What to do in Hungry Mother State Park

This lovely mountain park includes a 108-acre lake in a mixed forest setting. In addition to the usual park amenities, Hungry Mother offers an award-winning restaurant and the Hemlock Haven Conference Center.

A fascinating Indian legend is how the park received its name. Seasonal activities include: horseback riding, nature study, camping, cabins, picnicking, dining, swimming and hiking. Elevations range from 2,000 ft. to Molly's Knob at 3,270 ft. This was one of Virginia's first state parks built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and dedicated on June 15, 1936. It is conveniently located off Interstate 81 which is a major north / south highway located in the western area of the state.

Hungry Mother State Park is one of Virginia's most popular parks and for good reason. Clean mountain breezes flow throughout the park along the many multi-use trails, the swimming beach, the campground and across the beautiful mountain lake. The cabins at Hungry Mother are especially nice. They are very clean with nearly all the comforts of home. Large fireplaces are a welcome treat on cool evenings. Firewood is provided.

One of the park's more recent accomplishments has been the renovation of the log lodge. Besides the fact that it is a very beautiful structure, it offers a wonderful place for a small family gathering, church group or a corporate board retreat. The furnishings are rustic yet very comfortable. A large dining table is wonderful for mealtime or for the meeting location. A footstep away is the large kitchen that accommodates several cooks and is equipped with every imaginable dish, skillet or utensil. The master bedroom of this lodge is a special getaway. It offers a romantic fireplace, two closets, a window seat and adjoining private bath. The other bedrooms are located at the opposite end of the building along with a second bathroom. A large covered porch has rockers and tables for dining. Included at this hillside retreat is a large picnic pavilion. Adding to the enjoyment of the visit is an up close look at the large native perennials beds.

Hungry Mothers is a wonderful week-long vacation destination. Other park amenities include fishing, boat launch, boat rental and a great little gift shop where young nature lovers are sure to find a rock or bug treasure. Adults find the reading materials a welcome accompaniment to that evening camp or cabin fire. Many trails including horse trails are open year-round. Environmental education programs are held on a regular basis and may also be scheduled for your group.

Located within the park is the Hemlock Haven Conference Center. The recently renovated facilities are perfect for large corporate meetings or large family reunions. Cabins located just footsteps away make this a popular destination. Facilities include a swimming pool, tennis courts, basketball court, horseshoe pits and baseball field. It is also home to the Mt. Empire Resource Learning Institute, where outdoor programs and instruction in fly-fishing, turkey hunting and other nature activities are available to all ages.

The local area provides extended recreational opportunities such as Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area, Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area, and the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest.

Hungry Mother is located in Smyth County, Virginia. Take Exit 47 off Interstate 81. Travel for one mile on Rt. 11 toward Marion. Turn right on Rt. 16 north and travel four miles to the park entrance.

Virginia generally has mild winters and warm humid summers. The mountainous Blue Ridge area has cold winter months with temperatures ranging from 36 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) and dropping below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 Celsius). The state's summer temperatures have little variation. The summer mountainous Blue Ridge temperatures range from below 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 Celsius) to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 Celsius).

2854 Park Boulevard
Marion, VA 24354-9323

Phone: 276-781-7400

Email: pco@dcr.state.va.us
  • Hungry Mother State Park Travel Q&A