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Burnsville Lake

Huntington District
Published Jan. 5, 2024
Burnsville Dam

Burnsville Dam

Reservations, Fees & Passes

Riffle Run campground is on a first come-first serve basis--NO RESERVATIONS ACCEPTED. You can call Riffle Run Campground at 304-853-2583.  To make a reservation at Bulltown Campground, call toll-free 1-877-444-6777 or visit www.recreation.gov during peak season.

Day Use Fee:
$40-$70 per day - Picnic Shelters

Burnsville Dam is located in Braxton County on the Little Kanawha River, 124 miles above its confluence with the Ohio River and approximately 3 miles above the Town of Burnsville, West Virginia. Burnsville Dam was developed to reduce flooding on the Little Kanawha River, which runs 167 miles and drains an area of 2,320 square miles, and is a unit in the Corps' Ohio River Basin Flood Reduction System.

Under normal conditions, precipitation runoff caught by the lake is simply passed through the dam by adjusting gate openings. Following a significant storm, water is held back to reduce flooding downstream. After the danger of flooding has passed, excess storage is released as rapidly as possible.

The dam was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938. Construction began in 1972, and the dam became operational for flood control in December 1978. The dam is a combination of earthen fill and concrete structures that is 90 feet high and 1,400 feet long. The earthen fill section has an impervious clay core. The concrete section contains the spillway and outlet works. The summer pool elevation is maintained from April through October. Lowering of the pool by 13 feet, to provide additional flood storage, begins in early November and continues until winter pool elevation is reached. This winter pool elevation is maintained through March each year.

Handicapped Access
Universally Accessible Facilities are provided at the Project Office, Falls Mill Scenic Area, Falls Mill Fisherman Area, Bulltown Historic Area, Bulltown Camping Area, Bulltown Day Use Area, the Dam, Riffle Run Day Use Area, and the Riffle Run Camping Area.

Historical Information
Bulltown Historic Area has an interpretive center/museum and historic structures dating back to the mid- to late-1800s. The Cunningham farmstead is located here. Self-guiding trails with an original section of the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike are available for visitors. Special programs and tours of the historic structures and the Civil War Battlefield (including the fort) are available during the summer months. Special tours are also available throughout the year.  Please call 304-853-2371 for reservations. Living history events and demonstrations are also offered. The Bulltown Historic Area is the site of the Battle of Bulltown, which occurred on October 13, 1863, in the Union trenches overlooking the Bulltown Bridge across the Little Kanawha River on the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike. The battle occurred because the Confederates wished to gain control of the bridge and the turnpike. The battle lasted 12 hours. Colonel William L. “Mudwall” Jackson, a native of western Virginia (West Virginia) and cousin to Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson led the Confederate forces. The Confederates attacked the Union forces at 4:30 a.m. Captain William Mattingly led the Union forces in repelling the attack on their fortifications. The battle ended about 4:30 p.m. Moses Cunningham, the owner of the property being occupied, ran out of his nearby farmhouse during the battle and shouted, “Hurrah for Jeff Davis!” He was wounded, but soon recovered.

Recreation Opportunities

Visitor Center
The Bulltown Historic Area includes a visitor's center with exhibits of artifacts showing the lifestyles of people from the mid to late 1800s. Programs and tours of the area are available upon request by contacting the project office. There is also a visitor center located at the project office. Maps and brochures may be picked up at this location

Launch ramps for the boating enthusiasts and fishermen are located at the Riffle Run Day Use Area, Bulltown Day Use Area and Bulltown Camping Area.

