Hungry Mother State Park in southwestern Virginia is noted for its woodlands and lake. Easily accessible from Interstate 81, this park has folklore and history, swimming, camping, cabin rentals, boat rentals, hiking and the park systems first conference center, Hemlock Haven. Much of the land for Hungry Mother State Park was donated by local landowners to develop a new state park in Smyth County on Hungry Mother Creek. The park is one of six original Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) parks in Virginia that opened in June 1936. The Legend of Hungry Mother Legend has it that when the Native Americans destroyed several settlements on the New River south of the park, Molly Marley and her small child were among the survivors taken to the raiders base north of the park. They eventually escaped, wandering through the wilderness eating berries. Molly finally collapsed, and her child wandered down a creek until the child found help. The only words the child could utter were "Hungry Mother." The search party arrived at the foot of the mountain where Molly collapsed to find the child's mother dead. Today that mountain is Mollys Knob, and the stream is Hungry Mother Creek. Hemlock Haven Conference Center: (276) 781-7425 - Reserved by Hemlock Haven. This in-holding of Hungry Mother State Park, long serving as an Episcopal Church camp, was purchased by the state in 1986. After considerable refurbishing, the facility opened in 1989. Facilities include meeting rooms, cabins, a sports complex and picnic area. Packages and fees vary. Call the conference center at (276) 781-7425 for more information and reservations. Cabins are reserved through the State Parks Reservation Center, 1-800-933-PARK. Catering is available through the Hungry Mother Restaurant.
I did the Molly Knob & vista trail which was a great work out. I was greeted at the summit being swarmed with thousands of termites ( I believe as were black ants that flew). I also did the CCC and the lake loop. It was so pretty. I relaxed by the shelter for an hour listening to the breeze in the tree leaves and watching the fish jump in the lake. There was so many great views. I went for a swim
And then had to make myself leave. It's is a magnificent palace for hiking, biking, and lots to do for the entire family from fishing, swimming and paddle boating. I can't wait to take others back with me. I'm so glad I spent the day there instead of rushing to the devil bath tub after summiting The knob. The rangers are very nice and informative as well as well as you can print the map outside forms machine is the office is closed.
We hiked Clyburn Ridge Trail yesterday- beautiful views at top of ridge; moderately challenging due to climbing and descending repeatedly but slope is fairly gentle. Trail is well marked and there are benches in a couple of places if you need a little break. Very nice hike.
Just a notion the first reviewer's comments about the trails not being flat. The Molly's Knob (or the Knob trail as some of us locals call it) is not for the faint of heart, or at least not if you're not in good shape. The beginning of the trail is easy enough, but as you near the top, it gets a lot harder and steeper. All the other trails in the park, Especially the Lake Loop, are great for beginner to moderate day hikers. Nothing long enough for a backpacker, but a wonderful park overall! :)