Park History

Lake Stephens, comprising more than 2,300 acres, has been developed around the site of an old camp established by hunters and trappers in about 1792, at the instance of Stephen English, from whom it takes its name. Animal pelts and ginseng taken from the area were transported to Baltimore, Maryland, from where much of the merchandise was shipped to Europe.

Tradition has it that many of the bearskins eventually were made into greatcoats for Napoleon’s soldiers to wear in his campaign against the Russians.


Lake Stephens is a 2300-acre county park with a 272-acre pristine mountain lake and 1900 acres of hardwood forest. Lake Stephens had its beginning in 1959 with the acquisition of 2,300 acres of land and the construction of the dam.  In 1963 the dam was completed and construction was started on roads, parking areas, beach, picnic area, boat dock, travel trailer parks, family camping area and recreational buildings, and with the completion of these projects Lake Stephens was opened to the public in 1966.

Over the many years the park has maintained its board and batten rustic contemporary charm utilizing the native field stone. With all of the updated conveniences, it’s a great place for relaxing and enjoying the great outdoors.

In addition to the park itself, Beckley and the surrounding area offer numerous cultural and recreational opportunities. The park is open May 1st to September 30th offering recreational opportunities such as hiking, camping, fishing, boating, and access to local attractions and events.

Nine miles west of Beckley, in Raleigh County West Virginia, and twenty-five minutes from the New River Gorge National Park, makes the park a great place to camp in an RV or tent and enjoy the culture and natural resources of the area.

Park Regulations


  • Alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited within the lake stephens park boundaries!

  • One responsible person who has passed his/her 21st birthday shall be at each campsite.

  • Check out time is 12:00 noon.  Check in time is 2:00 pm.

  • Quiet hours are from 10:00 pm to 7:00 am.  However, please always be considerate of everyone around you at all times.

  • All campers must register at the office.  Visitors not registered as overnight guests must vacate the park by 10:00pm.

  • There are no canopies or tents allowed in the RV park.

  • The gathering of fire wood is not permitted.  Campers may bring their own or purchase it from the camp store.

  • No modifications are to be made to any campsite.  Digging, trenching, planting or other means is strictly prohibited. 

  • No object may be driven into any tree, shrub, rock, sign, building or other object or structure in any rcra campground.

  • No use of hay or straw.

  • The use of illegal fireworks is strictly prohibited.

  • All firearms prohibited.

  • RCRA is not responsible for any loss or damages to equipment due to fire or any other cause. Also, the RCRA is not responsible for any equipment left unattended.

  • All pets must be kept on a leash. You must clean up after your pets.

  • All boats, jet skis, etc. and/or trailers must be parked in the designated areas.  Any of these vehicles at any campsite is not permitted.

  • Maximum speed limit in the park is 5 mph unless otherwise posted.

  • No pets allowed on the beach!

For reservations:
Lake Stephens - RCRA
1400 Lake Stephens Road
PO Box 5496
Beckley, WV 25802