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Jennings Randolph Lake – the Dam


The first stop of my Mineral County Exploration is Jennings Randolph Lake.  More specifically – the dam.  Someone asked if you could drive over the dam and where is the best place to view the dam.  So, I went to investigate!


West Virginia Overlook

The best place to view the dam is actually the West Virginia overlook at Jennings Randolph Lake.  There is parking, restrooms, and a two-story observation area with a free stationary binocular.  The road over the dam is blocked off – on both the West Virginia and the Maryland side – so you cannot drive across it; however, there is an annual “Conquer the Dam 5K Race and Fun Walk” where runners and walkers travel over the damn and spillway.  Make sure to check back in April 2024 for details on the 13th annual event!

Waffle Rock

Near the West Virginia overlook is a large rock on display, known as the Waffle Rock.  There is a nostalgic piece written about Betty Bishops Rock and another piece written including how it was formed.  Although, there are alternative theories regarding it’s origin like aliens, giant reptiles and ancient Indian societies.

About the Dam

Congress authorized construction of the Jennings Randolph Lake, a U. S. Army Corps of Engineers project, to lessen the impact of devasting hurricanes that left death and destruction in their wake and other flood events like them.  The project’s primary purpose:  reduce the risk of floods in communities such as Westernport, Piedmont, Luke and Cumberland.  Since the dam’s completion in 1982, it continues to protect the lives and homes of people in the region and save millions of dollars in floor damages to downstream communities.


On my way back home, I missed my turn.  I wanted to check out Barnum again but with the spotty cell service near the lake, I was unable to map it.  After a few turns guessing the right way, GPS finally mapped my way home.  Well, I didn’t turn right where I was supposed to so I was looking for a place to turn around and get back on track.  The first road was Barnum Road!  Exactly where I wanted to go!


Come back next week to learn about and see the breathtakingly beautiful river areas in Barnum, West Virginia!

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