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Sutton Lake

Huntington District
Published Jan. 5, 2024
Sutton Lake

Sutton Lake

Reservations, Fees & Passes

Campground Fee:
$24 - $30 per night -  Standard Electric

Day Use Fee:
$50 per day - Picnic Shelters

Sutton Lake covers 1440 acres. It is a beautiful lake, winding 14 miles along the Elk River, with many coves along its 40 miles of shoreline. The lake is 125 feet deep at the dam. Sutton Dam is located just above the Town of Sutton, 101 miles above the mouth of the Elk River in Charleston. It is a concrete-gravity structure 210 feet high, 1,178 feet long, and 195 feet wide at the base. It controls a 537 square mile drainage area, including the upper Elk River, and the Holly River. Sutton Dam was built primarily for flood control on the Elk, Kanawha and Ohio Rivers. During periods of flooding, water is stored behind the dam, frequently reducing the severity of flooding below the dam. It was completed in 1961 at a cost of $35 million. Flood damages have been reduced by more than $614 million dollars by flood control efforts at Sutton Dam. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates and maintains the dam and project recreation facilities.  Restrooms are located at the Project Office and all recreation areas. For more information about Braxton County and area attractions, visit the Braxton County Visitor and Convention Bureau's web site.

Recreation Opportunities

Visitor Center
There is a small Visitor Information Center at the Project Office.

Launch ramps for the boating enthusiasts and fishermen are located at Bee Run Day Use Area, Bakers Run campground, Gerald R. Freeman campground, and the South Abutment Day Use Area, behind the Dam. Specific boating and other rules and regulations are available at the marina or the Corps office at the dam. There is a $3.00 Day Use fee for boat launching. Frequent boat launchers may purchase an Annual Day Use Pass at the Project Office. Golden Age Passports, Golden Access Passports, and America the Beautiful Passes may be used for a 50% discount at all Federally operated areas where a fee is charged. Passes are honored, but not issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Additional information on the discount pass program may be obtained by clicking on the link America the Beautiful Passes .

Campsites at Sutton Lake are available at Gerald R. Freeman Campground, Bakers Run Campground, and Bee Run Campground. Gerald R. Freeman Campground, with 159 sites, and Bakers Run Campground, with 79 sites, are Class A areas, with heated shower houses, dump stations, water fountains, playgrounds, boat launch ramps, and some electric hook-ups. Gerald R. Freeman Campground also has a small marina. Sites are usually available on a first - come first - serve basis. Gerald R. Freeman Campground does accept reservations. Reservations can be made by calling 1-877-444-6777 or by clicking on the link Gerald R. Freeman Camp. Bee Run Campground is a primitive area, with limited facilities. Gerald R. Freeman and Bee Run Campgrounds open in late May and close after deer season, in early December. Baker's Run Campground opens in late May and closes in mid to late October. Shoreline camping is not permitted. 
Bakers Run  304-765-5631
Bee Run Marina 304-765-2120 
Bee Run Campground 304-765-2816

Picnic sites are available in all recreation areas. There are five picnic shelters in the Day Use Areas at Sutton Lake. Two shelters are located in the Downstream Day Use Area, two in the Bee Run Day Use Area, and one is located at the South Abutment Day Use Area. Shelters are available on a first-come-first-serve basis unless reserved. Shelters may be reserved in advance for a fee by calling 1-877-444-6777 or clicking on Sutton Shelters.

Fishermen find bass, crappie, catfish, and sunfish plentiful in the lake. The Elk River below the dam is well known for muskie and walleye fishing, and trout are stocked in the Down Stream Area in the spring and fall. A handicap accessible fishing pier has been constructed at the Downstream Area to offer easier access to the quality fishing below the dam. Of course, you do not have to be a fisherman to enjoy the natural beauty on and around Sutton Lake. Sportsmen are required to have a West Virginia hunting and/or fishing license.  Additional information on West Virginia's fishing laws can be obtained from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources at P.O. Box 38, French Creek, WV, 26218.

The Corps of Engineers owns more than 12,000 acres, of which, 10,235 acres are leased to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. This property combined with the state owned 6,949 acres of the Elk River Wildlife Management Area, constitutes nearly 18,000 acres of public hunting lands. The terrain is diverse and so large, it is managed in two sections, the Elk and Holly sections. The Elk River section is primarily made up of steep hills, ridges, and benches. The Holly River section is on the north side of the lake and consists of forested hills and open farmlands. Game animals found at Sutton Lake include deer, turkey, squirrel, ruffed grouse, Canadian geese, and other water fowl. Hunters are required to have a West Virginia hunting license. Additional information for hunting at Sutton Lake may be obtained by clicking on the DNR link, or by mailing West Virginia Division of Natural Resources at P.O. Box 38, French Creek, WV, 26218.

There are two marinas at Sutton Lake that are privately operated under leases from the Corps.  Facilities for boat launching are available at the dam, Bee Run, Bakers Run Campground and Gerald R. Freeman Campground. There is a $3.00 Day Use fee for boat launchin

Swimming beaches are located at the South Abutment and Bee Run Day Use Areas. No lifeguards are provided. Swim at your own risk.

Sutton Lake offers 31 trail systems for public enjoyment, with over 30 miles of these trails on the Elk River Wildlife Management Area, that the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources maintains. These trails are made up of 22 other accesses for hunters and fisherman located solely on the Wildlife Management Area on Sutton Lake Property. 

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. Special regulations must be observed on the DNR leased areas of the project. These regulations can be found by clicking on the link Biking Sutton. Under West Virginia law, all riders under the age of 15 years MUST wear a protective helmet.

Horseback riding is permitted in non-recreation areas on the project. Within the areas leased by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, there are special regulations on horseback riding. These special rules and regulations can be viewed by visiting the WMA Rules and Regulations page.

Fire roads and hunter trails provide foot access to many remote areas around Sutton Lake and the Elk River Wildlife Management Area.

Handicapped Access
Universally Accessible Facilities are provided at the Project Office, Bee Run Day Use Area, and Gerald R. Freeman Campground. Other facilities are generally accessible, but do not meet the strict accessibility guidelines.

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.

Sutton Lake 
PO Box 426 
Sutton, WV 26601

304-765-2705  recording with lake and stream information


  • January

    2024 Campsite Reservation Information

    Campers may now make their reservations 180 days in advance and picnic shelter reservations 360 days
  • April

    2024 Huntington District Campground Schedule

    Campers may now make their reservations 180 days in advance and picnic shelter reservations 360 days in advance. Recreation.gov is taking reservations at this toll free telephone number, 1-877-444-6777. Campers can also make reservations on the Web at http://www.recreation.gov/.
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