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Places to Explore Douthat State Park
Top view of Falling Springs Falls
Top view of Falling Springs Falls © Virginia Department of Conservation and Resources

Located in the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley, Douthat has been a popular family destination park for more than 70 years. In 1986 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places because its design has influenced the development of many other parks nationwide.

Falling Springs Falls
Fall colors just beginning to show
Park sign
Douthat's double-tiered dam was originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s
This cabin was built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Douthat Lake
Douthat Lake
A stunning view above Douthat Lake

The Outside Family Vacation Guide named Virginia's Douthat State Park as one of the nation's 10 best. The park, which straddles Bath and Alleghany counties, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Douthat is one of the six original Virginia State Parks that opened on June 15, 1936. Amid some of Virginia's most breathtaking mountain scenery—the Alleghenies, visitors enjoy miles of stream fishing, a 50-acre lake stocked with trout, a sandy swimming beach with snack bar, boat and bicycle rentals, a gift shop and camp store, and cabins. Plus, guest enjoy more than 40 miles of hiking and mountain-biking trails, an amphitheater, playgrounds, picnic areas, tent and trailer camping, a restaurant overlooking the lake, and nature and history programs. The park also features two completely furnished lodges that accommodate more than a dozen guests each.

The Douthat Land Company—a consortium of Virginia businessmen, donated the initial 1,920 acres of the present-day park. The rest of the land was purchased with a portion of the $50,000 in funds allocated by the General Assembly in 1933 for parkland acquisition. The establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as part of the emergency Conservation Works by President Roosevelt in 1933 provided the means for development of the parks. An estimated 600 men lived and worked at the three camps responsible for building Douthat's facilities. Between 1933 and 1942, these men cleared trails, built a dam and spillway, cabins, a restaurant, an information center, superintendent's residence, swimming beach, picnic areas and maintenance building, hinges, as well as hand-wrought iron hardware, light fixtures and door and shutter latches.

The built and natural features of the park have remained virtually unchanged since their construction. In 1986, the 50th anniversary of Douthat State Park and the Virginia State Park System, Douthat was recognized as a Nationally Registered Historic District. In 1998, Douthat won the Virginia Lakes and Watersheds Association award for best-operated and maintained dam for its Douthat Lake Dam. In 1999, Douthat received the Centennial Medallion from the American Society of Landscape Architects.


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