Moncove Lake: A journey back in time

By Jonathan Eggleston, RealWV

Nestled in the rolling hills of Monroe County, West Virginia, Moncove Lake State Park is a cherished gem that has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a lifelong lover of the great outdoors, this park holds a special place in my heart. It’s not just a destination; it’s a journey back in time to my childhood, filled with memories of camping trips, family reunions, picnics and hiking adventures.

The Lake area was established in 1960 after the damming of Devils Creek in Monroe County. The lake was a part of the Moncove Lake Hunting and Fishing Area. In 1991, 250 acres were designated a state park. The rest continues to be a wildlife management area.

One of the park’s standout features is its excellent fishing opportunities. The lake is teeming with a variety of fish species, making it a paradise for anglers. Whether you’re an experienced fisherman or a novice, the calm waters and abundant fish population ensure a rewarding experience.

 I vividly recall the excitement of exploring this place with my cousins, a tradition I’ve carried on with my own kids.

A visit in Autumn with my daughter showcases the fall foliage against the lake.

For those who prefer to stay on dry land, Moncove Lake offers an array of options designed to make your visit enjoyable. The park has numerous sheltered areas perfect for family picnics. These well-maintained spots provide a comfortable place to gather, grill, and enjoy a meal amidst nature’s beauty. I can still picture the laughter and stories shared under those shelters at family reunions, the scent of barbeque mingling with the fresh, pine-scented air.

If swimming is more your style, the park features a public pool that is a hit with visitors. On a hot summer day, there’s nothing like taking a refreshing dip to cool off. For a more relaxed water activity, paddle-boat rentals are available, allowing you to explore the lake at your own pace. It’s truly a photographer’s dream, with endless opportunities to capture the shimmering water, lush greenery, and diverse wildlife.

Camping enthusiasts will find Moncove Lake to be an ideal destination. The park offers a range of campsites, accommodating everything from tents to RVs. As a kid, camping here was an adventure that sparked my lifelong love of nature. Waking up to the sounds of my family cooking breakfast, birds chirping and the gentle rustle of leaves, the mornings were always magical! Even now, the sight of the sun rising over the lake is something I try to capture through my lens, though no photo can fully do it justice.

For many West Virginia residents, including myself, Moncove Lake is more than just a recreational area; it’s a place full of cherished memories and timeless beauty. Each visit is a reminder of the simple pleasures in life. So make sure to check this place out this summer!

In a world that often feels increasingly fast-paced and digital, places like Moncove Lake State Park offer a vital connection to the natural world. Whether you come to fish, picnic, swim, paddle, or camp, you’ll find that this park is a sanctuary of peace and a testament to the beauty of West Virginia. As I pack up my camera and head back home, I’m reminded once again why this place will always be a part of my story.

Jonathan Eggleston is a freelance photographer and writer who specializes in professional portrait,  nature, landscape and astro-photography. This article is part of a series exploring some of West Virginia’s most beautiful natural landmarks. All pictures are his.

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