Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Camping at New River Trail State Park

A portion of our most recent vacation was spent camping in and biking around New River Trail State Park. The trail, in Southwestern Virginia, is 57 miles worth or old railroad trails converted into hiking/biking/horse back riding trails.  39 miles worth of it parallel the New River.  Going through four counties, two train tunnels, over three major bridges, a multitude of smaller tresses and along the river itself you are never short of exciting things to witness.

The park itself has 4 campgrounds.  One in Galax, two in Foster Falls and one closer to the town of Fries.  There are no cabins in this park and no RV sites.  They are ALL primitive.  That means NO SHOWERS...make sure you understand that.  Two of have drinking water but NO

We camped in the Millrace Campground which was one of the campgrounds in Forster Falls.

The town of Foster Falls was established around the iron industry, more specifically, Foster Falls Mining Company.  Their operation, which started in the late 1800s, created pig iron that was shipped North on the rail road that is now the feature of the New River Trail State Park.  A passenger depot and hotel were later added.  Today the old furnace, train depot and hotel still remain.  The hotel has gone through various owners and has been used as a school and children's home.  Today it is owned by the State Park and efforts are being made to restore the Inn.     

What remains of the manufacturing furnace

The train depot

The Hotel

The campground is a very quick walk from the Depot, which is now a visitor center and gift shop.  We arrived late but found our camping information, along with parking passes and maps, in the mailbox at the contact station.  This particular park was unique from the other State Parks we have stayed at in a couple ways.  1.  You park in a parking lot near camp and carry in your equipment.  Wagons were supplied to assist in this and the walk from the parking lot to our site was about 2/10 of a mile.  Some are further and some closer...The park website is spot on with the layout of the campground.  2.  Being primitive you do NOT have showers or sinks to wash your hands.  I read that the sites were primitive but in my head it just meant you don't have electricity or water.  I assumed like other Va State Parks there was a bathhouse.  But there is not.  There is a two room building (men/women) with toilets that empty into large basically a glorified outhouse.  And really that is ok...heat some water (there is a pump for drinking water) and wash off or jump in the river.  But keep in mind if you are a "need a shower" kind of person or if you need a sink to wash your hands that there are NONE.  I would take a solar shower next time. 

There is a camp store very close to the camp so you can get ice, wood, essentials during operating hours.     

Contact station


Wagons for use by campers

The view of the river from site #10

The view from site #6

Site #6

More of the river right next to our camp

I could have sat here all day and enjoyed this view

The park has a horse livery, historical buildings, a nature center, amphitheater, bike/canoe/tube rentals.  Along with the trail itself and the river you have plenty of things to keep you busy.  And if that isn't enough there is a winery 2 miles away.  I will post more about the actual trail in a separate post...too much for one.  But hit me up if you have questions about camping here.  I'll do my best to answer what I can.

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