Summit Bechtel Reserve

Almost Heaven, West Virginia 

As I have traveled throughout America, I have discovered much that is wonderful and special about our country that we can all be proud of. It is always my hope that you will be inspired to explore and experience the places that I have shared with you and make lifelong memories with your own family and friends. Though there is much to explore in America it is not often that I find a destination that is as unexpected and intriguing as I found emerging through the mythical mist in the mountains of West Virginia.

Located in the southern West Virginia Appalachian Mountains a quickly emerging family adventure and group function venue that will surely satisfy both intimate gatherings like weddings and reunions as well as large corporate functions and events. The location I am speaking of is the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve located near Beckley, West Virginia adjacent to America’s newest National Park, New River Gorge National Park & Preserve. Though it has ‘scout’ in its name, this is not your father’s scout camp; and you do not have to be involved with scouting to experience this amazing piece of West Virginia. The location of the Summit Bechtel Reserve property was once the site of extensive coal mining, a key industry for which the state of West Virginia is known. The remnants of long abandoned surface mines created a manageable terrain to be reclaimed for future generations and a boon to the region’s fledgling tourism industry as a property that can accommodate a wide variety of high adventure, education, and gathering uses. The Summit Bechtel Reserve or more affectionately known as the Summit is a property that reminds me of the beauty and spirit of J.R.R Tolkien’s Middle-earth with frequent misty mornings and epic sunsets that beckon visitors to join the adventures at the Summit.

Summit Bechtel Reserve Pano Sunset

The Summit is a vast 10,000-acre facility with 4,000 additional acres of outpost campsites along the nearby New River. Being near the river also offers visitors access to whitewater rafting and kayaking through miles of rapids and tranquil stretches of the New River Gorge. The Summit is not your traditional outdoor experience; the site offers a unique and new vision of environmental activities, sustainable tourism, and accommodations by the Boy Scouts of America. the Summit offers a single destination with high adventure activities and a variety of gathering, lodging, and food service facilities that can accommodate any size group that wants to immerse themselves in this truly beautiful and unique environment. It presents itself as a living ‘pick your own adventure’ destination that can customize just about any outdoor experience that you would like to make into a family memory. It is one of four High Adventure facilities managed by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The others are Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, Northern Tier National High Adventure base in Minnesota, and Florida National High Adventure Sea Base in the Florida Keys. The Summit Bechtel Reserve stands apart as a facility that encompasses many more adventures, learning, and gathering opportunities than some of the other locations as it is home to the Boy Scouts of America’s National Scout Jamboree, the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base, the James C. Justice National Scout Camp, and the J.W. Marriott Jr. and Rex W. Tillerson Leadership Centers. The facility’s inaugural event was the 2013 National Scout Jamboree attended by close to 41,000 Boy Scouts, Venturers, volunteers, and staff.

It’s About Adventure
High Adventure is where the excitement is at when visiting the Summit; which includes feature action venues that are available year-round, seasonally, and exclusive to camp or large event programs. The action is everywhere around you at the Summit; the many locations include:

The Park features an amazing location for skateboarding, BMX, scooters, and rollerblades to get your shred on at an X Games-quality skate park offering vert ramps and bowls for every ability, from beginner to seasoned thrasher.

Summit Bechtel Reserve Skate Park

Appalachian Celebration Action Point MTN Bike jump The Trax is the ultimate location to experience both BMX and mountain biking at its best offering a training track for skills practice, ramps, dirt tracks, jump courses, pump courses, and skill courses. In combination with the Low Gear courses, the Summit Bechtel Reserve’s MTB gateway to features 36 miles of forested trails along with its counterpart High Gear courses which together total over 50 miles of trails.
The Rocks & Boulder Cove the Summit’s climbing and bouldering scene offers climbing to match the skill levels of all comers. Get ready to boulder, climb and rappel at one of the most extensive man-made, outdoor climbing facilities in the country. In addition, the Summit offers other adventures for large scouting and corporate events with The Ropes, a challenge course in the trees, and The Canopy, a tree-to-tree tour. Climbing and Repelling at The Rocks

Summit Zipline

The Zip Going fast and flying through the air with amazing views is an adventure hallmark at the Summit. With miles of aerial adventures, the five parallel ziplines of the Big Zip are over a combined 3,000 feet long. Big Zip reaches speeds of up to 50 MPH as you fly over the Summit on one of the longest zip line courses in all of North America. Along with its sister zip lines, Gateway and Legacy they have a combined fifteen lines of adrenaline-inducing flights over the Summit at over 100 feet above the ground.
The Bows archery sports action location features traditional activities with bows and arrows, but also included is the adventure of sporting arrows, challenging you to hit moving targets as they launch through the air. Signs of the Summit - BOWS
Joe Crafton Hunter’s Hall The Barrels shooting sports action complex has the best sporting clay course in the country with over 100 stations; right at the Summit. Shooting sports at the Summit include shotguns, rifles, and even pistols. For the younger marksmen, a BB Gun Range allows them to test their abilities and hone their skills. All programs are run by expert staff for a safe and fun experience. In combination with The Barrels, the Joe Crafton Hunter’s Hall & Skills Center shares the impressive history of the BSA and hunting, land stewardship, native species renewal, and educates visitors about gun and hunting safety.
The Waterfront located at Goodrich Lake West offers swimming, Water Reality Icebergs, canoeing, kayaking, SUP boarding, and fishing. Fishing is available at three locations across the Summit; the scenic Goodrich Lake West, Tridave Lake, and the Cushman Family Fish Camp. they are perfect places for spin, bait-cast, and fly fishing. Fishing rods are available but you are also welcome to bring your own gear.

