All About Hawks Nest
The New River runs through some beautiful areas here in West Virginia. This is evidenced by the six State Parks located in close proximity to the New River Gorge. The closest to the New River Gorge Bridge is Hawks Nest State Park. Its name is very representative of its location. Seated right on the rim of the Gorge about 3 miles west of the Bridge, this Park offers not only wonderful views but plenty of recreation. Let's take a look at why Hawks Nest is a great place to visit.
Hawks Nest Lake was built in 1936 as a result of damming off the New River to produce power for a Union Carbide-built metallurgical plant. Its 250 acres now provide recreational activities like swimming, boating, and fishing. The tunnel built to move water to the hydroelectric plant is still in use.
Located directly below the Lodge in the park, the lake can be accessed by driving down what was once a narrow gauge rail line into Ansted or by taking the aerial tram out of the Lodge. For the more adventurous types, park at the top of the Hawks Nest Rail Trail and hike to the bottom. Once there you can catch a jet boat that offers tours of the lake, culminating in a view of the New River Gorge Bridge.
Hawks Nest Lodge and Nature Center
The 31-room Lodge was built in 1967 and offers some of the most spectacular views from guest rooms of any State Park in WV system. Accomodations are reasonably priced and the Lodge is very close to many area activities. The Lodge also has a full service restaurant that allows guests to dine with a “birds eye” view of the Gorge, courtesy of a wall of windows.
The Hawks Nest Nature Center is located at the bottom of the aerial tram by the lake. It is filled with nature exhibits and interactive displays.. There are also many hiking trails on site. The newest of these is the Hawks Nest Rail Trail, based out of the Nature Center.
The 276-acre Park has lots of places to explore within its boundaries, but is also close to the heart of the New River Gorge. That means there's plenty of fun to be had within minutes of the park. Here's a list of recreation opportunities either in Hawks Nest State Park or close by.
- Whitewater rafting
- Kayaking and Canoeing
- Rock climbing
- Zip lining
- ATV riding
- Horseback riding
Need another reason to make Hawks Nest part of your New River Gorge visit? Views from the overlooks are spectacular, the people are friendly, and you’ll really be able to get back to nature and relax.
Have you visited Hawks Nest?