Long Branch Lake, WV: A Little Lake with Big Personality
At just 16 acres, Long Branch Lake, located in Pipestem Resort State Park in Pipestem, WV, may be small in comparison to other area lakes, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less beautiful or interesting. In fact, if you’re looking for a lake vacation filled with freshwater fishing, hiking, paddleboating, or skimming serene waters in a canoe, you’ll love the Long Branch.
A manmade reservoir, the Long Branch is adjacent to numerous hiking trails and features a boat rental store, a dam, and a wildlife viewing area. Near the dam, patches of summer wildflowers, including milkweed, attract myriad butterflies. To reach the lake, take the main entrance into the park off Route 20. After a short scenic drive complete with deer, you’ll reach a large paved parking lot next to a trailhead. The trail, called Den Tree, is a wide paved road that leads in .6 miles to Long Branch Lake. Numerous other trails also lead to the lake. Some are appropriate for horseback riders, some for mountain bikers, and some for hikers and backpackers. Others, like Den Tree, are perfect for casual walkers, including families with strollers.
One of the first sites you’ll see if you reach Long Branch Lake by way of Den Tree Trail is the wildlife viewing area, a wooden deck-like structure that juts into the lake. From there, it’s a relatively short walk along the lake to the boat rental area. If you’re interested in more rigorous exercise, hike Lake Shore Trail, which is a little over two miles long. Lake Shore Trail will take you completely around Long Branch Lake. Although part of the trail cuts through forestlands inhabited by deer and wild turkey, for most of the hike, you’ll be right next to water. Some of the trail is rough walking, especially after a rain, but the views are exquisite! Other nearby trails include Law Hollow Trail, Cottage, Turkey Spur, South Side and Lake View.
If it’s fishing you’re after, like the nearby Bluestone River and New River, Long Branch Lake offers lots of opportunities. The lake is stocked with trout each spring. You can also fish smallmouth bass and channel catfish. No live minnows are allowed, and a West Virginia fishing license, which you can purchase online, is required.
Of course, spending time on Long Branch Lake isn’t the only fun to be had at Pipestem, which offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including horseback riding, golf, archery and swimming. Pipestem is also home to fine dining. Mountain Creek Restaurant, which sits on the banks of the rocky river that is its namesake, offers gourmet dinners, gorgeous views and an extensive wine list. To reach the restaurant, visitors must take an aerial tram down the mountainside.
And if you don’t want to spend all of your lake vacation actually on the lake, Long Branch is near many other attractions. Long Branch Lake is also just 30 minutes outside Lewisburg, WV, which was voted Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Town of 2011. Lewisburg is a thriving town filled with great shopping, excellent restaurants, and friendly people. It’s also the home of Lost World Caverns, an incredible underground series of caves which you can tour for a modest fee.
Long Branch Lake is also just a short car trip from the world-renowned Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV. You don’t have to stay at the resort in order to spend the day there touring its extensive parklands, playing golf, shopping its unique boutiques, and eating at its excellent restaurants. Like Long Branch Lake, Pipestem Resort State Park and Lewisburg, WV, the Greenbrier is a friendly locale where guests are always welcome.