Summit Water Reality

Family Adventure Camping

So, how do you and your family sample all that the Summit has to offer? A trip to Family Adventure Camp is an opportunity that is open to all families; no BSA or Scouting affiliation is required. Your family can enjoy camping in style or even stay at the Yamagata Lodge as the base for your adventures like scenic hikes on miles of wooded trails and the many adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities.

Uniquely The Summit

Discover and explore the unique features and iconic locations that make the Summit Bechtel Reserve a truly special travel destination.

Sustainability Treehouse is a living education center for visitors to the Summit, not only providing information but also immersing visitors in the concept of sustainability. Education about the local timber used to build the structure, the rainwater recovery system, and the wind and solar-generated energy.

Sustainability Treehouse in the Evening

CONSOL Energy Bridge is one of the Summit’s most visible and iconic features. The wingtip bridge, with a total length of 786 feet and a total rise of 110 feet above the deepest part of the valley. The “double wingtip design” of the bridge is inspired by the wings of an eagle. SBR Consol Energy Bridge - Sunset
Gene H. Yamagata Lodging located at Robert E. Murray Leadership Ridge of the Summit is a hotel-style lodging serving visitors within its eight suites, 32 rooms, and two-bedroom presidential suite that facilitates year-round utilization of the Summit. Yamagata Lodge
Fenneman Great Hall & Lodge is located within Perry Park on the ridge at WP Point overlooking the Summit’s Scott Scouting Valley. The scenic and intimate event space of the Great Hall can host up to 175 guests for receptions and other special events. Located adjacent to the Fenneman Great Hall, Fenneman Lodge is a three-bedroom, comfortable home away from home for visiting the Summit. It features a kitchen, dining, and living area and includes full laundry facilities. Fenneman Great Hall
Scott Visitor Center is prominently located within the valley of the Scott Summit Center. It is the administrative command post of the Summit Bechtel Reserve, and it features a rotating exhibit of Scouting Heritage memorabilia, Garden Ground Trading Post, restrooms, and lockers. Scott Visitor Center

High Adventure Scouting
Now if you are involved with Scouting, the Summit offers abundant opportunities for high adventures that will create lifelong memories for you and your unit at a facility that is designed with once-in-a-lifetime experiences in mind.

SBR New River Experience

Your scouts can gain a unique sampling of many of the action elements of what the Summit Bechtel Reserve’s High Adventure has to offer with the Summit Experience but if an immersion into high adventure is more your scout’s appetite, try one of the many treks that provide for more in-depth adventures.

SBR Polaris ATV Experience

Treks such as The New River Experience whitewater paddling and camping along the New River or The Polaris® ATV Experience with a week-long trek of ATV trail riding and camping at remote encampments. Those are not the only unique treks at the Summit; how about mountain biking and camping with The Bikepacking Experience or backpacking and whitewater paddling with The Pack N’ Paddle Experience? The Summit also has a shooting and camping adventure with The Marksman Experience that is right on target. Like I said before, the Summit offers many choices for a ‘pick your own adventure’ experience.

Summit On!

Traveling America as a nomadic photographer offers me the opportunity to engage in projects that speak to me as an artist and that fit with my personal mission and interests. This summer I believe that I was given the jackpot of artistic opportunities to serve an organization near to my heart and that has had a significant impact on me and my family over the years; the Boy Scouts of America. Serving the BSA at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, one of their national high adventure bases has also checked off a major artist bucket list item for me. I spent the summer engaged as a seasonal staff photographer as part of the Summit’s Digital Media Team along with an amazing group of photographers and videographers to share the adventure of covering this summer’s activities of camps, treks, and events. Though I was part of a team, I felt the freedom to create images that resonated with me and it felt more like being an artist-in-residence with a vast 10,000-acre canvas at-the-waiting. My hope is that the hundreds of polished images created will be useful in serving Summit Bechtel Reserve’s future marketing and presentation efforts. Please check out a sampling of the images that I created while at the Summit. I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve the Summit and to get to know some fantastic people that have a heart for scouting, the outdoors, and the Summit. Much of the summer was accented with a cleaver catch-phrase that I believe is more of a call-to-action for gritty perseverance; so as I depart for my continued personal journey and next adventure, please join me to… Summit On!

Summit On Poster - Sunset Summit On Poster - SBR Signs Summit On Poster - Eagle Summit On Poster - Stars


FMG Feature Gallery of Summit Bechtel Reserve

Summit Bechtel Reserve
2550 Jack Furst Drive
Glen Jean, West Virginia 25846

37° 54′ 56.3″N 81° 07′ 22.8″W


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