The Legend of “Hungry Mother” State Park

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Photo of Hungry Mother State Park, Courtesy of Virginia State Parks
Photo of Hungry Mother State Park, Courtesy of Virginia State Parks

Long a family favorite known for beautiful woodlands and a placid 108-acre lake in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, Hungry Mother State Park has a sandy beach with bathhouse, boat rentals (fishing, canoe, kayak and paddle), boat launch and a universally accessible fishing pier for visitors.

Located just north of Marion, Virginia, guests to the State Park also enjoy campgrounds, cabins, gift shops, visitor center, six-bedroom family lodge that sleeps 15, hiking and biking trails, and a restaurant.

But how in the world did this incredible state park actually ever find the name, “Hungry Mother”?

According to the Virginia State Parks, “Legend has it that when the Native Americans destroyed several settlements on the New River south of the park, Molly Marley and her small child were among the survivors taken to the raiders’ base north of the park.”

Marley and her small child eventually escaped and wandered through the wilderness eating wild berries and any other forage they could find.

Weighted down by carrying her small child, Molly finally collapsed from exhaustion and malnourishment, leaving her young child alone and hungry in Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains.

Wandering down the creek, the child eventually found help; however, the only words the young escapee could utter were “Hungry Mother.”

The search party arrived at the foot of the mountain where Molly collapsed to find the child’s mother dead.

Today that mountain is known as Molly’s Knob, and the stream is called Hungry Mother Creek.

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