The surrounding Bluestone State Park has more than 2,000 acres of terrain, ranging from dense forest to mountains and rivers— including the lake’s primary tributary, the Bluestone River. The lake is West Virginia’s third largest body of water—a reservoir, in fact, created when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dammed the New River to minimize flooding. The lake is a long and narrow 10.7 miles long, and there are year-round activities for anglers, boaters, and wildlife watchers alike. (There’s even a significant bald eagle population that lives by the lake!)
What Makes It Great
Because the lake is actually a reservoir, it is influenced by nearby dam operations, meaning that the water levels are predictable and the water is calm. While boat traffic does include motorized boats, the nearly 11 miles of lake provide plenty of space for paddlers and other boaters to coexist. Even during the lake’s busiest season, there tends to be low traffic and low wake.
Dense forest surrounds the lake, creating a great environment for birdwatching and spotting wildlife. In fact, there have been reports of bald eagles nesting at the lake, and some say that Bluestone Lake has the highest concentration of bald eagles in the state.
There are campsites across the lake that are only accessible by boat. The campsites have docks and toilets, and allow campfires. These are a great convenience if you want to make your Bluestone State Park adventure an overnighter, spending your day on the water and your night next to the lake around a campfire.
Who is Going to Love It
Because of Bluestone Lake’s calm waters, it’s a great family destination. Beginners, novices, and tandems can enjoy the open and safe waters of the lake, without worrying about heavy wakes, obstacles, or technical prowess.
You’ll spot anglers who like to paddle out and spend a day on the open water catching smallmouth and largemouth bass (both of which are abundant in the lake.)
Wildlife watchers and photographers hoping for a bald eagle sighting love spending days on the calm waters, waiting for photo opportunities.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From I-64, take Exit 139 toward Sandstone and Hinton. You’ll follow West Virginia Route 20 South for approximately 15 miles. This will take you directly to the park.
From I-77, take Exit 14 toward Athens Road. You’ll follow West Virginia Route 20 for 22 miles to Bluestone State Park. From either direction, there’s clear signage showing where both the state park and lake are—both right along Route 20.
There are no fees except for overnight camping. Boaters of all types must be off the water by dark, and Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) are required.