A beautiful river. A stunning mountain backdrop. Rippling waterfalls. Smooth slabs of massive sandstone. Is this a slice of paradise? Actually, for too many, this dangerous swimming hole in West Virginia has proven just the opposite.
Welcome to Party Rock near Arden, West Virginia in the Tygart River. Yes, it’s beautiful. Yes, it has all the makings of a calendar print.
But this popular swimming area near Philippi, West Virginia is also deceptively dangerous. Hidden boulders. Strong currents. Undertows.
Over 50 lives have ended in these torrential rushing waters. We’ll say it again: 50 precious human lives.
That’s a devastatingly large number for a single swimming hole, if you think about it, and it’s a statistic that makes this one of West Virginia’s most dangerous nature areas.
That’s death after death: some in which drugs and alcohol impaired judgement, some not. Some inexperienced swimmers, some strong ones. Some young, some old. All tragic, and all reasons to treat this stretch of river, popular swimming hole that it is, with extreme caution.
Sadly, not everyone knows to do so. Students from nearby colleges who aren’t familiar with the area as a whole, for example, often come here when the weather is warm to soak up some sun and cool off in the river.
The idea of outlawing swimming in this area has been discussed multiple times by city officials and rescue personnel, but the logistics of such a move, as well as the cost to those who are careful to enjoy the area cautiously, have prevented an actual swimming ban.
But if you do head to Arden for a dip in the Tygart River, take care! And encourage loved ones to do the same, so that this beautiful stretch of river can cease being known as such a tragic, dangerous death trap. Or, do like YouTuber Bearded Face did and come not to swim but just to enjoy the views from the excellent vantage point that is Party Rock in the Tygart River at Arden, West Virginia.
Did you realize how dangerous (and deadly) Party Rock, located along Arden Grade Road between Laurel Creek and Teter Creek, has proven to be? We love
natural swimming holes as much as anyone, but this is a good reminder to be smart about recreating outdoors. West Virginia is a wonderful place, but it’s also a wild one. Don’t forget that.
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