Douthat State Park

Quick Facts

Douthat State Park

Virginia

(540) 862-8100

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Editors of the 1999 Outside Family Vacation Guide, a summer planner, have named Virginia's very own Douthat State Park one of the nation's 10 best. It's on the National Register of Historic Places and straddles Bath and Alleghany counties. Douthat was one of the original six Virginia State Parks to open on June 15, 1936. Douthat is nestled in the Allegheny Mountains and features some of Virginia's most outstanding scenery. In addition, a 50-acre lake offers swimming, boating and seasonal trout fishing.

Douthat was one of six state parks planned by the Commonwealth in the early 1930s. The initial 1,920 acres of the present-day park was donated by the Douthat Land Company, a consortium of Virginia businessmen. The rest of the land was purchased with a portion of the fifty thousand dollars in funds allocated by the General Assembly in 1933 for park land acquisition. The establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as part of the emergency Conservation Works by President Roosevelt in 1933 provided the means for development of the parks. An estimated 600 men lived and worked at the three camps responsible for building Douthat's facilities. Between 1933 and 1942, these men cleared trails, built a dam and spillway, cabins, a guest lodge, a restaurant, an information center, superintendent's residence, swimming beach, picnic areas and maintenance building, hinges, as well as hand-wrought iron hardware, light fixtures and door and shutter latches. The built and natural features of the park have remained virtually unchanged since construction.

Map of Douthat (VA)

Latitude, Longitude: 37.901678, -79.802628

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Activities

  • Boating

    The boathouse is open from the first Saturday in April through the end of October. Jonboats with and without electric motors, canoes, paddleboats, hydrobikes and funyaks are available for rent during that time.

    A boat launch ramp is available for guests with their own non-gasoline powered boat. No launching fee is charged, but boats must be moored in designated areas. Year-round boat storage is also available from the park for a fee. No gas powered equipment is allowed on the lake.

  • Bicycling

    Mountain biking trails are available for use.

  • Camping

    Douthat is well-known for its delightful, inviting campsites. Some offering a splendid view of placid Douthat Lake. (Note: Water is unavailable at individual campsites in March and November because of freezing weather. As hot water is still available in the bathhouse, camping fees are not reduced.) Generators will be not be allowed here after the 2010 season.

    Swimming and boat launching free to overnight guests. Firewood is for sale. Do not bring firewood. Late arrival campers will find a note on the park office door giving them instructions on how/when to register the following morning. Park maps are provided so that these campers can find their way to the campground. The park office is the first building on the right after exiting I-64 and passing the booth at the park entrance. Campsites have grills that be used for cooking or a campfire. All fires must be kept within the grill. Picnic tables and lantern posts are also provided. Two vehicles per campsite in addition to camping unit; extra vehicles must park in overflow parking area, and parking fees apply for extra vehicles. All equipment must be placed within site's gravel borders. Campsite vehicle area is crushed run gravel; tent pad is pea gravel for drainage. Park visitors not registered for cabin/campground use must pay parking fee and leave the park by 10 p.m. Total sites of each type: A-StdLake, 19; B-EW Beaverdam and C-EW White Oak, 55

    Site type:

    StdLake - Various equipment. No hookups. Bathhouse and showers. Water faucets through campground. Lakeside Campground (A).

    B EW Beaverdam and C EW Whiteoak - Various equipment. Electric and water sites. Bathhouse and showers. Beaver Dam Campground (B) and White Oak Campground (C). No sewer hook-ups available, but there is a dump station in each campground. Generators will be not be allowed here after the 2010 season.

    Total sites: 74

    BuddyStd: Beaver Dam Campground (B) - Group camping

    Site type: BuddyStd. Group camp; no hookups. Flat gravel pads with four grills and four picnic tables. Tents only. Maximum of 24 people and six cars. The cancellation fee for group sites, which accommodate more than six people, is higher than the standard campsite reservation cancellation fee.

