Hungry Mother State Park, Marion, VA
Long a family favorite known for 3,334 acres of beautiful woodlands and a placid 108-acre lake in the heart of the mountains, Hungry Mother has a sandy beach with bathhouse, boat rentals (fishing, canoe, kayak and paddle), a boat launch and a universally accessible fishing pier. Guests also enjoy its campgrounds, cabins, gift shops, visitor center, six-bedroom family lodge that sleeps 15, hiking and biking trails, and restaurant. Hungry Mother is also home to the Hemlock Haven Conference Center, available for retreats, conferences and special events. Catering is available.
The Legend of Hungry Mother
Legend has it that when the Native Americans destroyed several settlements on the New River south of the park, Molly Marley and her small child were among the survivors taken to the raiders’ base north of the park. They eventually escaped, wandering through the wilderness eating berries. Molly finally collapsed, and her child wandered down a creek until the child found help. The only words the child could utter were "Hungry Mother." The search party arrived at the foot of the mountain where Molly collapsed to find the child's mother dead. Today that mountain is Molly’s Knob, and the stream is Hungry Mother Creek.
Hungry Mother State Park is in Marion, VA. To get to the park, take Exit 47 from Interstate 81. Travel approximately one mile on Route 11 toward Marion. Turn right on Route 16 north and travel four miles to the park. Register at the Discovery Center.
The park's address is 2854 Park Blvd., Marion, Va. 24354-9323; Latitude, 36.882561. Longitude, -81.533867.
Directions to Hemlock Haven (within the park): Use the general directions above to find Hungry Mother State Park. Turn right from Rt. 16 north to East Hungry Mother Drive. Continue for about one-quarter mile and then take the first left onto Hemlock Haven Lane. Follow the road through Hemlock Haven Conference Center. The road forks at the top of the hill. At the fork in the road, Chestnut will be on the right and Hickory will be on the left. Go down the hill to find White Oak and Red Oak on your right and Scarlet Oak and Sycamore on your left. Continue down the hill to find Pines 21-25 near the end of the loop.
Directions to Camp Burson (formerly known as Hungry Mother Family Campground): Before reaching the main entrance to Hungry Mother State Park, you'll see Camp Burson on the right off Park Boulevard. Campers who've rented sites with electric/water/sewage hook-ups register at Camp Burson during prime season. Guests may register at the Discovery Center in the off-season or if the Camp Burson office is closed.
Drive Time: Northern Va., six hours; Richmond, five hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, six hours; Roanoke, two hours; Bristol, Va., 45 minutes; Charlotte, N.C., three hours.
Cabins and Camping
Cabins, lodge and camping. For information on availability of overnight accommodations, particular park amenities or to make a reservation, you can reserve online or call 1-800-933-PARK. Click here for park fees.
Click here for details on reservation cancellation and transfer policies. A fee is charged per pet per night for overnight cabin stays.
Those interested in the Hemlock Haven Conference Center should call 276-781-7425.
Visit a Flickr photoset of typical cabins at Hungry Mother. Cabins vary. Dwellings may not match what's shown in the photos.
During prime season, a day of guarded beach swimming per night's stay is free to overnight guests. (Parks will not refund rental fees should guarded swimming be unavailable.) Read more about swimming in the park's Recreation section.
Weekly rentals start on Saturday or Sunday. Hemlock Haven cabins - Sycamore, Hickory, Chestnut, White Oak, Red Oak and Scarlet Oak - weekly rentals start on Friday. Also, the Hemlock Haven cabins' amenities differ from those in the park's other cabins. See below for details. Much of the cabin furniture was recently upgraded. Please call the park for details.
- Kitchen: Refrigerator, stove, coffeemaker, dishes, dishcloth, a few dish towels, silverware, cooking utensils, pots and pans, microwave oven and toaster. Bring food, dish detergent, coffee filters, coffee, salt and pepper, nonstick cooking spray, extra dish towels, soap, extra bath towels, board games or cards. No dishwasher, telephone, TV or washer/dryer. Cabin rentals include one full set of linens for each bed. Cabins have heating and AC.
