There’s a reason John Denver referred to one particular state as “almost Heaven”. And while I was looking for a place to stop for a night, I decided to try camping at Babcock State Park in Cliffton, West Virginia.
Now before we continue, let me clarify that “camping” for me is not putting up a tent, rolling out a sleeping bag, and trying to make scrambled eggs in the morning over a campfire. No thanks. So while traditional camping is absolutely available at Babcock State Park, so are a range of cabins that still give you most of that camping experience that’s so good for your mental health – especially now.
The park itself is really beautiful with 4,127 acres of forest, hiking trails, fishing, and mountain biking. Located about 20 miles southeast of the historic New River Gorge Bridge, Babcock State Park is also home to one of the most photographed spots in the state. The Glade Creek Grist Mill is a fully functional replica of the original Coopers Mill that was completed in 1976. Most of its working parts came from old mills that were no longer in use. Visitors can tour the mill certain times of the year and even purchase the cornmeal that’s produced there.
I was invited to try one of the cabins located inside the park and I will share with you the pros and cons. To be completely honest – it may be hard for me to come up with many cons. It was a really great experience all the way around.
There are three types of cabins at Babcock State Park – vacation cabins, legacy cabins, and economy cabins. They put me in an economy cabin which appears to be the cheapest of the three. It had a set of bunk beds which I hadn’t seen since I was in grade school. While not ideal, it was perfectly fine for me as I was traveling solo and I’m not a very tall, large person. I never bumped my head. The cabin included a heating/air-conditioning unit which I only used at night to sleep. The rest of the time I had the screened-in windows open for fresh air.
Inside the cabin there was a small kitchen area – including a medium sized refrigerator/freezer that would be great for most couples, a full sink, microwave, oven, and cabinets with dishes and glasses. The cabin also had a tiny shower and bathroom. Only negative was no mirror in front of the sink, it was awkwardly located over the toilet for whatever reason. A very small table was located near the end of the bed where you could eat meals indoors, along with two dressers which I never used, and a few wooden chairs. Overall – they packed a lot into this small space but it didn’t really feel cramped.
There was a tiny screened in porch which would have been better if it were even just slightly larger. There wasn’t much space, so I didn’t utilize it at all. I’m not sure if other cabins have larger versions. Outside was a fire pit, a BBQ pit, and a large picnic table which I actually did use during my stay. They included a bundle of wood when I arrived though I didn’t feel like starting a fire. I think this would have been cool had I been traveling with someone else or part of a group.
The most amazing thing was that each cabin had internet connection. Granted, it wasn’t super high speed – but for being in the middle of the woods to check a quick e-mail or look up something now and then – it was perfect. Check in and check out was easy – took all of three minutes to sign the papers and get the keys. There is no food service in the park – you’re on your own. The exterior surrounding lights are also minimal making it great for looking at the stars and really being “out in the wilderness”.
Overall – Babcock State Park was a really great place to visit and I would love to come back and spend more than one day with more time to explore nature. I’d probably look for a slightly bigger cabin but if you really only need a place to sleep – any of the cabins will do just fine – especially if you’re traveling solo or with another person.
You can learn more about Babcock State Park camping through their website. Keep in mind the cabins book very quickly especially in the fall months. The best time to visit for small crowds is at the very end of summer once school is back in session and during the week.