The Ultimate Guide To Pipestem Resort State Park 

Last updated: June 27, 2024

Sitting on the east rim of the Bluestone River Gorge in Mercer County’s backyard, Pipestem Resort State Park is West Virginia’s premier family adventure destination. With its sprawling 4,050-acre expanse, Pipestem offers a variety of activities that cater to everyone. This ultimate guide is designed to help you plan your next West Virginia State Park getaway. 

Find Your Outdoor Activity 

Pipestem perfectly balances heart-pumping adventures like zipline tours and mountain biking with serene activities like guided trout fishing trips and nature hikes. 

Pipestem Peaks Zipline Tour

Experience the thrill of soaring through the treetops with the Pipestem Peaks Zipline Tour. Constructed in 2018, this world-class canopy tour includes nine exhilarating zips, a cable bridge and a belay. Crossing the Bluestone Gorge three times, with heights exceeding 300 feet, this adventure offers both breathtaking views and adrenaline-pumping speeds of up to 50 miles per hour! 

Adventure Lake and Splash Pad

For water lovers, Pipestem’s Adventure Lake and Splash Pad is a must-visit. Featuring giant inflatable mountains, slides and trampolines, the lake is perfect for a day of sun-soaked fun. The Splash Pad, with its 18 interactive features, promises endless joy for younger visitors. Parents can relax on the lounge chairs while watching their little ones.

Hiking Trails

Pipestem is home to 17 diverse hiking trails, ranging from leisurely strolls to challenging treks. Choose the right hiking trail for you: 

  • Cottage Trail (0.2 miles): This gentle path leads from a park road to Long Branch Lake, connecting with the Lake Shore Trail.
  • Den Tree Trail (0.6 miles): Explore the park’s arboretum and wildlife viewing area on this peaceful path.
  • Dogwood Trail (0.6-mile loop): Enjoy a leisurely stroll through an oak-hickory forest near the Nature Center.
  • Lake Shore Trail (2.2 miles): Encircling Long Branch Lake, this route offers a serene walk through woodland and shoreline.
  • Lake View Trail (0.4 miles): Follow an old roadbed through mostly open habitat to connect with the Lake Shore Trail.
  • Law Hollow Trail (0.5 miles): This short trail leads from True Road to the Lake Shore Trail near the dam.
  • North Side Trail (0.5-mile loop): Explore the woods behind Park Headquarters on this short loop.
  • South Side Trail (0.6 miles): Explore a mixed forest and remnants of early settlers on this path connecting to the Lake Shore Trail.
  • Turkey Spur Trail (1 mile): Follow this short trail that connects the Park Headquarters area with the Cottage Trail and Lake Short Trail.

  • Canyon Rim Trail (0.7 miles): Descend 500 feet to Heritage Point, a massive sandstone outcropping with a scenic overlook of the Bluestone River Gorge.
  • County Line Trail (1.9 miles): This challenging route passes Indian Branch Falls and connects with the River Trail.
  • Lick Hollow Trail (1.6-mile loop): Descend into Lick Hollow, enjoy picturesque views of the canyon and loop back to the parking area.
  • Long Branch Trail (0.3 miles): This path winds through wildlife-rich mountains and provides incredible views of Long Branch Lake.
  • Pipestem Knob Trail (0.2 miles): Follow this short, but steep paved trail and ascend to the Bolar Observation Tower atop Pipestem Knob (elevation 3,000 feet) for a panoramic vista.

  • Bluestone Turnpike Trail (8.5 miles): This path connects Pipestem to Bluestone State Park and offers dramatic panoramas of the gorge. Access it near the aerial tram or by completing the entire River Trail.
  • Farley Loop Trail (3-mile loop): This challenging trail rewards hikers with breathtaking views of the gorge and the Raven Rock overlook.
  • River Trail (5.25 miles): This route follows the Bluestone River, with glimpses of waterfalls and wildlife. Be prepared to wade the river and ride the aerial tram (fee applies) at certain points.


Traverse the trails through the state park! Many routes, such as Lake View Trail, Law Hollow Trail, River Trail and County Line Trail, are mountain bike-friendly. Charge up your adventure and explore Pipestem with the park’s electric bicycles. These advanced e-bikes make it easier for everyone to enjoy the park’s trails, providing a fun and efficient way to see the sights.

Bluestone River, photo by semi.retired.roadtrips.

Rafting and Boating

Pipestem’s proximity to the Bluestone and New rivers makes it an ideal spot for rafting trips. Depending on water levels, guides will provide the best experience, whether in whitewater tubes, inflatable kayaks or four-person rafts. For a more relaxed water outing, visit Long Branch Lake for rowboat, paddleboat, paddleboard, kayak and canoe rentals.


Take in the stunning canyon landscape as you tee off on the championship 18-hole golf course designed by the renowned Geoffrey Cornish. For a modern twist on the game, visit the Pro Shop’s premium golf simulator. If you prefer a more leisurely activity, try the traditional nine-hole par 3 short course at the recreation center. The park also has a driving range and designated areas for fling golf, foot golf and miniature golf. The miniature golf course is now part of the Pipestem Adventure Zone, which features exciting activities like axe throwing, 3D archery, disc golf, remote-controlled cars and trucks, drone flying, laser tag, skeet shooting and more.


Almost Heaven Swing. Photo by Erica Morgan

Anglers can cast their lines at Long Branch Lake or the Bluestone and New rivers, which are teeming with trout and smallmouth bass. Be sure to obtain a West Virginia fishing license before heading out for your fishing trip. 

Horseback Riding

Saddle up for fun! Experience the beauty of Pipestem on horseback with trail rides from Pipestem Stables. Choose from half-hour, one-hour or two-hour rides, or enjoy a scenic hayride.

Aerial Tramway

The park’s aerial tramway is a unique way to descend 3,410 feet into the Bluestone River Gorge, providing incredible views and easy access to Mountain Creek Lodge. The park’s iconic aerial tramway is currently being renovated but will be ready this fall. The new fully-accessible pulse gondola system will allow for more efficiency and greater capacity within each cabin, as well as a freight car to transport bicycles, kayaks and other sporting equipment down to the Bluestone River and Mountain Creek Lodge. 

Other Activities 

Beyond the adventures, Pipestem has many other ways to enjoy the outdoors. Catch a concert or play under the stars at the park’s amphitheater, or delight in the park’s diverse avian life. Families can bond over a round of miniature golf, hone their skills on the tennis courts or enjoy the radio-controlled race tracks. 

Relax and Rejuvenate

After a day outdoors, relax and indulge in some well-deserved pampering at Pipestem.

  • Spa Services: Unwind at the Mountain Serenity Spa, featuring therapeutic massages, body wraps, facials, nail services and more. 
  • Shopping: Find unique gifts and essentials at Pipestem’s various shops, including the Pro Shop, Expressions of McKeever Lodge, Campground Store, Reflections at Canyon Rim, Mountain Artisan Center, Recreation Center Specialty Shop and Mountain Creek Outfitters.


Satisfy your cravings with delicious meals at Pipestem’s on-site restaurants (check for hours and days open) :

  • Bluestone Dining Room: Savor upscale fare with incredible gorge vistas.
  • Mountain Creek Dining Room: Enjoy a unique menu in a riverside setting.
  • Black Bear Grill and Lounge: Grab a quick bite or unwind with a local beer after a day of adventure.
  • Tramway Sweets & Treats: Satisfy your sweet tooth with classic ice cream parlor delights.