Nature lovers, birdwatchers and history buffs alike love Watters Smith State Memorial Park, a 532-acre day-use park south of Clarksburg, WV. The park is rich in history, so it has earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. It was a working farm in the late 1700s, but is now a historic landmark and park (with well-preserved farm buildings). It has several recreational facilities, including a seasonal pool and horseshoe pit, and a handful of easy walking and hiking trails. There are also several creeks and a pond, as well as a picnic area and museum that includes a restored log pioneer cabin (just like the original cabin that stood on the farm in the 1700s) and other original farm buildings.
What Makes It Great
When you visit Watters Smith State Memorial Park, you’ll likely meet a much-loved member of its staff, Andy Bennett. He is the park’s superintendent and loves to talk about the park and its bird population. He has a (growing) catalog of every bird he’s seen at Watters Smith, and encourages visitors to add any species they see that aren’t on that list yet. Bennett also gives tours of the park and its heritage sites.
The 15 hiking trails are all short and easy, ranging from just 0.1 miles to 2.1 miles. They follow along creeks, and around the old farm to give you a glimpse into history as you pass the old barns, mill room, corn crib, hog pen, food and storage cellar, and woodworking and blacksmith shops.
If you get hungry, there are some great restaurants nearby. One local favorite is Poling’s Dairy King in Clarksburg, where you can stop for an old-fashioned malt and burger.If you want something a bit more upscale, try Lambert’s Vintage Winery, just 11 miles south via U.S. 19 South.
Who is Going to Love It
Watters Smith State Memorial Park is a low-key, leisurely park for anyone looking to spend a day outside and maybe learn a thing or two along the way. Families with children love the short and easy trails, which wind through a traditional pioneer farm. Picnic areas give families the opportunity to take a break and have a snack, while horseshoe pits and volleyball areas are fun ways to spend the afternoon.
Birdwatchers from all over come to the park not only to do some spotting, but also to share their enthusiasm with Andy Bennett.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From I-79, take Exit 105 toward County Road 7 toward Jane Lew, and take a left onto Hackers Creek Road. Next, take a right onto U.S. 19 North, and follow 19 for about 10 miles directly to Watters Creek State Memorial Park.
Visiting Watters Smith State Memorial Park is completely free. There are no entry fees or tickets required to visit the museum, heritage site or interpretive center.