Only twenty minutes north of our last stop, Babcock State Park, you’ll discover the wild and wonderful grandeur of the New River Gorge from Hawk’s Nest State Park.
Carved into a cliffside overlook, Hawks Nest is a recreation lovers dream with access to over 270 acres of adventure. Check into a thirty-one guest lodge, where you can look down 750 feet into the rugged splendor of the New River as it cuts its way through the gorge.
History: For centuries, the site of Hawks Nest was the site of a trail used by Native Americans and a breeding ground for numerous osprey. In the late 1800s, the portion of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway running through the gorge was completed. This scattered the birds inhabiting the Hawks nest cliffs.
By the 1930s, the Hawks Nest Dam and lake were completed to generate hydroelectricity and flood control.
In 1935, the state of WV purchased the Hawks Nest area and with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps the park began to be devoloped. It continues to attract visitors in search of adventure and solitude.
- The 31-room lodge offers rustic luxury with your own personal view of The New River Gorge…you can enjoy a hearty breakfast and delicious dinner in the lodge dining room.
- Explore the Nature Center to learn about the history, nature and geology of the area.
- In the summer you can enjoy a Jet Boat ride on the New River – an informative tour will take you down in the gorge.
Check into adventure…the lodge is the best place to spend the night at The New River Gorge…The views are spectacular and you have dining on site.
My mom and I enjoyed a delicious dinner in the Hawk’s Nest Dining Room – overlooking the gorge as the sun moved from dusk to night.
The waitstaff was friendly and knowledgable. The menu included classic Americana and regional favorites. I kept it simple and ordered a burger and baked potato with a ginger beer.
As I stared into the depths of the gorge, Hawks flew from the cliffs and into the deep forests. I saw at least fifteen hawks and dozens of other birds in less than half an hour.
After enjoying the views from Hawks Nest over dinner, my mom and I headed to our hotel – The Hampton Inn in Beckley.
This road passes over the famed New River Bridge – which we will be exploring by daylight in a future post.
Beckley is located twenty minutes from the New River Gorge and another good option for accommodations in the area. Beckley is a college town and home to The Tamarack Marketplace – featuring over 2800 artists and artisans from across West Virginia. I recommend exploring Tamarack if you get the chance. West Virginia has a living heritage of arts and crafts and sweet treats. You’ll find everything from pottery to fudge at The Tamarack Marketplace.
*there is a toll when exiting in Beckley and is Cash ONLY*
Next time…New River Gorge National Park – America’s newest National Park…