The Lost River in West Virginia is located in Hardy County in the Eastern Panhandle region. This river got its name because it flows into an underground channel near the unincorporated community of Baker along state Route 259. The same stream reappears near Wardensville as the Cacapon River.
The source of the Lost River is south at Mathias near the West Virginia/Virginia State line. The Lost River serves as one of the three main segments of the Cacapon River watershed.
The Lost River is underground for about two to three miles. "Four miles east of Hanging Rock, the highway crosses the south side of the river course on a steel and concrete bridge. A foot trail just west of the bridge leads several hundred feet south to Lost River Sink where during law stream stages the water leaves the surface channel and follows underground courses for 2 miles beneath Sandy Ridge before reappearing. This is the feature from which the name of the river is derived and indirectly the names of the park and the towns of Lost City and Lost River."
The above quoted information was obtained from the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey brochure published in 1952 article, titled "The Geology of Lost River State Park" by John C. Ludlum. The Cacapon River is known for its fishing, boating, wildlife and scenery as part of the Potomac River watershed. The Lost River receives a large volume of trout from the fall stocking.
The Cacapon River is regarded as a warm water stream, and there is no trout stocking in this river during the fall. This river has been under some threat by development, industrial and agricultural growth. Concern for this has led to the establishment of the Cacapon Institute. The river is bounded to the east by the George Washington National Forest. At Capon Lake, Capon Springs Run that is the site of the historic Whipple Truss Bridge joins the river.
No trip to this area would be complete without visiting Lost River State Park. This park takes in more than 3,700 acres creating a fast vacation hideaway. It is great for anyone who enjoys hiking and observing nature. Miles of hiking trails lead to hours of exercise and a good opportunity for nature studies of the plant life of this area. In addition to the hiking trails, there is an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, volleyball court, archery range, badminton, horseshoes and horseback riding. For overnight visitors, 26 cabins must be reserved in advance. These cabins are open year-round and are a perfect setting for winter retreats and family/friend reunions.
Lost River State Park has a quiet setting that welcomes everyone, looking for a fast getaway from the "rat race" of the metropolitan areas.
My thanks to Michael Kirk of the sales office of the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, for providing this information.