, with almost 30 individual sites, but only 12 of them allow car camping, so you can hike into the others if you want to get away from your fellow campers.
Find more mountain camping spots.