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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, WV. From I-79 take Exit 79. Follow Route 5 to the dam and project office.

Mailing Address:
Burnsville Lake
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
2550 South Main Street
Burnsville, WV 26335

Contact: Project Manager, 304-853-2371. Call 304-853-2398 for a recorded message providing updated information on lake and tailwater conditions, precipitation, launch ramps, fishing, hunting, campground, and special statements. Bulltown Campground 304-452-8006. Bulltown Campground Reservations 877-444-6777. Riffle Run Campground 304-853-2583. Burnsville Marina 304-853-2822.


General Information

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Picturesque Burnsville Lake, one of central West Virginia's key attractions, offers visitors a wide variety of activities such as fishing, boating, camping, hunting, biking, and picnicking. The project has 13,224 acres of land and attracts about 3/4 million visitors annually.

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.

It 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.


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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.



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) . 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 on the internet at www.recreation.gov during peak season.  Bulltown Campground sites during the non-peak season are on a first-come, first-serve basis.



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.


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.



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.


Horseback Riding

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.



Wild game mostly occuring 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.


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.



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.


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.