Hungry Mother State Park – Camping

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Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From I-81, take exit 47. Drive for about one mile along Route 11 in the direction of Marion until you reach Route 16 where you’ll take a right. After about four miles you’ll arrive at the park at 2854 Park Blvd., Marion, VA, 24354.


Hungry Mother State Park is said to have gotten it’s name from regional folklore. As the story goes, when Native Americans destroyed a couple of settlements along the New River just a bit south of the park, a woman and her child were among two of the surviving captives. Eventually they escaped, subsisting off berries for a while until, one day, the mother collapsed. Unsure of what to do, the child ran down the creek for help and, once he encountered others, the only words he could bring himself to mutter were “hungry mother.” And so, the park got its name. The woman’s name was Molly, which is reflected in Molly’s Knob Trail within the park.

What Makes It Great

Today Hungry Mother is a vibrant spot for everything from nature excursions to company getaways and retreats that take advantage of the park’s meeting rooms and conference center. There’s a gift shop on site if you want to bring back something special for someone special and a restaurant if you get tired of cooking by campfire. When it comes to aquatic adventures, there’s a boat ramp for easy lake access and a universally accessible fishing pier.

Hungry Mother is a particularly awesome place to camp. You can spend the night in cozy cabins or in a six bedroom family lodge that sleeps 15 total if you’ve got the whole crew in tow, or you can rough it out in the woods. Each camping spot has a feature that is unique to Hungry Mother State Park: raised platforms. They’re designed to fit a tent and, not only do they keep you off the ground and all the nastiness that it can entail, but they situates you for a view that will make you feel like you’re floating every time you unzip your tent.

When it comes to hitting the trails, Stone Lick, Old Shawnee, and Ridge trails are all on the shorter, easier side of things. The C.C.C. and Raider’s Run trails fall pretty squarely in the middle of the difficulty range that the park offers. On the other end, the Lake Trail and Clyburn Ridge Loop Trail are the longest stretches that the park houses, 5.7 and 4 miles respectively.

Who is Going to Love It

A long time local favorite, Hungry Mother has something for everyone. Even AT hikers top off at Hungry Mother every now and then—it’s a nice break from the trail, but still secluded and nature-filled. Families will love the array of available activities (think canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, picnicking, camping, and swimming to name a few) as well as the options for equipment rental as well. Paddlers of all skill levels will be pleased with the easy sessions the placid lake serves up—no need to worry about unexpected rapids here. Bikers will also delight in the fact that there are trails open to them as well.

Originally written by RootsRated for Southwest Virginia.

Featured image provided by Malee Oot