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Pipestem Resort State Park is located on the Summers-Mercer county border on State Route 20 south of Hinton. The park, which is mostly in Summers County, was named for the native pipestem plant whose hollowed-out twigs were used by Indians and early pioneers as stems for tobacco pipes. The plant, also known as meadowsweet, is common to the vicinity of the park and in other parts of West Virginia. Before its development as a park the area was known as Pipestem community with its own post office and school.

Development of Pipestem State Park was begun in the 1960s after the purchase of 4,027 acres from 56 individual landowners, some of whom contested the terms of settlement. The park, which opened on Memorial Day 1970, is one of West Virginia’s premier state parks. It is situated on the east rim of the scenic Bluestone River gorge. The elevation varies from 2,932 feet at its highest point on Pipestem Knob, to 1,550 feet at river level. Fine views of the park and its surroundings are available from the lookout tower on Pipestem Knob and from observation points scattered along the gorge’s rim.

The McKeever Lodge with 112 rooms and suites is located on the rim of the gorge, and the 30-room Mountain Creek Lodge is located 1,000 feet below on the gorge floor. This lower lodge is accessible by a 3,600-foot-long aerial tramway that began operation in 1972. The park also has camping facilities and 26 rental cottages. The two lodges provide a variety of dining facilities. Pipestem State Park has both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a nature center, gift and craft shops, horseback riding, biking, cross-country skiing, a lake, hiking trails, and an amphitheater. The park has two golf courses: an 18-hole course that opened in 1969 and a Par-3 nine-hole course, which opened in 1967. Pipestem hosts over a million visitors each year and is a major employer in the region.

This Article was written by Michael M. Meador

Last Revised on October 22, 2010


Sources

Strausbaugh, P. D. & Earl L. Core. Flora of West Virginia. Morgantown: 1964, Second edition, 4 vols. Morgantown: West Virginia University, 1970-77.

Summers County Historical Society. The History of Summers County. Salem: 1984.

Cite This Article

Meador, Michael M. "Pipestem Resort State Park." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 22 October 2010. Web. 17 October 2018.

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