For ten years, I lived just outside of New York City. On my visits home, usually within my first twelve hours back in Fayette County, I would find myself exploring Plum Orchard Lake as if it were my first time there. The hustle-bustle of metropolitan life and the cacophony of city-sounds were always sensory-rich but there was something about the gentle sway of the pier, the smell of earth and the sound of the forest which would instantly take me back to my childhood. Back to a time when I was free to explore the woods just outside my back door, when caterpillars and brilliantly colored flowers would capture my attention for hours and I cursed the fact that I could not draw well enough to convey the beauty which was always within my reach. Nowadays, I am thankful for digital photography which allows me to share some of my favorite places “off the beaten path” with my friends who might otherwise never have the opportunity to explore them with me.
Though Plum Orchard Lake is only thirty minutes from the New River Gorge Bridge, when people tell you they are “going to the lake,” they are usually referring to Summersville. Sadly, Plum Orchard is oftentimes overlooked as a recreational option. Although swimming is prohibited, there is a treasure trove of places to explore for photographers who want to capture nature in her finest moments and fishermen who don’t want to be disturbed by Sea-Doos.
Plum Orchard Lake Wildlife Management Area encompasses 3200 acres. There are 21 first-come, first-served primitive campsites at Beech Bottom campground and 17 primitive sites above the dam each for $12 per night.
Also located at Plum Orchard is a shooting range with no charge, as long as you observe all safety rules and guidelines. Although this lake is not as highly trafficked as its counterpart in Nicholas County, you should consider making a daytrip to the area to take in the beauty and solitude that Plum Orchard offers. If you are already familiar with Plum Orchard, please share your photos and stories! We would love to see/hear them.
Directions to Plum Orchard Lake.