West Virginia – Lost River

Lost River, West Virginia is a park that appeals to the log-cabin adventurer. Located in the pan-handle on the eastern side of the state, Lost River is designed to remind visitors of a time when Hardy County was the frontier. Although equipped with modern amenities, visitors can rough it like homesteaders of the early 19th century.

Lost River has no primitive campsites but does have three different styles of cabins. The first are two-bedroom accessible cabins. These are designed for visitors who have mobility restrictions or motorized transportation and need wider walls and hallways. The second are standard cabins. These resemble log cabins of the early 1800s and are only open for the summer since there is little in the way of insulation and no way centralized heat. They are quite comfortable, however, since they come with two bedrooms, bedding and linens, and kitchens full of modern appliances, tableware and cutlery. The third style are the modern cabins. These are well equipped cottages open all year with forced heat and wood paneled walls. All cabins come with wood-burning fireplaces, baths and showers to provide comforts the pioneers only wished they had. Only a few of the cabins are able to accommodate pets, so call before bringing the family dog along.

Modern travelers are used to having constant contact with the folks back home. Lost River considered that and provides free internet access from the park administration building. Ask at the desk for any applicable log-in information. Another electronic amenity that has become common place is the video game. Lost River provides many of the most popular games at their activity center for a nominal fee.

Outdoor enthusiasts will be relieved that modernity has not taken over the entire park. Sports like tennis, badminton and volleyball all have their own courts and the Lost River park also has an archery range. There are several miles of hiking trails, including one that allows visitors to climb to the Cranny Crow Overlook. This ridge is 3,200 feet above sea level and provides a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountain ranges.

During the summer the park provides a resident naturalist. This trained and knowledgeable employee leads nature walks and introduces guests to the flora and fauna that call Lost River their home. This person will also share slide shows and films about the area, manage park wide cookouts or campfires and teach many fun-filled games that just might teach the children something if they are not careful.

Perhaps the best way to experience Lost River, West Virginia is to take advantage of their on-site stable. Hidden Trails Stable is located completely inside Lost River State Park. It provides riding instructions for first timers and long trail rides of up to two hours for experienced equestrians. Longer trail rides can be arranged in advance at the discretion of the trail boss. Children under the age of five are limited to hand-lead loop-around walks that give them the thrill of being on horseback without the danger of a trail ride. For those uneasy around animals that are taller than themselves, during the summer there is a weekly opportunity to “meet the horses.” It is a safety meeting that explains everything about caring for these large animals. Many find it less intimidating to ride after learning to care for their mounts. For the safety of all involved, trail rides are limited to children over the age of seven and adults under the weight of 250 pounds. All horses are held to a walk. By following these rules, Hidden Trails Stables can boast that seldom does any first timer return without a smile.

Day travelers may want to add a picnic to their excursion. Pavilions and picnic shelters are available for reservation or on a first-come, first-served basis. As with the cabins, some areas are not prepared for domestic animals so contacting the Lost River authorities for permission before bringing the family pet along is advised.

Lost River, West Virginia is a modern vacation resort that masquerades as an antique homestead. It has many entertaining options for the sports enthusiast as well as the modern teen who prefers technology. It is a lovely park full of family fun.