- Living area: sofa, dining table, end table
- Bedrooms: beds, nightstands, chest of drawers, clock radio
- Charcoal pedestal grills - guest must supply charcoal
- Picnic tables
- Two vehicles per cabin allowed. Others must park in lot #6 and pay parking fees.
- Overnight cabin guests receive one bundle of free firewood per stay. More is available for purchase.
- Additional linens and towels may be rented at the Discovery Center.
- Cabins 17, 19 and 20 are universally accessible inside, offer wide doors and rest on level ground or have ramps at their main entrance. Cabins 14-20 have universally accessible bathrooms.
- Cabin seven has largest floor area.
- These cabins have open porches: #1-5, 7, 9, 14-20.
- These cabins have decks: #6, 8, 9-20.
Total sites of each type: 1-room log efficiency, 1; 1-bedroom frame, 1; 1-bedroom log water view, 1; 2-bedroom log, 3; 2-bedroom frame, 7; 2-bedroom cinderblock, 7; Hungry Mother Lodge, 1
- 1-room log efficiency - Cabin 3. One room, allows two, sleeps two. One-room log efficiency; one queen bed. Historic cabin built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
- 1-bedroom frame - Cabin 9. Allows four, sleeps two. One queen bed. One-bedroom wood frame. The third and fourth guests would need to bring a sleeping bag or air mattress.
- 1-bedroom log water view - Cabin 2. Water-view, allows four, sleeps two. One-bedroom log; one queen bed. The third and fourth guests would need to bring a sleeping bag or air mattress. Historic cabin built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
- 2-bedroom log - Cabins 1, 4 and 5. Allows six, sleeps four. Two-bedroom log; one set of bunk beds and one queen bed. The fifth and sixth guests must bring a sleeping bag or air mattress. Historic cabin built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
- 2-bedroom frame - Cabins 6, 8, and 10 through 13. Allows six, sleeps six. Two-bedroom wood frame; two sets of bunk beds and one queen bed.
- 2-bedroom frame - Cabin 7. Allows six, sleeps four. Two-bedroom wood frame; two twin beds and one queen bed. The fifth and sixth guests must bring a sleeping bag or air mattress.
- 2-bedroom cinderblock - Cabins 14-20. Allows six, sleeps six. Two-bedroom cinderblock with cedar siding; two sets of bunk beds and one queen bed.
Total cabins: 20
Hemlock Haven cabins
All cabins at Hemlock Haven are rented by the week during prime season under Hungry Mother State Park. Cabins 21-25, formally called "the Pines," and other cabins at Hemlock Haven require weekly stays, Friday to Friday, Memorial Day through Labor Day. A minimum two-night stay is required otherwise, and sometimes such shorter stays can be arranged during prime season by calling 30 days in advance. All cabins at Hemlock Haven are priced the same as two-bedroom cabin rentals.
Cabins 21-25 (The Pines) at Hemlock Haven: Site type, 2-bedroom cinderblock. All five cabins are cinderblock with cedar siding, two bedrooms (two sets of bunk beds in one, queen bed in other bedroom, each sleeps six). Amenities are the same as those listed above for cabins in Hungry Mother proper.
- Red Oak, White Oak and Scarlet Oak cabins: These cabins each sleep six. They have two bedrooms, one with a queen bed and the other with two sets of bunk beds. There's a full service kitchen, dining area and a living room with a sofa and table. All other amenities are the same as those listed above for cabins in Hungry Mother proper, except that they have no fireplace.
Other cabins in Hemlock Haven: There are three cabins in Hemlock Haven with amenities that significantly differ from those in other cabins at the park. Carefully read their descriptions below before booking them. Each sleeps eight and has no kitchen but has utensils, dishes and a grill kit. They have no fireplaces. All have decks, small refrigerators, heating-AC and microwave ovens. These cabins are designed for outdoor grilling; each has a deck and an outdoor gas grill. The cabins have names rather than numbers.
- Chestnut (universally accessible cabin): This universally accessible cabin sleeps eight people in four bedrooms. Each bedroom has two single beds and a chest of drawers. Linens are provided. It has a sitting room with wet bar, a microwave oven and a refrigerator. Central heating-AC. There are two common bathrooms with universally accessible facilities. No fireplace. Gas grill on porch.
