East Fork Campground – Camping the way it was meant to be.
There are not many campgrounds where you can have your morning coffee accompanied by the not-to-distant sound of a coal-fired locomotive venting steam, or a pair of short blasts on the steam whistle.Owned and operated by Mark and Marsha Kane, East Fork Campground stretches along a creek-East Fork-adjacent to the national forest. They offer a range of camping settings and services. For example, several sites along the creek, only feet from the water, include water and electricity hookups. Mark explained that they park campers parallel to the creek with doors facing the water. What a great way to start the day: open your camper door and look out over the creek into the forest. If you are lucky, you may see a kingfisher dive into the water after a minnow or a great blue heron wading in the shallows. Away from the creek, there are twenty or more sites with full hookups. Behind the office, at the far end of the campground from the entrance, there are at least a dozen covered horse stalls and an exercise paddock. Note, East Fork does not have any horses of their own, nor do they provide horses for campers. The facilities are for owners who bring their own horses to ride the national forest trails. The camp ground does have a large field that can be used for special events such as calf roping or barrel racing. Mark said that they are happy to work with groups, with or without horses.
When we arrived on Thursday evening, there were at least six large combination camper/horse trailers in the park. The next morning we watched and chatted with the horse owners as they prepared for their ride into the park.
The campground, like the town, is a pleasant throwback to a simpler time and a pleasant change from typical commercially operated campgrounds. When I first called to find out about camping there, Mark assured me he would have a spot for us when we arrived—he did not even ask for a reservation or my name. He did ask if we were bringing horses, explaining that they were “horse friendly.”
Mark cautioned me that GPS navigators did not necessarily show the best route, especially when towing a trailer. He provided detailed and helpful directions.
I also asked how far the campground was from Cass, West Virginia because I wanted to ride the old logging train there. He said it was about 20 miles away, but, he added, “We have our own logging train ride right here in Durbin.” This piqued my interest even more. The Durbin and Greenbrier Valley railroad station is adjacent to the campground. The restored logging engine and train make two two-hour runs daily along the scenic Greenbrier River.
One other “wrinkle” in traveling to Durbin is that this area is under the National Radio Quiet Zone. Cell phones do not work within 70 miles of Durbin. Mark asked that I call him from White Sulfur Springs so that he would know when to expect us.
Note: Although cell phones cannot be used, Internet and email are available through online routers.
Facilities and Features
East Fork provides camping for motorhomes, travel trailers, smaller pop-up trailers and tent campers. Each site has a fire ring (firewood is available to purchase), and most trailer sites have a gravel pad.
All sites are provided with water and 30-amp electricity. Sites not on the creek have sewer and cable television connections available.
There is a large pavilion, with charcoal grills, for group events or for covered picnicking if the weather does not cooperate.
In addition to the campground, Mark and Marsha also offer comfortable, newly furnished guest rooms at East Fork Lodging—just across the tracks.
For more information and current prices, check out East Fork Campground’s website at: http://www.eastforkcampgrounddurbin.com/
You can also call Mark at 304-456-3101. Keep in mind that he has to use a wired phone, so you may get their answering machine—but he will return your call. Campground rates run from $19 to $26 depending on the type of camper and hookups required. The campground is located on Rt 92/250 in Durbin WV.
Text and Photography: © Jeff Richmond