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

photo of light in trees

Watoga Mountain Trail Challenge Virtual Half-Marathon/5K

Looking for a way to enjoy Watoga State Park?  How about an opportunity to OUTRUN THE RONA?  The Watoga Mountain Trail Challenge Virtual Half-Marathon/5K is on…

Runners Promoting OutRun The Rona Virtual 1/2 marathon and 5K



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 go along with Ken via Watoga’s Trails Blog. You’ll learn about trail work opportunities with others in all seasons of the yearMonongasenka 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

One Family’s Love Affair with Watoga, the Swimming Pool and Cabin 20

For more than seven decades, the Botts have fished, swam, hiked, and oftentimes stayed at Cabin 20 at Watoga State Park. This is Flora Jane Bott’s memories about the swimming pool, that cabin next door and the park. Cabin 20 “It was next to impossible to contain our excitement as we drove closer to park …

One Family’s Love Affair with Watoga, the Swimming Pool and Cabin 20

Seventy-Two Years at Watoga Four generations of the Bott family have stayed at Cabin 20, nestled in the pines next to the swimming pool at Watoga State Park. For 72 years, the Botts have fished, swam, hiked, and along the way have made countless memories at the state’s largest recreation area. Specifically, from 1957-1967, these …

Watoga Dark Sky Project

The Watoga Astronomy Forecast site

The Watoga Foundation is applying for Dark Sky Park designation from the “International Dark Sky Association” (IDA). 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 10,000 acre, 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.

There are 60 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. The Watoga State Park Foundation is currently working to join IDA. This would make Watoga the first Dark Sky State Park in West Virginia. Watoga Foundation will provide education programs, postings and star parties to help bring awareness of the benefits of keeping our skies dark at night.

Milky Way over Watoga State Park on a clear night

Please follow the dark sky facebook page for information, education programs and star party dates