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North Bend State Park


In 1951, the West Virginia legislature allotted $125,000 to buy land for North Bend State Park, located near Cairo in Ritchie County. Bonds Creek and the north branch of the Hughes River pass through the 2,459-acre park, which has miniature golf, picnic areas, and a playground. North Bend has many trails, including an interpretive trail with annual events especially for people with disabilities. The main feature is the start of the 72-mile North Bend Rail Trail, which follows an abandoned Baltimore & Ohio Railroad corridor.

North Bend is located in West Virginia’s historic oil and gas fields, and about 50 wells dating from the 19th century were once active in the present park area. Visitors may still see a few of these old wells. The park area also included more than two miles of the Harrisville Southern Railroad. The North Bend superintendent’s residence, built in 1866 by Christopher Douglas, is a white Federal-style house situated down the hill from the park lodge. Andrew S. Core, a Union general in the Civil War, had a home at the site of the lodge.

North Bend State Park has two campgrounds, vacation cabins, and a hilltop lodge for overnight guests. The lodge offers a gift shop, meeting room, and a restaurant with glass windows on three sides so diners can watch sunrises, sunsets, and deer. In 2001, the park added a 305-acre lake, offering ample fishing opportunities. Since 1968, North Bend has been the site of the annual Nature Wonder Weekend, which involved nature foods promoter Euell Gibbons in its early years; one of the park’s trails is named in his honor. Wild-food enthusiasts from across the nation gather for this weekend each September.

Written by Maureen F. Crockett