Park is a natural area of 107 acres located on
the eastern summit of Droop Mountain, seven miles
southwest of Hillsboro, West Virginia. The
land was purchased in 1970 with funds from the
Nature Conservancy and a donation from Mrs. Edwin G.
Polan, in memory of her son, Ronald Keith Neal, who
lost his life in the Vietnam War.
Development of the
park has been minimal in order to preserve the
natural attractions of the area. However, basic facilities are provided, and a boardwalk
permits easy access. Interpretive
signs along the boardwalk guide visitors and provide
insights concerning the ecology of the area. The
park is open daily from April to October, and may be
seen during the closed season by contacting the
Superintendent of nearby Droop
Mountain Battlefield State Park. No fee is
The name Beartown
was chosen because local residents claimed that the
many cave-like openings in the rocks made ideal
winter dens for the black bears of the area. Also,
the many deep, narrow crevasses were formed in a
somewhat regular criss-cross pattern and appear from
above like the streets of a small town.
Beartown is noted
for its unusual rock formations, which are comprised
of Droop, or Pottsville, Sandstone formed during the
Pennsylvanian age. Massive
boulders, overhanging cliffs, and deep crevasses
stir the imagination of most visitors. Pocketing
the face of the cliffs are hundreds of eroded pits,
ranging from the size of marbles to others large
enough to hold two grown men. Ice
and snow commonly remain in the deeper crevasses
until mid to late summer. Vegetation
clings tenaciously to life, sending roots into mere
cracks in the rocks.
At Beartown, one
may see that the forces of nature are constantly at
work, slowly breaking down even the largest rocks,
only to deposit them elsewhere and build new ones.
Witnessing the evidence of this process often allows
visitors an opportunity to forget for a while the
hectic pace of modern life.