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Hawks Nest State Park in central West Virginia provides sweeping views of the New River Gorge and features jet boat rides, a tram (not operational for 2023), some short hikes, and either lodge or Tentrr “glamping” for overnight stays.
History and Location
Hawks Nest State Park in Ansted, West Virginia, is about 3 1/2 hours south-southwest of Pittsburgh.
The park makes the most of it’s 270 acres, fitting in a lodge, scenic overlook, game courts, and around 7 miles of hiking trails.
The area originally had a Native American trail running through it and was inhabited by many bird species. After railroads were constructed through the region in the late 1800s, a hydroelectric dam and lake were not too far behind in the early 1900s.
The state eventually took over the property in the mid-1900s, building the amenities that are now Hawks Nest State Park.
Lodging and Glamping
Hawks Nest State Park has two options for overnight accommodations: a 31-room lodge that includes a restaurant, meeting rooms, a pool, and gift shop, and 9 Tentrr camping sites featuring mattresses and solar showers.
While we typically travel in our RV, for this trip we were overnighting at the park before moving on to another destination.
We opted for a pet-friendly room inside the lodge. The room was located on the first floor and had easy access to the outdoors for dog breaks. The bathroom was newly remodeled, and the beds were quite comfortable.
Hazel and Franklin found the rooms very acceptable.
All of the staff we encountered at the lodge were amazingly helpful and friendly. A woman at the front desk even gave Hazel a new rhinestone collar! How’s that for service?!
When you get hungry, you can either eat inside the on-site restaurant, taking in the spectacular view, or get the order to go. The menu has enough variety to keep everyone happy.
We ordered two of the chicken options to go, and they were DELISH! After getting many to-go meals inside state parks, I can share that this was one of the best!
And the view I had while I waited to pick up our meals didn’t suck either.
Another wonderful addition to your lodge stay- breakfast in the morning is FREE in the restaurant! You can opt for biscuits, sausage gravy, cereals, coffee- and even make your own waffles!
Hawks Nest State Park has just over 7 miles of hiking trails.
There are trails that branch off from the lodge area (on the right below) and eventually meet up with another set of trails over near the Hawks Nest Overlook area (on the left).
You can see the entire park map here, and I outlined the trails we hiked above in bright green.
The day we arrived was quite wet, so we didn’t have much time when the rain finally stopped (dog rain jackets, anyone?). We were able to do a quick walk around the lodge area and do the Lovers Leap Trail.
Be sure to stop and read the notice board before the Lovers Leap Trail to learn how it got its name- YIKES!
Once you’ve tackled the trails near the lodge, you can take a short drive to the parking lot near Hawks Nest Overlook to hike the loops on that side of the park.
The trail to the overlook is a quick, paved loop that is very accessible.
The Hawks Nest Overlook gives you another view of the New River Gorge.
Finally, when you are done admiring the overlooks, you can head down the Cliffside Trail. It runs along Turkey Creek for a bit, and has some small waterfalls that are GREAT for a quick dog swim!
No matter what Franklin’s face says, he approves!
While you won’t wear yourself out hiking at Hawks Nest State Park, the views and the creek time are worth the visit.
Wildlife, Fauna, and Fungi
At Hawks Nest State Park, we saw deer, a giant slug, and many, many birds – from turkey vultures to red-tailed hawks (Ha! Hawks at Hawks Nest!).
The rhododendrons weren’t in bloom just yet in mid-spring- but they were plentiful, and I’m sure they’ll put on quite a show this summer!
The Last Word
If you are looking for pet-friendly lodge accommodations near the New River Gorge, Hawks Nest State Park is a great option.
Not only will you appreciate the amazing views, delicious food, and comfortable rooms, you also might like the sticker selection 😉