Douthat State Park is considered by many to be a jewel of the Virginia State Park system. It’s a 4,500-acre playground with stunning mountain views, a 50-acre lake with a sandy beach and an equestrian camping area. Even in a county that is 89% forested, with 51% being national forest land, Douthat State Park will always be a special place for residents and visitors to Bath County.
The park offers sites for camping, as well as rustic cabins. For some families, a week at Douthat State Park has been a tradition spanning generations. Even for non-campers, the modest day-use fee makes it a popular place to hike, bike, fish or relax and enjoy a picnic. On a hot summer day, swimming in Douthat Lake is like a day at the beach, except surrounded by mountain views.
With 43 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, there is plenty of terrain to suit the whole family. Douthat has developed a reputation for its outstanding mountain biking, with trails ranging from easy to expert. Each year, the prestigious Middle Mountain Momma bike race is held at the park.
Douthat is more than a place to play in Bath County, it’s a piece of our history. It’s one of the original six parks that launched the Virginia State Park System in 1936. It’s now on the National Register of Historic Places and its design has influenced other parks around the country. The establishment of the park would not have been possible without the Civilian Conservation Corps, the depression-era work program started by President Roosevelt. Between 1933 and 1942, an estimated 600 men cleared trails, built cabins, constructed a dam and spillway, and much more.
Douthat is too beautiful to be constrained by county lines. Most of the park is in Bath County, while a portion is in neighboring Alleghany County. Like every community that has a Virginia State Park, Bath and Alleghany share a fondness for Douthat. Once you visit, you will, too.