Beartown State Park, Marlinton

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State Park · Nature / Park
Beartown State Park is a 110-acre (45 ha) state park located on the eastern summit of Droop Mountain, 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Hillsboro, West Virginia, in northern Greenbrier County, West Virginia (with a small portion of the park also located in Pocahontas County). The land was purchased in 1970 with funds from the Nature Conservancy and a donation from Mrs. Edwin G. Polan, in memory of her son, Ronald Keith Neal, a local soldier who was killed in the Vietnam War.

Development of the park has been minimal in order to preserve the natural attractions of the area. Recreation in the park consists of hiking along improved trails and boardwalks. Markers explain the natural processes at work in the area.

The name "Beartown State Park" was chosen because local residents claimed that many cave-like openings in the rocks made ideal winter dens for the native black bears, the state animal of West Virginia. Also because the many deep, narrow crevasses were formed in a regular criss-cross pattern which appear from above like the streets of a small town.

Beartown is noted for its unusual rock formations, which consist of Droop, or Pottsville, Sandstone formed during the Pennsylvanian age. Massive boulders, overhanging cliffs and deep crevasses make up the beauty of the park. On the face of the cliffs are hundreds of eroded pits. These pits range from the size of a marble to others large enough to hold two grown men. It is not unusual to see ice and snow remaining in the deeper crevasses until midsummer.

The park is accessible via U.S. Highway 219, 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Hillsboro, West Virginia and is close to Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park and Watoga State Park.

The park is open daily from April to October. Access during the off-season is available by appointment. No fee is charged for admission to the park.

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Beartown State Park reviews

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111 reviews
  • Went here in June as part of West Virginia trip. It is free to do. Boardwalk trail around rock formations In terms of crowds when we went and social distancing, not too crowded. Did have to...  more »
  • This park doesn't require a long trip and the boardwalk hike is fairly easy (but does require going up and down stars), but the environment is other-worldly. The rock formations are unique and would.....  more »
  • Such a cool experience! This is a great spot for a short day trip, you can probably spend a few hours at most exploring around. The geography is pretty incredible and very unique. Plenty of parking and when I was here in early summer, it was not crowded whatsoever. It was easy to enjoy the scenery at our pace. It's definitely nice that the entire area is in the dense protection of some large trees, so it's very cool even on hot days. Well worth the trip!
  • Very cool rock formations in a forest setting. I visited in August and did only part of the trail but saw a variety of plants and mushrooms. Lots of steps up and down but there’s also a handicap-accessible trail. Small parking area with restrooms. Planning to go back when I have more time.

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