Beartown State Park, Marlinton

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State Park · Nature / Park
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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.

By using our Marlinton travel route builder tool, you can arrange your visit to Beartown State Park and other attractions in Marlinton.
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Beartown State Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
117 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • This is definitely a Hidden gem. My child's imagination was going crazy seeing all the rock formations and the caves. 
    This is definitely a Hidden gem. My child's imagination was going crazy seeing all the rock formations and the caves.  more »
  • SO COOL! I def recommend this place. Very interesting. Mesmerizing. Lots of stairs and a slick boardwalk but an easy walk regardless. It’s beautiful! 
    SO COOL! I def recommend this place. Very interesting. Mesmerizing. Lots of stairs and a slick boardwalk but an easy walk regardless. It’s beautiful!  more »
Google
  • Definitely worth checking out of you have some spare time! A pretty plus-size friendly hike from your fellow plus size hiker. The entire trail is a board walk and very short! We walked it in 20-30 minutes. Lots of steps, but just a few at a time, and then straight level walking. Beware how slick it is when wet! A very small portion is handicap accessible. When you pull in, you see the main parking lot. When entering the trail, to the left you’ll see a gravel drive way. If you drive down it, you are taken directly to handicap parking spaces that take you to the board walk without using stairs. From there, there is just a small portion to see before you have to inevitably use stairs.
  • Located on the eastern part of Droop Mountain, Beartown State Park is an 110-acre park with a fairly narrow access road. Its peaceful environment has been a nice spot to explore for over 50 years. One of the nice things about the park…there was no getting lost in the maze of rocks as long as you stayed on the “elevated” boardwalk that runs throughout the park. According to Alltrails app, the Beartown Boardwalk is labeled as an “easy” 1/2-mile loop trail. The wooden walkway does a great job winding you through the rock maze so that you have an up-close adventure. The downside…if you have mobility issues, I need to mention…there are multiple sets of stairs throughout the boardwalk trail. I’m always amazed how adaptive trees are. Don’t trees need soil and nurturing to live? This isn’t the first time I’ve seen trees literally growing on rocks and other surfaces you wouldn’t think they could. The horizontal fractured rock formations of what they call “droop” limestone could be seen throughout the park. The towering trees were just beginning to change colors in this part of Greenbrier County when we were there. With trees as tall as 30 ft, Beartown is a great place for tree and rock lovers.

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