Hungry Mother State Park

Location of Hungry Mother State Park in VirginiaLong a family favorite known for beautiful woodlands and a placid 108-acre lake in the heart of the mountains, Hungry Mother has a sandy beach with bathhouse, boats (fishing, canoe, kayak and paddle) and a boat launch, and a universally accessible fishing pier. Guests also enjoy its campgrounds, cabins, gift shop, visitor center, six-bedroom family lodge that sleeps 15, hiking and biking trails, and restaurant. Hungry Mother is also home to the Hemlock Haven Conference Center, available for retreats, conferences and special events. Catering is available.

The Legend of Hungry Mother

Legend has it that when the Native Americans destroyed several settlements on the New River south of the park, Molly Marley and her small child were among the survivors taken to the raiders’ base north of the park. They eventually escaped, wandering through the wilderness eating berries. Molly finally collapsed, and her child wandered down a creek until the child found help. The only words the child could utter were "Hungry Mother." The search party arrived at the foot of the mountain where Molly collapsed to find the child's mother dead. Today that mountain is Molly’s Knob, and the stream is Hungry Mother Creek.

Hemlock Haven Conference Center: 276-781-7425 - Reserved by Hemlock Haven.

This in-holding of Hungry Mother State Park, long serving as an Episcopal Church camp, was purchased by the state in 1986. After considerable refurbishing, the facility opened in 1989.

Facilities include meeting rooms, cabins, a sports complex and picnic area. Packages and fees vary. Call the conference center at (276) 781-7425 for more information and reservations. Cabins are reserved through the State Parks Customer Service Center, 1-800-933-PARK. Catering is available through the Hungry Mother Restaurant.


  • 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.


  • Hungry Mother State Park is in Smyth County. To get to the park, take Exit 47 from Interstate 81. Travel approximately one mile on Route 11 toward Marion. Turn right on Route 16 north and travel four miles to the park Register at the Discovery Center.
  • The park's address is 2854 Park Blvd., Marion, Va. 24354-9323; Latitude, 36.882561. Longitude, -81.533867.
  • Directions to Hemlock Haven (within the park): Use the general directions above to find Hungry Mother State Park. Turn right from Rt. 16 north to East Hungry Mother Drive. Continue for about one-quarter mile and then take the first left onto Hemlock Haven Lane. Follow the road through Hemlock Haven Conference Center. The road forks at the top of the hill. At the fork in the road, Chestnut will be on the right and Hickory will be on the left. Go down the hill to find White Oak and Red Oak on your right and Scarlet Oak and Sycamore on your left. Continue down the hill to find Pines 21-25 near the end of the loop.
  • Directions to Camp Burson (formerly known as Hungry Mother Family Campground): Before reaching the main entrance to Hungry Mother State Park, you'll see Camp Burson on the right off Park Boulevard. Campers who've rented sites with electric/water/sewage hook-ups register at Camp Burson during prime season. Guests may register at the Discovery Center in the off-season or if the Camp Burson office is closed.
  • Drive Time: Northern Va., six hours; Richmond, five hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, six hours; Roanoke, two hours; Bristol, Va., 45 minutes; Charlotte, N.C., three hours.

Park Size

  • About 2,900 acres. The lake is 108 acres

Contact Hungry Mother State Park

Contact Hungry Mother State Park

2854 Park Blvd.
Marion, Virginia  24354
Phone: 276-781-7400


Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Smyth County, Virginia