Camping in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia

The Monongahela National Forest is a national forest with over 920,000 acres located in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia. We recently camped at the Horseshoe Recreation Area in the forest. The campground is at the extreme northern end of the Forest, surprisingly close to not only Maryland, but also Pennsylvania as well.

We drove from the Columbus, Ohio area after meeting up with one of our sons a and couple of grand kids. I must say it was quite the adventure driving the narrow, nearly one lane roads as we approached the Horseshoe campground. We got to the campground mid afternoon. The camp host was very friendly and delivered our purchased firewood right to our site.

Large campsite: I am standing in front of the tent

Starting out on a leisurely hike

Our site was huge! The asphalt pad for our Four Winds RV was long enough for our son to also park his SUV. Large rocks strategically placed did keep vehicles off the grassy areas. A picnic table and fire pit with built in grills added to the comfort of our site, with plenty of room for the tent.

We all enjoyed cooking over the fire, watching the lightning bugs, stargazing at night and hiking some of the many trails. The kids and grand kids took a side trip to nearby Blackwater Falls State Park to see the surprisingly tall waterfalls.

Sher enjoying a relaxing time in the Allegheny Mountains

Our last night at the campground turned out to be quite an adventure. Even though rain had been forecast, the sky was putting on a grand lightning light show. For at least two hours we watched the sky with almost constant lights. No thunder until close to bed time. We had everybody in our Thor! Sher and I had our bed, one son and grandson slept over the cab, another son reclined the front passenger seat, and our granddaughter slept on the bench seat at the table. We have never slept 6 before.

The next morning the creeks and rivers were up and roaring. Remember that narrow road coming in? Well, we were told that it had washed out in a couple of places, so we -returned via a north route to I-70. All in all we had a great time and would consider having a large family get together at Horseshoe Recreation Area.


A safe secure free place to stay overnight on I-64 in WV

The red 'pointed' building is the convention center

The red ‘pointed’ building is the convention center

Just before the toll booth of the I-64 West Virginia Turnpike (when traveling towards Charleston) you come to the Tamarack Center, located at the Beckley Travel Plaza at EXIT 45. This popular and large rest stop has a big fueling station for autos and another one for trucks. The travel center has tourist information, good restuarants and lots of neat shops selling area hand-made crafts, art and other items.

We were heading west from a trip to Virginia and pulled into the parking lot for cars. We had not decided if we were going to stop for the night or just a couple of hours to rest and eat. Then a really nice fellow in an official truck drove up and asked me if we wanted to spend the night. He said there was a designated spot for RV’s next to the convention center. He led us up the road to the convention center and to the place where parking spaces are marked for RV’s and buses.

Our level, comfortable and quiet overnight parking spot

Our level, comfortable and quiet overnight parking spot

The Tamarack Center

The Tamarack Center










These spots are well lit with street lights and there is a security officer that patrols the area all night long. The fellow that led us to the parking told us about the security patrol so we wouldn’t worry! He also gave us the phone number of the travel plaza if we needed anything! After being told we weren’t wanted at Lewes, Delaware (see that story here) it was refreshing to actually be invited to a free, safe and secure place to park overnight! The Convention Center is on a small hill south of the truck parking and fuel islands. Look for the building with the red pointed windows showing. That is the convention center. The RV parking is on the east side. Follow the signs.

When you travel on I-64 in West Virginia, look for the Tamarack Travel Plaza near Beckley. This is one stop that is worth planning for as you map your routes. Be sure to grab a bite to eat and spend some time browsing the arts and crafts stores. Then enjoy a quiet restful night to get you ready for the next day’s travel. Here is the official website of the Beckley Travel Plaza.