Bakers Run, a Corps of Engineers Campground with 77 sites located on the Tail Water of Sutton Lake.
This campground is full of beauty, easy lake access, and clean bathhouses, but comes with its own set of challenges.
The campground is located 15 miles from Sutton, WV and the drive seems simple enough until you pull onto Centralia Road for the last 10 miles. The road becomes very narrow with steep and winding turns, making it difficult for towing a 30ft+ camper or passing other large vehicles.
Greeted by an abandoned guard shack, busted gate, and closed first campground, make sure to read the sign, “We are Open, Check-In with Camp Host at Site ##.” Many people have fought the drive to turn around at the guard shack and not continue the extra mile to the second campground. Just keep driving; you are almost there.
I wish they would open the first campground as rustic, but I have heard countless times that this will never happen. It has been closed for almost two decades now.
Hookups are limited:
- 43 Sites = Non-Electric (1-24 & 59-77): $20.00
* 20-24 are pull throughs.
- 2 Sites = Water & Electric 50-amp (25-26): $26.00
- 4 Sites = Full Hookup, 50-amp (27-30): $28.00
- 21 Sites = Electric 30-amp (31-51): $22.00
- 4 Sites = Full Hookup, 30-amp (52-55): $26.00
- 3 Sites = Water & Electric 30-amp (56-58): $24.00
There are no hookups on the waterfront sites, but this does not mean you can not enjoy this beautiful campground. Bakers Run does not take reservations, but you can ask for site availablity on their Facebook Page, “Friends of Bakers Run Campground.” (https://www.facebook.com/groups/570951049989144/) Or by calling the Camp Host at (304) 765-5631, this is an answering machine, checked daily. They will get back with you. Facebook is the quickest way to get a response.
Without reservations, being able to pay online, or by Credit Card, make sure you bring cash. Checks can be made payable to, “FAO-USAED-Huntington.” You can pay the Camp Host upon arrival.
We enjoy off-grid camping and have modified our Toy Hauler to sleep four and provide us with the basic amenities: electric, water, gas. When camping with more than four, we break out our big family tent and use our Toy Hauler as a utility plant, so we can enjoy such sites as 04.
According to the campground map, Site 04 is NOT waterfront, but it is. The cove runs right along the site, making it a perfect place to walk directly out into the water. The base of the inlet is soft clay, making it an ideal place for the kids to swim, fish, and launch kayaks.
Below the campsite is a flat area of land, adjacent to a stream. It provides enough room for kids to toss frisbees and balls, and run and play. The shaded stream is an excellent area for the kids to catch crayfish and lizards and build little rock/mud dams in the water.
The playground is accessible by a small bridge across from the campsite. The kids loved Site 04 because it quickly gave them access to the playground, water, and flat yard area. We loved it because we were able to see them at all times from one location, immediately.
The campground is mostly flat, and the speed limit is 10 mph, making it an excellent place for the kids to ride their bikes on the paved areas as we cooked, set up camp, or relaxed while watching kids be kids. The campground is mostly lit, making it a blast for the kids to ride their bikes at night. Make sure to add lights to the bikes for safety.
Bakers Run has a boat-ramp, two bathhouses with showers and restrooms. The bathhouse above the boat
Options for buying forgotten supplies are limited. But, there are three little family-owned businesses located outside the campground. You will pass two before crossing the railroad tracks and entering the park. I find Ruth’s Carryout a good place to pick up any fishing bait or equipment you need and Jeff’s Grocery is a quick and easy place to pick up ice and firewood. If you travel through the campground and take the dirt road on the left, NOT the right (more about that later), you will come to another small family-owned store, Camp Hondo. It is also an excellent place to pick up forgotten supplies and grab some firewood, but the road is extremely narrow, full of potholes, and closes by 5pm.
The road to the right is called “Tunnel Access Road.” Bakers Run doesn’t have any hiking trails, but we found the tunnel road a beautiful hike. Once you get to the end, you can climb the hill to a train tunnel. On the other side of the tunnel is a bridge that crosses over Sutton Lake. At the time this picture was taken, the rail line was inactive with the fall of mining in the area. But, this is not the case now. A mine has reopened and is bringing life once again to this rail line. Since it is now active, I would NOT advise walking on or along the tracks. We could hear trains running every other night around 2 to 4 am (update: on our last stay they are running during the day now as well), but that doesn’t mean they didn’t run in the day either.
Camping waterfront we found that a lot of boaters and kayakers wanted to tie up at waterfront sites even though they were camping elsewhere. Everyone was super polite, and the one gentleman did move his boat for us. It was just awkward asking. The Yakers left theirs tide up at our site, but they did ask if we minded or not. We didn’t; we had four of our own tied up as well.
Along the retaining wall, we found many sand-hornet nests, so be careful! We marked off a nest that was about 8 feet by 15 feet so the kids wouldn’t run through it and found three other such nests as we walked along the wall. The area is home of Raccoons, Opossums, Skunks, Deer, Bears, and Snakes. In the morning a few Black Bears will visit the Dumpsters and Raccoons may come down and try to go through some of your tasty treats as you sleep. So make sure you keep your stuff put away and that you are tossing your trash in the dumpster before each night. In the morning, we would usually spot a few snakes swimming across the water surface. They seem to have made their home in the rock retaining wall.
Some may not find Bakers Run the Campground for them: rough drive into the campground, lack of reservation options, lack of payment options, lack of hookups, cell service spotty or nonexistent, no wifi, limited pull-throughs, no powered waterfront sites, but for us, it is a small slice of heaven hidden in the hills of Braxton County which is worth the visit. It was not our first time there, and it will defiantly not be our last.
Bakers Run, we can not wait to return!