    Total sites: 1

  • Fishing

    Douthat Lake is a 50-acre fee-fishing lake stocked with rainbow, brown and brook trout twice a week during the fee season. The lake also offers excellent largemouth bass fishing and fair opportunities for landing sunfish, black crappie, and channel catfish. It's also an excellent lake for chain pickerel with October being the top month. A three-mile reach of Wilson Creek was opened to fee fishing in 1993. A special trout fishing area for the kids also has been created on a section of Wilson Creek just below the dam.

  • Hiking

    Hiking, no bridle trails (no horses allowed), bicycle trails (mountain bikes only). There are more than 40 miles of wooded hiking trails to choose from throughout the year, ranging from easy to difficult. Many park trails are open to mountain bikers, however hikers have the right-of-way. Stop in at the park office for a trail map for hiking and mountain biking.

  • Picnicking

    Douthat has three picnic areas with shelters, grills and restroom facilities. All picnic areas available on a first-come, first-served basis with the exception of the shelters, which must be reserved by calling the Reservation Center.

  • Water Sports

    Memorial Day to Labor Day - The beach area, complete with bathhouse and concession, is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday and from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. In the summer, swimming is free for overnight guests in campsites, cabins and lodges, however it cannot be guaranteed should circumstances beyond the park's control require that swimming be closed. There are no refunds for swimming to overnight guests under any circumstances.

Seasonality/Weather

Spring and fall are generally comfortable with precipitation possible. Summers can be hot and humid with average temperatures in the high 80s and with sudden thunderstorms possible. July and August are the hottest months. Winters can be cold with average temperatures in the winter of 41 degrees with variable precipitation.

Park Partners

Douthat State Park Environmental Education Group

The park enjoys the support of a nonprofit citizen group, Douthat State Park Environmental Education Group. Its mission is to raise funds and provide labor and materiel for activities that enhance the park's educational and recreational opportunities.

Directions

Driving

From I-64, take Exit 27 near Clifton Forge. Turn North onto State Route 629 (highway at exit ramp). Travel north three miles to the park entrance sign and another two miles to the park office.

Drive Time: Northern Virginia, four hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, five hours; Richmond, three hours; Roanoke, one hour

Directions:

From Interstate 64 and Interstate 81 North of Lexington: Follow I-81 south to exit 56 and exit 191 onto I-64 west (signed, Clifton Forge). Follow I-64 west to exit 27, turn right onto Route 629. The park entrance is four miles farther; guest registration is another two miles. Register at the green-roofed building on right. Drive time from Lexington is 35 minutes.

From Interstate 81 South of Roanoke: Follow I-81 north to exit 150B (signed, 220 North, Clifton Forge). Bear right onto U.S. 11 south, then turn right at first light onto U.S. 220 north. Follow U.S. 220 north. After passing through Iron Gate, take the first exit to the right (signed, Covington). Once on the three-lane road (Exxon on your right), continue under the interstate. This road becomes Route 629, which leads into the park. Its entrance is four miles farther; guest registration is another two miles. Register at the green-roofed building on right. Drive time from the intersection of I-81 and 220 north is 55 minutes.

From U.S. 460 East or West of Roanoke: Follow U.S. 460 to U.S. 220 alternate, turn north at light. Stay on U.S. 220 north through Iron Gate. After passing through Iron Gate, take the first exit to the right (signed, Covington). Once on the three-lane road (Exxon on your right), continue under the interstate. This road becomes Route 629, which leads into the park. Its entrance is four miles farther; guest registration is another two miles. Register at the green-roofed building on right. Drive time from intersection of U.S. 460 and 220 Alternate intersection is 65 minutes.

From U.S. 220 South of Roanoke: Follow U.S. 220 north to the Roy L. Webber Expressway. Follow the expressway to Interstate 581 north. Follow I-581 north to intersection I-81, exit right onto I-81 north. From here, follow I-81 north to exit 150B (signed, 220 North, Clifton Forge). Bear right onto U.S. 11 south, then turn right at first light onto U.S. 220 north. Follow U.S. 220 north . After passing through Iron Gate, take the first exit to the right (signed, Covington). Once on the three-lane road (Exxon on your right), continue under the interstate. This road becomes Route 629, which leads into the park. Its entrance is four miles farther; guest registration is another two miles. Register at the green-roofed building on right.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(540) 862-8100

Links