Douthat State Park

Douthat State Park

A traditional family park for 75 years, Douthat is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for the role its design played in the development of parks nationwide. Amid some of Virginia's most breathtaking mountain scenery, visitors enjoy interpretive programs, four miles of stream fishing, a 50-acre lake stocked with trout, a sandy swimming beach with snack bar, boat rentals, a gift shop and camp store, cabins, and more than 43 miles of hiking, mountain biking and bridle trails. Plus, there are playgrounds, an amphitheater, picnic areas, tent and trailer camping, and a restaurant overlooking the lake. The park also has 32 cabins and three lodges that accommodate 15, 16 and 18 guests each.

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Image Credit: Douthat State Park

Hours

Open daily 6AM - 10PM

(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)

Fees

Parking fees are $5 per car

Admisssion is free. Please contact the park for more detailed information about other fees.

Activities

Hiking, horseback and 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. Douthat has six miles of bridle trails. Visit the park office for a map depicting trails at Douthat.

The beach area, complete with the bathhouse and concession stand, is open from Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays, and from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Prior to mid-June and after mid-August, swimming may be unavailable on some weekdays. 

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.

Boats can be rented 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. If no one is at the boathouse, guests should go to the camp store for help.

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.

Water Flow Info:

Facilities

Facilities include: a gift shop, camp store, cabins, playgrounds, an amphitheater, picnic areas, tent and trailer camping, and a restaurant.  

Accessibility

Although motorized vehicles are not permitted on park trails, electric wheelchairs and electric scooters that meet the federal definition for wheelchairs are allowed to enable people with disabilities to use the trails.  The following facilities are handicap accessible: 

  • Park office and restrooms
  • Creasey Lodge, which sleeps 18, has one accessible bedroom
  • Beard's Lodge, which sleeps 16, is accessible
  • Camp Malone Picnic Shelter with paved pathway to shelter
  • Camp Malone Picnic Area bathrooms with concrete pathway
  • Playground equipment at Camp Malone Picnic Shelter
  • Two universally accessible fishing piers
  • Lakeview Restaurant and camp store with paved entrance way
  • Lakeview Restaurant porch dining area with accessible ramp
  • Wheelchair accessible ramp down into lake at swimming area
  • Amphitheater with wheelchair accessible ramp to main stage
  • Cabins 29 and 30 - Fully universally accessible with paved, accessible patio
  • Restroom facilities in upstairs of beach house
     

History

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 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. In 1986, the 50th anniversary of Douthat State Park and the Virginia State Park System, Douthat was recognized as a Nationally Registered Historic District. In 1998, Douthat won the Virginia Lakes and Watersheds Association award for best operated and maintained dam for its Douthat Lake Dam. In 1999, Douthat received the Centennial Medallion from the American Society of Landscape Architects.

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Last updated: September 11, 2019
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