Looking for a place to go fishing near Beckley? Or maybe just a scenic spot to stretch your legs and go for a walk? You could easily drive by Little Beaver State Park on your way to Grandview, but maybe you should check it out. This state park centers on a tranquil 18-acre manmade lake, with a boathouse and dozens of camping sites. It might be just what you’re looking for.
Little Beaver State Park is located on WV Route 307, in between Interstate 64 and US 19. From I-64, take exit 129(a) and head south on Route 307 (away from Grandview) for about two miles. From US 19 near the IGA in Daniels, turn north onto Route 307 and go north 2.5 miles.
I must admit, if I wasn’t from the Beckley area, I probably wouldn’t have stopped at Little Beaver State Park. It’s a nice place, but I’d consider it more of a place for locals. When you live in West Virginia, there are very few places where you can get outside and go for a walk, where you’re not going up or down a hill. Little Beaver has numerous trails, but I’d guess the most popular is the 1.1-mile trail that loops around the lake. I used to hike this trail when I was a kid, and since I was back in town, I thought I’d check it out again.
As you enter the park, you’ll see the dam that created Little Beaver Lake. It was built between 1938 and 1942, using sandstone blocks that were quarried nearby. It’s not the most beautiful structure in the world, but it gets the job done.
I’m unclear whether or not you’re allowed to walk on top of the dam, but I did it anyhow. From the top, you’ll have a nice view of the lake, as well as this gear mechanism which, I suppose, opens the gates to drain the lake.
I may have underestimated this place as a good spot for photographing the sunset. You won’t have a view of the horizon, but if the clouds light up the sky, you’ll have a gorgeous reflection in the water.
Hiking Around Little Beaver State Park
Not far from the dam, along the entrance road, there’s a boathouse that rents canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, and stand-up paddle boards.
I parked along the side of the lake and started walking…
… taking a very familiar route. On this side of the lake, the trail stays below the road, near the water.
At the far end of the lake, many years ago, you used to have to hike up to the road to complete the loop. Now, there’s a nice footbridge over Little Beaver Creek at the lake’s inlet. Not far from here, the road ends (the road does not loop all the way around), but the trail continues to the dam, the boathouse, and back to the parking area.
Once I had hiked the loop around the lake, I headed on into Grandview, hoping for a good sunset. It’s just up the road, about 7 miles, on the other side of I-64.
Here’s a look at the drive from Prince to Grandview, West Virginia:
The Bottom Line
I wouldn’t necessarily suggest you prioritize a visit to Little Beaver State Park, especially if your time is limited in southern West Virginia. But, it’s there if you’re interested. The park provides a good place to spend an hour or so, with some easy hiking, or some time on the water.