- Sycamore and Hickory cabins: Each of these two-bedroom cabins sleeps eight. Each bedroom has two sets of bunk beds, a closet, and a chest of drawers. Linens are provided. Each has a sitting room with wet bar. They also have central heating-AC. Sycamore has a full bathroom, commode and sink in each bedroom. Hickory has a common bathroom with two showers, two commodes and three sinks. No fireplace. Gas grill on porch.
Hungry Mother Lodge
Hungry Mother Lodge - Six bedroom lodge (Sleeps 15 maximum). It's a great place for a family get-together. Saturday - Saturday weekly rental. This historic log lodge offers a view of the park. It was originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. Universally accessible. Interior logs have been stained in a light finish. Parking at the lodge is limited. Guests must park additional vehicles in lot 6.
Six bedrooms: Master bedroom with a double bed and private bathroom and tub, three bedrooms with queen size beds, one with two sets of bunk beds (making four beds), one bedroom with a single bed and a set of bunk beds (making three beds), and two full bathrooms with a universally accessible shower. The lodge sleeps 15.
- TV-DVD in living area. No cable. Lodge has free Wi-Fi.
- Kitchen: Refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, coffeemaker, dishes, dishcloth, a few dish towels, silverware, cooking utensils, pots and pans, microwave oven, toaster, clock radios. Also includes rustic furniture and linens (one set per person). Lodge is climate controlled (heat and AC). Bring food, dish detergent, extra dish towels, coffee filters, coffee, salt and pepper, nonstick cooking spray, extra bath towels, body wash or soap, board games or cards.
- Large deck and picnic shelter
- Washer and dryer
- Gas grill
- Horseshoe pits (bring your own horseshoes)
- Gas fireplace
- Firewood is for sale.
- People visiting overnight guests must leave the park by 10 p.m. and pay parking fees.
- Two vehicles per campsite in addition to camping unit allowed. Others must park in parking area and pay parking fee.
- Each campsite has a round fire ring on the ground which can be used for cooking and campfires.
Hungry Mother allows guests to reserve specific campsites. Here's a table of those campsites (PDF).
Total sites of each type: Hungry Mother proper - TENT, 11; E/W, 20. Camp Burson - EWS, 30; E/W, 22.
Camp Burson Camping - This campground is 1 mile before the park's main entrance.
Camp Burson guests register at Camp Burson during prime season or at the Discovery Center during off-season or when the Camp Burson office is closed. Camp Burson guests will need to drive or hike to the park's main gate to gain access to all other amenities at the park - swimming, restaurant, concessions, gift shops, cabins, other campgrounds, Hemlock Haven, etc.
Site types in Hungry Mother proper
Creekside campground (E/W, 20 sites) - Various equipment, electric and water hookups; tents, popup campers and RVs up to 35 feet; back-in sites and limited pull-through sites; accept outlets for 20 and 30 amp current (50-amp current available at Camp Burson only). Bathhouse. All sites are paved. Guests with tents are encouraged to bring an air mattress.
Royal Oak campground (11 TENT sites) - Tents only. Bathhouse. Camping equipment must fit on 20 by 20-foot pad. No hookups.
Burson EWS (30 electric, water and sewer hookup sites in Camp Burson only, and not near other Hungry Mother campgrounds) - Various equipment, electric, water, sewer hookups; tents, pop-ups and RVs up to 35 feet; back-in sites and limited pull-through sites; accept outlets for 20, 30 and 50-amp current. Sites are on gravel; tent campers should bring air mattress. (Carefully read the info above regarding Camp Burson sites.)
Burson E/W (22 electric and water hookup sites, no sewer, and not near other Hungry Mother campgrounds) – Various equipment; electric and water, no sewer; tents, pop-ups and RVs up to 35 feet; back-in sites; accept outlets for 20, 30, and 50-amp current. Sites are on gravel; tent campers should bring air mattress. (Carefully read the info above regarding Camp Burson sites.)
Total campsites: 83 total in the park; 52 of which are in Camp Burson