Riffle Run Campground offers 60 sites: 54 three-point hookups (water, sewage, and electric) and 6 primitive / tent sites. Shower / restroom facilities, two playgrounds, sewage dump-stations, and fresh water fill-up stations are also located within the campground. Riffle Run campground is on a first come-first serve basis--NO RESERVATIONS ACCEPTED (You must have all of your camping equipment on arrival). You can call Riffle Run Campground at 304-853-2583. Bulltown Campground has 204 sites: 22 sites with 30 amp electrical hook-ups, 48 sites with 50 amp electrical hookups, and 134 sites with 50 amp electrical, water, and sewer hookups. Restroom / shower facilities, playgrounds, dump-stations, fresh water fill-up stations, an interpretive shelter that may be reserved by campers for special occasions, and a boat launch ramp are located within the campground. The campsites vary from waterfront to wood lot. To make a reservation at Bulltown Campground, call toll-free 1-877-444-6777 or visit recreation.gov during peak season.  Bulltown Campground sites during the non-peak season are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Picnic shelters are located at the Bulltown Day Use Area and the Riffle Run Day Use Area. All shelters are available on a first come - first served basis EXCEPT WHEN RESERVED IN ADVANCE (a fee is required for reserving a shelter). Picnic shelters may be reserved by calling the National Recreation Reservation Service toll-free at 1-877-444-6777 or visit on the internet at www.recreation.gov . Shelter #1 and Shelter #2 are located downstream below Burnsville Dam, Shelter #3 and Shelter #4 are located just behind the dam in the Left Fork Picnic Area, and Shelter #5 and Shelter #6 are located in the Bulltown Day Use Area.  There are also picnic tables at all recreation areas on the Burnsville Lake project.

Game fish occurring are largemouth and smallmouth bass, rock bass, bluegill, sunfish, walleye, Saugeye, Sauger, crappie, muskellunge, channel catfish, flathead catfish, long-nosed gar, and carp. Trout are also stocked in the tailwaters during the spring. West Virginia fishing licenses are required.

Wild game mostly occurring are white-tailed deer, turkey, and squirrel including some rabbit and bear.

Burnsville Lake marina located at the Riffle Run Day Use Area directly behind the dam. The dock area, which is privately owned, provides visitors with docking facilities, boat rentals, snack bar, and an array of fishing supplies.

A swimming beach with restrooms, change booths, and outside showers is located at the Bulltown Day Use Area. No lifeguards are provided. Swim at your own risk.

Bicycles are permitted on main roads and campground areas. Contact a Park Attendant or Ranger for the location of areas conducive to off-road bicycling. Under West Virginia law, all riders under the age of 15 years MUST wear a protective helmet.

Private (non-commercial) horseback riding is permitted at the Burnsville Lake Wildlife Management Area on the established trail system, however horses are not permitted in camping and day use areas.  Contact Burnard Gibson at French Creek DNR for specific regulations and details at 304-924-6211.

Several trails are located at Burnsville Lake. A trail system map can be obtained at the project office, campground entrance stations, or from Park Rangers.

Rules & Regulations

General Policies
A full list of Federal regulations that apply to all US Army Corps of Engineers properties can be found in Title 36 of the United States Code (USC). Title 36, The Rules and Regulations that Govern Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects.

Possession of firearms in a federal facility, including locks, dams, power plants, ranger stations, buildings, switchyards, recreation facilities, warehouses, and offices is strictly prohibited. This prohibition includes the storage or transporting of a personally owned firearm in controlled access parking areas or Government vehicles, heavy equipment, boats and vessels under the operational control of the District regardless of its location. Exceptions for Federal employees are only allowed for Federal law enforcement officers or where possession of a firearm is specifically authorized by law.

Fireworks, along with explosives, firearms and other weapons are prohibited on Government Property. Detailed information can be found in Title 36, The Rules and Regulations that Govern Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects, Section 327.13.

Burnsville Lake
2550 South Main Street 
Burnsville, WV 26335

Resource Manager, 304-853-2371. 
Call 304-853-2398 for a recorded message

Bulltown Campground 304-452-8006. 
Bulltown Campground Reservations 877-444-6777. 
Riffle Run Campground 304-853-2583. 
Burnsville Marina 304-853-2822


  • January

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