Pipestem Resort State Park, WV
Friday, October 30th, 2009
Photos are posted here:
As much as I enjoy staying at Bed and Breakfast’s, one of the drawbacks is that you lose a little control over the day’s schedule. Assuming you want to take advantage of the breakfast, you are usually at the mercy of innkeepers as to when you get to eat. For today, breakfast was at 9:00am.
Even with the late night Virginia Tech Football game, there is no way I can stay in bed for that long, especially with the Turkeys gobbling outside our window and the roosters Cockle Doodle Dooing. I interpreted these sounds as “come out and play”; so I did.
The Huffman House Bed and Breakfast
Eventually, after wandering around the farm with the animals it was time for breakfast. There are (4) guest rooms in the B&B, and all (4) were filled with Hokie fans that were at the game the previous evening. Needless to say, the mood around the breakfast table was a bit somber. Despite the sad faces of all the devastated Hokie Fans, breakfast was excellent.
Our plan for the day was to take a drive into West Virginia and check out a couple of the State Parks. I lived in West Virginia for (7) years and one of my biggest regrets was not visiting many of the wonderful West Virginia State Parks.
I decided on Pipestem Resort State Park because there were several waterfalls, a lookout tower, a canyon, a lake, and an Ariel Tramway. Sounded like a lot of neat stuff packed into a State Park.
Here is a link to the parks website:
Our first stop would be Brush Creek Falls. Kevin Adam’s “Waterfalls of Virginia and West Virginia” book lists this one as being on Pipestem State Park property. I think it actually outside the State Park Boundary and owned by a Nature Conservancy. Either way, the directions from the book were dead on accurate.
It’s a short and easy hike of about a quarter mile and the waterfall turned out to be nicer than I expected.
Brush Creek Falls
I took a very steep but short scramble down to the base, but found out later that by continuing down the main trail for about 100 yards, a much easier path to the base is available. Due to leaving my hat at the base, I ended up doing the scramble up and down twice!
Amy and I continued on the main trail to Whiteoak Creek Falls. Combining Brush Creek Falls and White Oak Creek Falls makes for a 4-mile (2-mile out and back) hike. It’s a pleasant and easy hike all the way.
Jack and Amy sitting by the Bluestone River
Whiteoak Creek Falls is actually a series of smaller drops. It is impossible to capture the whole thing in one shot and trying to scramble up to see some of the larger upper drops would be very difficult. While it was a very nice spot, I wouldn’t put Whiteoak Creek Falls on your must see list.
Jack and Amy at Whiteoak Creek Falls
After a nice break, we returned back the way we came and drove on into the main entrance to Pipestem Resort State Park.
Our first stop here would be the Pipestem Knob Tower Trail. A short but moderately steep climb on a paved trail leads to the Lookout Tower. I was happy to see that you can actually climb the lookout tower which offers up some nice views.
The Pipestem Knob Lookout Tower
Next up would be a ride on the Aerial Tramway! At least that was what I had hoped, but unfortunately the Tramway was closed for the season! However, the gift shop was still open, so I left Amy there while I hiked down to Heritage Point on the Canyon Rim Trail.
We saw lots of Deer throughout the park
Heritage Point was nice, but power lines marred what otherwise would have been an excellent view. The steep climb out made me glad I didn’t try to entice Amy to join me as this trail is definitely not Amy approved!
View from Heritage Point
After exploring around the park a bit more, I decided to do one more short hike to Long Branch Lake. Amy elected to sit this one out and didn’t miss much. It’s a typical small State Park lake with fishing docks, and a place to rent canoes or paddle boats. The trail was nice, but nothing to go out of you way for.
Long Branch Lake
Since we had a late and large breakfast, we elected to skip lunch on the day. But by 4:30pm we had both developed an appetite. Most of the restaurants inside Pipestem State Park were closed for the season, and others did not open until 5:30pm. Amy remembered seeing a sign for a BBQ joint just outside the park entrance, so we decided to check that out.
We followed the sign for “Brandon’s BBQ” which lead on a one-way gravel road past a trailer park. Things were not looking promising, but we eventually arrived at the restaurant which had a 100% empty parking lot. Another bad sign.
However, a bright “Open” sign was lit up, so we decided to check it out. This restaurant turned out to be much better than we anticipated. So if you ever decide to visit Pipestem State Park and find yourself getting hungry, Brandon’s BBQ is worth the stop! http://www.brandonsbbq.com/
After dinner we decided to make one more stop to check on Indian Branch Falls. You can get here via a 2.5 mile hike from the Pipestem Nature Center, but Kevin Adams book gave directions to another access point which offered up a much shorter hike to the Falls.
We were not very impressed with Indian Branch Falls. The view from the trail is lousy I saw no way to safely get to the base.
The very un-impressive Indian Branch Falls
We returned back to the Huffman House Bed and Breakfast and enjoyed the rest of the evening reading and relaxing.
Additional photos from Day 2 of our weekend getaway are located here: