Big Bend Camping 2004

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South Fork of the Potomac
Campsite 6

Big Bend Campground is located in the Smoke Hole Canyon section of the Monongahela National Forest.  Its located on the South Branch of the Potomac River and is situated in a very sharp U-shaped bend.  Hence the name.  It has restroom facilities and running water.  No showers are provided.  There are upper and lower sites.  I only looked at the lower ones because I wanted to be near the water.  The sites are generally large and shaded.

It claims to be 10 miles from Petersburg but I think that would be the crow's opinion.  It seemed a lot longer by car.  Their web site has pretty good directions.

Fishing for TroutThe trout fishing in the area is pretty good, and maybe excellent.  A large part of the river upstream from the campground is stocked and is catch and release.  Nearer the campground is catch and eat.  That is my preference.  There is a small store along the dirt road to the campground that has worms and ice.

I was taking a 6-week retirement / leave of absence from my job and my wife couldn't join me.  I decided to enjoy the pleasure of my own company and went anyway.  I figured two days of fishing/hiking and one day of sight seeing before heading back.

The first day I didn't catch anything but then I didn't know what I was doing.  I decided that maybe there weren't many fish around.  That evening I met the folks on the site across from mine.  I don't recall their names but they were from Keyser, WV.  As I was talking to the older couple, their son and his 19 year old daughter came in.  She had a 21" Rainbow Trout and between them had a mess of fish.  I began to understand that I didn't know what I was doing.

What I Caught

They took me out with them late one afternoon.  I managed to catch 3 trout and could call it dinner.  There was an amount of satisfaction with that and I hope to try again.  It was a lot more work than sitting on the bank watching a bobber and a worm.  Still, these were the first trout I ever caught.

Blackwater FallsSightseeing took me to Seneca Rocks and Blackwater Falls.  Both are a fairly easy drive from Big Bend.  The falls offer some good photo opportunities.  Seneca Rocks does too if you're willing to hike the trail to the top.


Big Bend is a very nice, quiet place to spend a few nights.  You don't need to fish to enjoy it.  They have well cared for trails to walk as well.