Watoga State Park Foundation Inc Home

“Allow Nature’s peace to flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.” – John Muir

photo of light in trees


We regularly perform not-so-random acts of kindness directed at helping the people and places that we love.  People who have seen Watoga State Park in West Virginia come back to it time and again.

Rhododendron bloom on Park Rd
Rhododendron bloom on Park Rd

They come for the trails and the big trees. They come for the fish in the lake and the mountain air. When hikers flick fallen branches off a trail or choose to leave only footprints they are part of a large network of volunteers who love and support Watoga State Park. Little things count.

Donate here!  Become a Friend of Watoga

Here are things you can do to help Watoga

Enjoy the park! Simply by using it, Watoga’s guests help show the value of public lands and waters preserved for everyone.

Fish! The lake is stocked with trout. Volunteer to help at a fishing derby.

Ride a bike, hike a trail, paddle a canoe! Or learn inside stories of history and happening via the Watoga Blog. You can also learn about trail work opportunities with others in all seasons of the year.Monongasenka overlook south towards Droop Mountain in distance

Learn about Wild Edibles or Art in the Park. (Also, volunteer to help put on those events.)

Spread the word! Bring friends and families to Watoga, then share your memories.

Run as well as hike – there are trail races each August. A half marathon is a grand way to see 13 miles of woodland trails. (Some effort is involved.) The 5K trail race is a joy.

Learn fascinating facts! The park puts on hundreds of nature programs each year, most with neat activities for children. Learn woodsy skills. Dutch oven cookery is especially popular.

Travel in time. Watoga’s history remains visible today. Stay in a cabin built by the Civilian Conservation Corps 80 years ago, hike a ridge trail as old as the hills, see trees over 300 years old.

See new things! (Wildflowers spring to mind. Also fawns and bear cubs.) Nature is self-renewing. So are we.

Meet more Watoga volunteers through the Watoga State Park Foundation, a (501c3) nonprofit. Doing good can be lots of fun. There’s strength in numbers.


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Watoga Trails Blog

This Party’s Just Getting Started!

Having attained international recognition, what’s on the celestial horizon for West Virginia’s newest stars on the dark sky park tourism circuit this fall? Well, this party’s just getting started! It’s time to get ready to celebrate unlike anywhere else in the world or the universe for that matter! Receiving national and international attention are Watoga …

7th Annual Mountain Trail Challenge Returns

The Mountain Trail Challenge half-marathon and 5K race returns to West Virginia’s largest state park on August 13, 2022. Race, walk, or stroll along beautiful but challenging trails. All ages and levels of athletes are encouraged to participate in this race. Proceeds benefit the park through the Watoga State Park Foundation Inc. Registration on race …

MTC Race Details Released

Logistical details for Watoga State Park’s 7th Annual Mountain Trail Challenge Races were released today. The 5K and half-marathon MTC races are slated for Saturday, August 13 at Beaver Creek Campground, according to Maureen Conley, Race Chairperson. “We’re excited to once again host his one-of-a-kind race,” said Conley. “Each race attracts running enthusiasts who enjoy …

Watoga Dark Sky Project

On October 18, 2021, Watoga State Park, along with nearby Droop Mountain Battlefield
State Park
and Calvin Price State Forest, became West Virginia’s first International Dark Sky Parks.

These parks, which span 19,869 acres in Pocahontas County, are
located in one of the darkest regions in the East. The designation was awarded by the
International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), a nonprofit organization based in Tucson,
Arizona, that strives to protect the night skies from light pollution.

Light at night can be problematic for wildlife, insects, and even human health. The IDA
created the Dark Sky Places Program in 2001. IDA encourages communities worldwide
to adapt responsible lighting policies.

Watoga State Park, at 10,100 acres, harbors diverse ecosystems. Watoga is bordered
in part by the Monongahela National Forest and Calvin Price State Forest. It is already
blessed by natural darkness due to its remote location.

Watoga is now just one of 84 dark sky parks in the U.S. In addition to protecting the
night sky from light pollution, the new designation helps raise awareness of these parks
and dark skies as resources for residents and visitors from around the world.

Watoga joins an elite group of communities, parks, reserves, sanctuaries, and planned
developments that have met the program’s rigorous standards. As a result, these places
have fulfilled the application status to achieve official Dark Sky Places status. Watoga
will provide educational programs, postings, and star parties to help bring
awareness of the benefits of keeping our skies dark at night as part of the Watoga Dark
Sky Project.

Please follow the Dark Sky Facebook page for information, educational programs, and
star party dates.

The Watoga Astronomy Forecast site

Milky Way over Watoga State Park on a clear night